By Greg Klein
The Daily Star
---- — SYRACUSE — One run was more than enough for the Cooperstown girls basketball team Thursday night.
Sumer Murdock scored a game-high 21 points and Alannah Haggerty contributed 17 for Cooperstown, which rode a huge fourth-quarter run to a 59-44 victory over Weedsport in the Section Three Class C championship game at the Carrier Dome.
“I think we got gassed at the end of the third quarter,” said Cooperstown coach Mike Niles, whose team took a 29-18 lead into halftime before getting outscored, 13-9, in the third period. “We got a little rest and we started helping out Liz (Millea) against their press. We started breaking their press and we ended up getting easy layups out of it.”
Abby Marsden’s putback 10 seconds into the final quarter pulled Weedsport (18-4) to 38-33, but that was as close as the Section Three Class C-1 champions got. The Redskins followed with a 19-3 spurt that including a string of 11 straight points and ended when Nicole Cring made a putback with 1:14 left.
“When we get tight, positive things happen,” said Murdock, who sank five three-point field goals in helping the C-2 champion Redskins to their first overall sectional crown since 2008. “Our teamwork comes out and we play well when we’re under pressure.”
Cooperstown (21-2) ended the first quarter with a 16-5 advantage, which included two points from Murdock. The sharp-shooter quickly got hot, though, scoring eight points in a 14-12 second period that kept the Redskins on top at the break.
“Shooting is a process,” said Murdock, who scored six points in the third quarter and five more in the fourth. “Once I get the rhythm down, they seem to go in. I practice my shooting every morning with my dad and I’m always ready to shoot when I get the ball.”
Murdock’s threes offset six by Weedsport, which faced a 2-3 zone for the majority of the title game.
“Holy cow they hit some threes, which is not something (Weedsport has) done all year,” Niles said. “We were really afraid of getting into foul trouble on (point guard Gabby) LaForce. We had a couple of people in front of her at all times.”
LaForce’s 10 points paced Weedsport, which received eight apiece from Marsden and Cassie Weeks.
Haggerty, who dominated the inside with center Cring, scored 10 points in the opening half for the Redskins. Cring finished with eight points and Millea had seven for Cooperstown, which advanced to a Class C state quarterfinal March 9 at Oneonta State.
The Redskins of the Center State Conference will face Unatego or Harpursville in the quarterfinal. The Midstate Athletic Conference rivals will play for the Section Four Class C championship at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Broome County Arena in Binghamton.
Cooperstown, which has not played Harpursville this season, earned a 37-34 non-league road win at Unatego on Dec. 11.
Cooperstown 59, Weedsport 44
SECTION THREE CLASS C
Syracuse Carrier Dome
WEEDSPORT (18-4): Gabby LaForce 3 2-4 10, Davianna Blasi 1 4-6 6, Kaitlyn O’Connell 1 0-0 2, Abby Marsden 4 0-0 8, Shelbie VanNorstrand 2 0-0 6, JoHanna Feocco 2 0-0 4, Cassie Weeks 2 2-2 8, Biz Chirco 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 13 8-12 44.
COOPERSTOWN (21-2): Liz Millea 1 5-7 7, Sumer Murdock 8 0-0 21, Alannah Haggerty 7 3-5 17, Nicole Cring 3 2-6 8, Caitlyn Briggs 1 0-0 2, Maggie Hall 2 0-0 4, S.J. Morosko 0 0-0 0, Noelle Palmatier 0 0-0 0, Ellen Vibbard 0 0-0 0, Lucy Ford 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 22 10-18 59.
Weedsport 6 12 13 13 — 44
Cooperstown 15 14 9 21 — 59
Three-point field goals: W 6 (LaForce 2, VanNorstrand 2, Weeks 2); C 5 (Murdock 5).