At a Coaches vs. Cancer tournament last week in Wallkill, Valley Central’s girls’ basketball team had a successful December and entered the final with a 5-1 record.
The Lady Vikings held a slim lead, 14-13, at the end of the first quarter. The lead extended to nine, up 27-16, at the half before Wallkill cut the lead to 31-30 to end the third quarter.
Wallkill’s Chelsea Franklin hit a foul shot to make it 31-31. But that’s as close as Wallkill came in the final before Valley Central’s Deanna Murdock hit some key shots in the fourth to give the Lady Vikings a 43-37 victory.
“It’s all about defense for us,” said Randy Axtell, Valley Central’s coach. “We got some good foul shots late in the game. It was good.”
Erin Cooney was named the tournament MVP, and she lead Valley Central with 15 points, going five for six from the foul line in the fourth as the Lady Vikings regained the lead and the game.
Wallkill came back in the third with some solid shooting before Valley Central, behind Murdock and Cooney, took off again in the fourth quarter.
“Not enough horses. We have to take care of the ball. We have to work together as a team, and that is the issue,” said A.J. Higby, Wallkill’s coach.
Brianna Cross and Kiera Power each scored 10 points for Wallkill, which dropped to 4-4, and faces some tough opponents early in 2018.
“Saugerties twice, FDR and then Highland, Red Hook and Marlboro. This was the easy part,” said Higby, “If they don’t play as a team, it will be worse than this every time.”
Valley Central improved to 6-2, and they face Kingston and Warwick early next year after stopping Wallkill.
“That’s no joke right there. That will be a good barometer for us,” said Axtell, of facing Warwick and Kingston. “We did not go as deep as we usually do today, but I think our depth will help us down the road. Warwick and Kingston will be a good challenge for us.”
By Bond Brungard