There were times in last Saturday's Class A girls basketball regional where it seemed like Mohonasen couldn't breathe the wrong way without being called for a foul.
Fortunately for the Mighty Warriors, their opponents from Mexico the New York town, not the country couldn't hit a foul shot.
In the end, Mohonasen (22-2) made all the clutch shots to put Mexico away 50-32 and win the regional title at Hudson Valley Community College.
The statistics told the tale in this one. Mohonasen made 12 of its 16 foul shots in the second half, while Mexico knocked down only seven of its 24 attempts from the free throw line. That plus a 9-for-52 shooting performance from the floor the entire game doomed the Section III champion Tigers.
"Luckily, they weren't (hitting their foul shots), but that's not the reason we won," said Mohonasen coach Paul Brosious. "We just kept the clamps down on defense."
It wasn't easy for the Mighty Warriors to keep the clamps down in the second half " not when they kept getting whistled for fouls as they reacted to Mexico's repeated drives to the basket.
Junior forwards Courtney Cowell and Dayna Lashin especially had a hard time defending the low post. Mexico kept attacking them with senior center Chrissy Sawyer and twin forwards Evie and Angie Josbena. Lashin wound up fouling out midway through the fourth quarter, while Cowell collected three fouls in the second half.
"At first, I wanted to go down to (Sawyer's) level and play dirty, but I knew if I did that, I'd be taking myself out of my game," said Cowell. "So, I elevated my play again."
Cowell also elevated her play at the offensive end. She drained a three-pointer midway through the fourth quarter and added a pair of clutch free throws to help Mohonasen finally put Mexico away with a 15-5 run.