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Girls basketball: Bethlehem cruises past Columbia

Unbeaten Lady Eagles reach Sectional semifinals

Bethlehem's Gabby Giacone goes in for a layup during Friday's Section II Class AA quarterfinal game against Columbia in Delmar.

Bethlehem's Gabby Giacone goes in for a layup during Friday's Section II Class AA quarterfinal game against Columbia in Delmar. Photo by Rob Jonas.

— The Bethlehem Lady Eagles scored the first 10 points of the game and cruised to a 74-25 victory over Columbia in Friday's Section II Class AA girls basketball quarterfinal game.

Bethlehem (19-0) advances to Wednesday's semifinal game against defending Sectional champion Colonie (15-4) at Hudson Valley Community College. Colonie defeated Catholic Central 56-43 in another quarterfinal game Friday in Delmar.

The Lady Eagles scored four seconds into the game, and they didn't let up as they built a 34-8 halftime lead. A large percentage of Bethlehem's first-half points came off turnovers and rebounds, as the Lady Eagles stifled Columbia's offense.

"I'm really, really happy with how we played tonight," said Bethlehem coach Matt Bixby.

Kaylee Rickert led Bethlehem with 27 points. Bridget Murphy contributed 14 points, while Jenna Giacone and Olivia Hughes each added 10 points to put four players in double figures.

"With the help of my teammates, it was really easy to transition from defense to offense and give us chances to score with high pressure," said Rickert.

Bixby said he doesn't anticipate an easy game against Colonie in the semifinals. Bethlehem edged the Lady Raiders 50-48 the first time the Suburban Council South Division rivals met Dec. 14, but the Lady Eagles soared past Colonie 69-35 in the Feb. 5 rematch.

"It's going to be a challenge," said Bixby, "but we're just going to take it one day at a time on the practice court."

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