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February 17, 2014

Cooperstown girls win, boy lose in first round

Beavers run out of gym again

Sometimes, the game really is over at halftime.

On Saturday, though, Cooperstown’s Section Three Class C Girls Basketball Tournament opener was pretty much over in the first quarter.

Liz Millea scored a game-high 14 points to lead the fifth-seeded Hawkeyes to a 71-21 thumping of No. 12 seed Beaver River, which failed to come within 40 points of the defending sectional champs for the second straight postseason.

Cooperstown started its 2013 title run with a 67-24 first-round victory over Beaver River, which faced a 20-0 deficit after the first eight minutes for the second year in a row.

“We were aggressive from the beginning,” Cooperstown coach Mike Niles said. “We got everyone a bucket. It was nice to have a home game. It is a big deal to get a home game, really.”

Maggie Hall had 11 points for the Hawkeyes (13-6), who five rebounds, five assists and four steals from Millea. Lucy Ford contributed 10 points, eight rebounds and three blocks.

Eighth-grade point guard Sierra Neddo highlighted the Beavers’ efforts with a team-best 12 points. Beaver River (7-10) also started classmate Emma Puddington, possibly meaning a brighter future for the program.

“I think when we played they last year, they were starters as seventh-graders,” Niles said. “Puddington is going to be a good player and Neddo played well today.”

All that matters now for Cooperstown is Tuesday, when the Hawkeyes will get another home game against 13th-seeded Herkimer. The Hawkeyes will host a 6 p.m. quarterfinal against the Magicians, who upset fourth-seeded Pulaski, 56-38, on Saturday.

“Herkimer is a scrappy team,” Niles said. “They played us tough here. We had to make a second-half comeback to beat them.”

Cooperstown is 2-0 against Herkimer this year, following a 63-43 road win Dec. 16 with a 43-34 home victory Jan. 24.

Niles said his team is peaking at the right time.

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