PLATTSBURGH — It was a game that neither team deserved to lose, but in the end, someone had to be crowned champion.
Beekmantown and Plattsburgh battled each other through regulation, but needed overtime to determine a winner.
The Eagles outscored the Hornets 7-3 in the overtime session to capture the Section VII Class B championship, 44-40, in girls’ basketball at the Plattsburgh State Field House Friday.
Beekmantown will face the winner of today’s Section II championship game between Watervliet and Ravena at 6 p.m. at the Plattsburgh State Field House Wednesday.
“I am feeling very proud of my players,” Eagles coach Greg Waters said. “I am proud of them for staying the course and sticking to the game plan for the full 32 minutes (and overtime).”
It was Plattsburgh, though, that jumped out to the early lead.
The Hornets took a 13-8 lead after one, then went on a 7-2 run to start the second quarter. Beekmantown would battle back at the conclusion of the second, but still trailed 21-16 at the half.
“I told the girls at halftime that we needed to make a run to start the second half,” Waters said. “We needed to get them on their heels and then we’d have a chance. If they went on a run things could have been much different.
“The second-half run was key.”
Waters got what he wanted.
The Eagles roared out of halftime and held the mighty Plattsburgh offense to just four points in the third quarter. Beekmantown pulled ahead 30-25 to start the fourth quarter, a lead they wouldn’t let go until the very end of regulation.
The Hornets chipped away slowly at the Eagles’ lead in the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t until a steal and layup by Marle Curle with just over a minute to play in regulation that the lead would be erased.
Both teams had chances at the end of the game, but neither could score as the game would head into overtime tied at 37.
Beekmantown’s Aleasha Barcomb would strike first on a layup, but Curle struck back quickly with a 3-pointer to give the Hornets their first lead since the third quarter, 40-39.
A layup by Shannon Ryan, however, proved to be the game-winner as Grace Kelly and Ryan would hit foul shots down the stretch to secure the victory.
A 3-point attempt by the Hornets would fall short with four seconds remaining.
“Exhausted … relieved,” Kelly said after the game. “I am really proud of my team. They definitely came through in the end.
“Our coach tells us all the time (when we are trailing) that we always battle back. Just work hard and we would get there. We all stepped up and that’s what happened.”
Kelly drew the tough assignment of playing Plattsburgh’s Curle defensively the entire game, including on the final possession.
“I was thinking just stay tight on her,” Kelly said. “I really didn’t want her to get the shot off. I worked my hardest to try and shut her down and I had a lot of help from my help-side defense.
“I really respect (Marle) as a player. It was really stressful guarding her.”
Curle did all she could to will her team to victory, including hitting key shots, grabbing rebounds and making steals down the stretch to force overtime.
She finished with 27 points, 12 rebounds and eight steals.
“We had a stretch where we couldn’t hit any outside shots and, as many great players do, she did everything she could to bring us back,” Hornets coach Joe Staves said. “We ask a lot of her … this was a tough loss.
“The girls played their hearts out. This was an enjoyable team to coach and they played their hearts out every game this season.
“We wish Beekmantown luck; they are very deserving.”
Olivia Carlsson added eight steals for Plattsburgh.
Ryan matched Curle shot-for-shot and finished with 27 points as well. She also pulled down 16 rebounds and added three blocks. Emily Anderson added nine rebounds.
“I didn’t think we took care of the basketball during the first half,” Waters said. I thought we were excited and needed to slow down.
“But, we came through and a lot of players stepped up either with a rebound, or a pass, or a steal.”
The victory gives Waters his third Section VII title as a coach and first since the 2005-06 season.
Plattsburgh 40 (OT)
Wilson 1-1-3, Ryan 10-7-27, Kelly 1-3-5, Barcomb 2-0-4, Anderson 1-0-2, LaFountain 0-0-0, McKinnley 0-0-0, Guynup 1-1-3. Totals: 16-12-44.
Dragoon 1-0-2, Carlsson 2-0-5, Duquette 0-0-0, Keyser 1-0-2, Curle 10-4-27, LaBarge 0-0-0, Marlow 0-1-1, Carper 1-0-3, Bedard 0-0-0. Totals: 15-5-40.
Beekmantown 8 8 14 7 7 — 44
Plattsburgh 13 9 4 11 3 — 40
3-point goals: Plattsburgh (5) Carlsson, Curle 3, Carper.