The South Kortright girls basketball team has cleared every hurdle in its path throughout the 2018-2019 season.
The Rams (24-0) have already won a Delaware League title and a Section IV Class D championship. Friday at 10 a.m. on the campus of Hudson Valley Community College, they’ll look to secure their spot in the Class D state title game. Standing in their way is Section X champion Edwards-Knox (21-2).
“No one expected us to get this far,” senior Jordan Finch said following the team’s Class D quarterfinal win. “We set goals for this season and we just keep knocking them down.”
The Rams dismantled Section XI champion Smithtown Christian in the quarterfinals, 65-35, behind 11 points from Finch and a team-best 18 from junior forward Azalyn Brunson.
Finch, a 6-foot-1 forward, has used her length and touch around the hoop to lead the Rams to their second Class D final four in three years.
She also has the ability to distribute from the high post as she showcased with her eight assists in the win over Smithtown Christian.
The combination of Finch and Brunson in the post has propelled SK to where they are now, but its guard play has been just as strong.
Point guard Anna Reinshagen leads SK’s defensive unit, applying pressure in the Ram’s full-court press and often guarding the other team’s top scorer.
“We rely on her (Reinshagen) to mark the opposing team’s best players, and each and every game she works hard,” SK head coach Josh Burroughs said following the team’s win over Franklin in the Section IV Class D title game. “She’s a relentless defender.”
Reinshagen’s defensive assignment in that section title game was one of the keys to the Rams’ win. She played man-to-man on Franklin leading scorer Kayla Campbell in SK’s box-and-one, holding her to four points on 2-of-7 shooting.
Reinshagen’s on-ball intensity and the size of Finch and Brunson makes the Rams, the top-ranked Class D team in the state according to the New York State Sportswriters Association, a tough matchup for just about anyone.
Add in the sharpshooting of sophomore Carli Pardee and it’s easy to see how the Rams have made it this far.
Edwards-Knox also dominated in its quarterfinal, defeating Copenhagen, 64-18, to earn its final four berth.
The Cougars got a team-high 21 points from Carly Frary and 18 from Lucy Frary.
Burroughs said he had watched some of Edwards-Knox’s win over Copenhagen and that he thought the Cougars looked a lot like his own team.
“They’re a quality team,” Burroughs said after the Smithtown Christian win. “It’s almost like a mirror image of ourselves. They press, they run and they shoot the three.”
The winner of Friday’s semifinal advances to Saturday’s Class D title game against either Notre Dame Bishop Gibbons (15-8) or Franklinville (19-5).
Franklinville fell to Delhi in last year’s Class D title game.
Opening tip for the final is scheduled for 4 p.m., also Hudson Valley Community College.