SYRACUSE — Adopting an aggressive, running style of play, Kori Nichols and Gen. Brown’s women’s basketball team took another big step on Sunday.
The Lions led throughout and took a 66-50 win over Marcellus in a Division 3 Class B semifinal at Allyn Hall at Onondaga Community College.
General Brown advances to the program’s first Section 3 final in two decades.
Later, Lowville’s season ended with a 67-49 loss to the Utica Academy of Science in a Class B boys semifinal at the OCC’s SRC Arena.
GENERAL BROWN GIRLS ADVANCE
Nichols, a junior guard, scored 17 points to pace a even scoring effort as the second-seeded Lions beat the third-seeded Mustangs.
General Brown, who led from time to time, improves his record to 21-2 this season.
Ainsley Fuller contributed 15 points for the Lions and Karsyn Fields finished with 14.
General Brown advances to his first section final since 2002 when he reached the Class C title match, a second behind Mohawk.
“It’s awesome, honestly,” Nichols said. “I mean we’ve never been in this situation, this is the first time in (20) years that General Brown’s basketball has gone this far, so that’s great.”
This time, the Lions will face No. 12 Bishop Grimes (15-9) in the final at 3 p.m. Saturday at the SRC Arena.
Bishop Grimes knocked out top seed Little Falls, 49-44, in Sunday’s other semifinal.
“We’re super excited and grateful to have this opportunity to keep pushing forward,” General Brown coach Janelle Ferris said. “It’s been a long time for our program and it’s definitely something that’s been a goal for some time.”
“It’s the first time for us in a while and we can’t wait, it’s really exciting,” said Fields, a senior guard.
Katie MacLachlan scored a game-high 25 points to beat Marcellus (17-5).
Along with thriving in their quick and fast offense, the Lions also excelled on the free throw line, converting 27 of 33 attempts for 82%. Nichols hit 10 of 12.
“Free-throw shooting hasn’t been our strength this season, however, today we were able to knock them down, especially in the streak to seal the win,” Ferris said.
General Brown built a 21-11 lead in the first quarter.
The Mustangs responded with an 8-0 run to draw in 21-19, but the Lions scored six of the next eight points, capped by a lay-in from Fields and a lay-up from Fuller in the final minute to lead 27-23 at halftime.
General Brown opened the second half with a 7-2 surge for a 34-25 lead. Marcellus then cut the lead to four later in the third quarter, Nichols followed with a key 3-point field goal for a 37-30 lead.
“They’re a very good team and I think we played within our abilities and did what we had to do to get there,” Nichols said of Marcellus.
The Lions, who led 46-36 after three quarters, led up to 15 in the final quarters.
“They were probably the toughest competition we’ve had so far in the sections,” Fields said. “They know how to push the ball very quickly down the pitch, so it takes a lot of time for us to get back into defense and tire ourselves out a bit.”
“But that’s what we like to do when we’re strongest,” Fuller, a junior guard, said of the Lions’ running approach on offense.
General Brown also held Marcellus to 13 points in the third quarter and 14 in the fourth.
“We usually thrive on playing good defense and getting deflects and steals, and then we like to score in transition,” Ferris said. “We knew that today was not going to be as easy as in the past, so we worked a bit more on our half-court (attack) to be calmer. And not necessarily looking for the first shooting, but spinning the ball and going from there.
The Lions have won their last five games and 14 of their last 15. That includes a victory over Immaculate Heart Central to capture the Frontier League “B” Division playoff title and section wins over Chittenango and Oneida.
“It actually started with the Frontier League, it was the first time we won the Frontier League division and in the playoffs, and then we got this far,” Ferris said of the Lions’ previous appearance in Section 3 finale. “So these girls have been working hard since third or fourth grade and it’s happening for them now.”
Gen. Brown, who is also ranked No. 4 in the state in Class B, also competed in his first sectional semifinal since 2009.
“We played really well together,” Nichols said. “We’ve been playing since we were 10 and this is the year we’ve been waiting for. I think we’re really getting to where we’ve wanted to be for a while.
RED RAIDERS FALL TO ATOMIES
Second-seeded Lowville took the lead early on but was eventually beaten by No. 3 Utica Academy of Sciences in a men’s semifinal.
Donelious King Jr. scored a game-high 27 points to power the Atoms (20-3), who advance to face No. 1 Chittenango in Sunday’s final at SRC Arena.
The Red Raiders, who were aiming to reach a section final for the third consecutive playoff series, finished at 21-2.
“A tough game,” Lowville coach Zach Shambo said. “They played well and we didn’t. We didn’t play our best game.
Dalton Myers scored 15 points to lead Lowville, Brody Brown added 12 and Ryan Young finished with 10.
“Lowville has been class B for the past few years, so it was a really good win for us,” UAS coach Anthony Lee said. “We have moved to Class B and are making the most of it.”
The Red Raiders took a 13-5 lead with 4:25 left in the first quarter. Lowville then sank into an 8½-minute drought, when UAS forged a 15-0 surge, including scoring the first seven points of the second quarter to lead 20-13.
“I think Utica has played as hard as anyone we’ve seen all year,” Shambo said. “It made it very difficult for us to score and we couldn’t really find a rhythm and we were just chasing from behind after they took the lead and we were never able to catch them.”
Myers hit a pair of free throws with 4:25 left in the first half to end the run, but the Red Raiders managed just eight points, including just three field goals, in the second quarter.
“We just had a big drought,” said Brown, a junior guard. “And that’s a big part of what we’ve been working on since the start of the year, but let’s not get down to business. And always score and always move the ball, but we hit that at the worst time. possible.
Lowville tied 33-28 on a 3-pointer from Myers with 3:42 left in the third quarter, but King Jr. quickly responded with his own quick trey for an eight-point lead.
The Red Raiders tied 39-33 in the third period but didn’t come close as King Jr. started the fourth quarter with a deep 3-pointer.
“I thought they were really physical, they were a physical team and we weren’t up to it – and that hurt us in the long run,” Shambo said.
“We did what we could, we just didn’t execute some of our finishes and some of our jump shots,” Brown said. “They’re a big team, they’ve got size, they’ve got athleticism and we knew that. well shot today.”
Lowville had won its previous six games, including winning the regular season and playoff titles in Florida’s “B” Division.
Lowville had won the last two Class B Division 3 titles, advancing to the state title game in 2019, then defeated Solvay to win the 2020 finals before high school sports were halted due to of the pandemic.
“It’s hard for them because they were heartbroken for the first time,” Shambo said. “It’s easier for me after Joe Girard (of Glens Falls) did this to us (in the 2019 state finals). There’s nothing that could be worse than that. I just told them told to keep your heads up and that we are proud of them. They behaved with class and that is what matters to us.
“It’s tough and seniors don’t come back and it’s tough for them,” Brown added. “But morale is good and I think we exceeded expectations. It’s disappointing, but we did what we could and had fun along the way.