SK girls overwhelm Fort Edward in Class D state semi

Benjamin Patton | The Daily StarSouth Kortright's Lexi DuBois tries to beat Fort Edward's Kaciey Sardina during Saturday's Class D girls basketball state semifinal at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy. DuBois scored a game-high 25 points to lead the Rams to a 64-41 triumph.

TROY — South Kortright's girls were more efficient than an economy car, sleeker than a luxury model and went from zero-to-60 like a dragster.

Showing off all aspects of their well-rounded game, the Rams overwhelmed Section Two's Fort Edward, 64-41, in a Class D state semifinal basketball victory Saturday afternoon at Hudson Valley Community College.

Lexi DuBois went 9-for-12 from the field en route to scoring a game-high 25 points, Tori Rockefeller contributed 14 points and Sam Acuna had 13 as SK advanced to a state final for the first time since winning the program's lone state title in 2006.

The Rams' 25-1 season ended with a 61-54 loss to Section 10's Heuvelton on Sunday in the Class D state title game back at HVCC.

"It's amazing," said sophomore DuBois, who enjoyed most of her success Saturday from the foul-line area. "It's great because I've never been this far before."

All five SK starters, a group that contains nary a senior, scored during a 17-2 run to end the first quarter. That ended with the Rams holding a 21-7 lead, and the margin never dipped below 13 points over the final three periods.

"After seeing them play, we knew they liked to pressure, right around the mid-court line," SK coach Josh Burroughs said of Fort Edward. "We worked on finding the open player, but Fort Edward also rotates really well. They're a rotation team and that's what opened up the middle. For us, we capitalized on it. Lexi finished, which is huge for us."

Both squads wanted a quick tempo. The problem for the Flying Forts was SK did it better — much better on this day.

SK's uncanny shooting made things worse for Fort Edward, which returned all but one player from a squad that fell, 47-40, to Romulus in last year's state final. While building a 40-20 halftime lead, the Rams hit 17 of 29 shots from the floor. Acuna led the way, going 5-for-7, and DuBois shot 4-for-5 in the first half.

That 17-2 spurt that spanned the final 4 minutes, 45 seconds of the first quarter displayed what these Rams are all about.

They scored on putbacks, off of steals, in transition and in half-court sets. Fort Edward seemed powerless to stop them.

With the Flying Forts (22-2) holding a 5-4 lead, Rockefeller started things. She tracked down her own miss and scored from close range. Acuna then stepped in front a cross-court pass and went the other way for a layup. And Savannah Hobbie received a pass from DuBois before hitting a 10-footer along the baseline, that making the score 10-5 with 3:10 left in the quarter.

Twenty seconds later, Rockefeller sent a hit-ahead pass to backcourt mate Brianna Laing for a transition layup. Acuna then banked home a 12-footer from the left side. And Rockefeller made it 17-5 by hitting a three-pointer from the right wing after getting a kick-out pass from Hobbie.

Ashley Godfrey briefly interrupted the run with a foul-line jumper, but DuBois capped the quarter with a pair of baskets. She followed a transition layup with a putback, the latter coming with 1 second remaining.

"We like it at a fast pace," Rockefeller said. "We know how to control the ball and make good passes."

Fort Edward pulled to 27-14 when Kaciey Sardina made a jumper 3:45 before halftime.

Eight straight Rams points ensued. DuBois hit an elbow jumper off a pass from Laing; Acuna banked in another one off a cross-court pass from Rockefeller; DuBois turned a steal into a layup; and Rockefeller did likewise as SK's lead ballooned to 35-14 with 2:07 left in the half.

"They were what we thought they were in transition," Fort Edward coach Jason Thomas said. "In transition, they did well."

Rockefeller capped the opening half by hitting a step-back three-pointer from the right wing to make it a 20-point spread.

SK's lead grew to 51-25 when DuBois hit a foul-line jumper after receiving a pass from Hobbie with 2:40 left in the third quarter.

A 10-1 Flying Forts spurt to end the quarter made it 52-35. Alexis Thomas, the coach's daughter, scored four of her team-high 16 points during the run.

Any thoughts of a big Fort Edward comeback ended when DuBois went on a 7-0 run. It started with a layup off a pass from Acuna, continued with a pretty, spinning layup that resulted in a three-point play, and ended with a pair of free throws with 2:47 to go to make it 60-37.

"My coach tells me if I get the ball in the foul-line area to shoot from there or drive," DuBois said of her success from the high post.

Rockefeller, Laing and Acuna also deserve credit. Their ability to break FE's pressure around mid-court meant that Thomas, who was guarding DuBois, had to help. Once Thomas rotated, that left DuBois with plenty of room to operate in the middle of the floor.

"We try to get Lexi open at the high post," Rockefeller said.

SK 64, Fort Edward 41

Class D State Semifinal

Saturday at Hudson Valley CC

Number before team indicates section

4-SOUTH KORTRIGHT (25-0): Tori Rockefeller 5-14 1-3 14, Brianna Laing 2-7 2-5 6, Burkley Cole 0-1 0-0 0, Sam Acuna 5-9 3-4 13, Kaitlyn Stinson 1-1 0-0 2, Lexi DuBois 9-12 7-9 25, Savannah Hobbie 2-3 0-0 4, Laura Hannigan 0-0 0-0 0, Mackenzie Smith 0-0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 24-47 13-21 64.

2-FORT EDWARD (22-2): Maddison Nassivera 0-3 2-2 2, Alex Godfrey 2-9 0-0 4, Ashley Godrey 1-3 0-0 2, Kaciey Sardina 2-7 0-0 5, Kaylee Seylee 0-0 0-0 0, Mady Godfrey 1-3 0-4 2, Megan Brockway 0-0 0-0 0, Kali Knapp 2-9 3-4 8, Aylssa Grumley 0-0 0-0 0, Alexis Thomas 6-14 4-7 16, Amelia Taylor 0-0 1-3 1. TOTALS: 14-48 11-23 41.

South Kortright ..... 21 19 12 12 - 64

Fort Edward ..... 7 13 15 6 - 41

Three-point field goals: S 3-7 (Rockefeller 3-6, Laing 0-1); F 2-15 (Nassivera 0-1, A. Godfrey 0-2, Sardina 1-3, Knapp 1-6, Thomas 0-3).

Rebounds: SK 34 (Acuna 9, Hobbie 9); FE 33 (Sardina 9, Thomas 9).

Steals: SK 12 (Laing 4); FE 18 (Thomas 7).

Rob Centorani can be reached at rcentorani@thedailystar.com or 607-432-1000, ext. 209.

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