SYRACUSE — With less than two minutes left and the score tied, Cooperstown’s girls had the basketball, the momentum and an upset brewing.
Then everything fell apart for the fifth-seeded Hawkeyes, whose season ended with a 58-50 loss to top-seeded Little Falls in a Section Three Class C semifinal Sunday at Onondaga Community College.
Liz Millea drove the lane for a chance to snap a 50-all deadlock with 1:54 remaining, but she missed a layup. Millea missed the putback, too, then watched the ball bounce away as she dived for the rebound.
The Mounties recovered the loose ball and took the lead for keeps on a transition layup by Amy Hart with 1:15 left.
Cooperstown lost the ball out of bounds on its next possession. Millea nearly got it back, but she was called for a reach-in foul while swiping the ball from behind Little Falls’ Gen Schoff.
“I don’t think it was a foul,” Cooperstown coach Mike Niles said. “Any player is going to try to make that same play and any coach is going to coach that play. She just came up behind her and stole the ball.”
Schoff then found Hannah Becker in the right corner for a three-point field goal and a 55-50 lead with 46 seconds to go.
The Mounties (21-0) followed with three free throws, capping an 8-0 run that sent them into the Section Three Class C championship game opposite Fabius-Pompey on Friday at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse.
“Cooperstown definitely has some outstanding players,” Little Falls coach Pam Munger said. “They played a great game. They made it a little difficult for us, but we did what we needed to do.”
Cooperstown erased a 41-29 deficit in the third quarter with an 11-0 run that ended with a three-pointer by Maggie Hall, tying the score with 6:16 remaining.