Strong fourth quarter lifts West Genesee over Colonie in regional final

TROY — A run to begin the fourth quarter made the difference for West Genesee and it propelled them to a victory and a bid to the state final four as they beat Colonie on Saturday afternoon at Hudson Valley Community College, 72-63.

Midway through the third quarter, Colonie held a 32-29 lead and it looked as though the game would be coming down to the wire. With three and a half minutes left in the third, West Genesee went on a quick 10-0 run headlined by eight points, including two three-pointers by Mackenzie Smith. This gave the Wildcats a 39-32 lead.

Colonie fought back a little bit at the end, making it 42-37 by the end of the third quarter.

To start the fourth, West Genesee finally took the next step that they needed to in order to win. They went on a 12-3 run to open the fourth and gain a 54-40 lead. Again, Smith was a huge part of the run as she contributed another six points during this run. She was key in the second half for West Genesee, scoring 23 points after the break and led her team with 29 in total on 9-17 shooting, 4-6 from three. The team itself shot 12-22 in the second half, good for 55%.

“They made some shots at the end, throughout the second half. Their guards are excellent, we had a tough time stopping (Smith),” Colonie coach Heather DiBiase said.

Before all of this happened Colonie had taken control of the game early on, owning a double-digit lead in the first quarter before West Genesee crawled back into it in the second, making it a two-point game at the half before the Wildcats turned it on and made their two big runs. Two scores late in the first quarter from Erin Fouracre bumped their lead from five to 10 in the final 90 seconds of the first. She finished with 23 points on 8-12 shooting in her final high school game before moving on to play in college at Le Moyne next year.

“Erin’s been an inspiration for the four years she’s been here. She’ll definitely be hard to replace but she went out this season on a great note, winning a sectional title. She did everything she needed to do, very proud of her and she will be missed,” DiBiase said.

Colonie falls short of a bid to the state final four but will return four starters next year so it is a team that has a real shot at being back to this point next season.

“You can’t teach this experience,” DiBiase said. “Getting to this game will definitely make them hungry next year to make it to the next level.”

West Genesee now advances to the state semifinals. They will face Section IX’s Ossining in a game that will give out a bid to the state championship. The semifinal game will be played at Hudson Valley Community College on Saturday, March 17, and will tip off at 9 a.m.

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