Girls' Basketball

PPR SPORTS Class C girls 0301
Seton Catholic's Dana Chapman attempts to knock the ball loose from Northern Adirondack's Rachael Venne as she drives towards the basket during last week's Section VII Class C semifinal game. The Bobcats face AuSable Valley in the title game tonight. (P-R Photo/Gabe Dickens)

Class C hoops final has a new look


PLATTSBURGH — The Section VII Class C girls’ basketball championship will have a bit of a different flavor this season.

AuSable Valley (17-2), which has been a powerhouse in Champlain Valley Athletic Conference’s Division II, moves from Class B into Class C this year to compete for the championship.

Joining the Patriots in the title game is a Northern Adirondack team that before this year hadn’t won a game since the 2007 season.

The two teams will tipoff at 5:45 p.m. today at the Plattsburgh State Field House.

“My hope for this year was to win a few games,” Bobcats coach Jessica Barnhart said. “I definitely didn’t expect to win in the semis and have a chance to play in the finals (at the start of the year).”

One person who was expecting big things from the Northern Adirondack program this season was Patriots coach Roger Long.

“They definitely have come a long way,” Long said. “They have learned to win this year, and their kids are playing well and hard together.

“Some of their kids played AAU this summer, and my feeling going in was that Jess was going to do a good job and it was only a matter of them learning to win. They played us extremely well this season. I thought they’d be at least a .500 team, and they haven’t surprised me — I knew they had the capabilities.”

AuSable Valley has come away with a pair of victories against Northern Adirondack this season, but both games were competitive.

The Patriots captured a 60-43 win Dec. 14 at home and grabbed a 52-43 victory Jan. 17 in Ellenburg.

“It’s hard to beat a team three times in one season,” Long said. “There’s no question playing teams in your own section is difficult. We are all familiar with each other.

“It comes down to execution and keeping your composure. Our main focus will be playing strong defense in the half-court set and limiting them to one shot. Offensively we will try to execute with whatever they show us on defense. Try to get good looks and uncontested shots.”

Meghan Strong has led the Patriots on offense this season with 14.3 points per game and has connected on 39 3-pointers. Taylor Saltus has also averaged double figures, scoring 11.4 points per game.

The Bobcats also have two players hitting double digits in points on the season. Rachael Venne leads the way at 11.3, while Taylor Durnin is right behind at 10.4. Magan Magee has connected on a team-high 16 3-pointers.

“Offensively I want my kids to have confidence and know that we can play with them,” Barnhart said. “I hope they all can bring their A game and come ready to play.

“(AuSable) has some talented, hard working kids, and basketball-wise they are smart players. We will have to limit their outside shooting. Saltus and Strong also tend to take over; we will have to try to shut them down.”

The Patriots landed in today’s championship game after a 51-25 win over Ticonderoga in the semifinals. Northern Adirondack rolled past Seton Catholic 46-26 in its semifinal.

Northern Adirondack

Leading scorers


Venne 17 75 40 192 11.3

Durnin 17 57 56 176 10.4

Magee 17 47 22 132 7.8

Scott 17 37 25 110 6.5

Kerr 17 11 13 37 2.2

3-point leaders

Player GP 3PM

Magee 17 16

Scott 17 11

Durnin 17 6

AuSable Valley

Leading scorers


Strong 19 97 38 271 14.3

Saltus 19 89 28 217 11.4

L. Snow 19 52 30 146 7.7

Rondeau 19 47 22 128 6.7

Douglass 18 19 2 43 2.4

3-point leaders

Player GP 3PM

Strong 19 39

L. Snow 19 12

Rondeau 19 12

Saltus 19 11