Two days after pulling off a shocking victory in the Class AA Semifinal against 12th ranked Shenendehowa, the Lady Falcon’s illustrious season came to a close at the Hudson Valley Community College on March 3rd in a 64-55 loss to Colonie, that was much closer than the final score suggested. The Lady Falcons (19-2) won the Big Ten Championship for the second consecutive year and their advance to the Class AA final came at the expense of a Shenendehowa team led by Ken Strube, coaching in his final season. Strube’s 569 career victories are a Section II record.
After a stalemate for most of the game the Lady Falcons broke through Shen’s three-two zone defense midway through the third quarter and never looked back going on to win 52-46. The Lady Falcons were led by sophomore Breahanda Stratton’s 22 points in a dominant performance including two consecutive three pointers to put Albany up by a point after three quarters. Junior captain Emia Willingham-Hurst added 17 points.
In the Class AA final, Albany faced off against a savvy, experienced Lady Raider’s team ranked 19th in the state. The Lady Falcons were down 23-13 with two minutes into the second quarter. However a furious comeback brought Albany back and a feed from Willingham-Hurst to sophomore Cara Waterson for a buzzer beating lay up pulled the Big Ten champs into a 27-27 tie. Down six heading into the fourth quarter, Albany came back to within one. Then Colonie junior Sydnie Rosales took over, hitting a pair of threes to start her run of 11 consecutive points that put Colonie up 58-51, with two minutes left, sealing the victory.
With both Big Ten Most Valuable Player Emia-Willingham Hurst and first team all big ten sophomore Breahanda Stratton returning next season, the Lady Falcons are poised to bring home the school’s first team state title since the 1997 season.