By Mackensey O'Hara CONTRIBUTING WRITER
---- — Liz Millea had 21 points and eight rebounds in a Center State Conference game Friday, but host Cooperstown fell short, losing to undefeated Little Falls, 51-41.
The Mounties outscored Cooperstown 16-5 in the third quarter, including a 9-0 run to start the half.
Cooperstown coach Mike Niles said that Little Falls exploited the Hawkeyes’ zone in the third quarter.
“In my opinion, (Little Falls coach Pam Munger) owns me in the third quarter,” Niles said. “Every time we play, they make a third-quarter comeback. Once we switched back to man defense in the second half, it slowed them down, but with a 9-0 run to start (the half), that was that.”
A three-pointer by Little Falls tied the game at 27 with 3:58 left in the third quarter.
After a Cooperstown timeout, Millea answered with a driving layup and S.J. Morosko hit a three-pointer to retake the lead, only to have the Mounties hit another three to tie it at 32. But a 9-2 run by Little Falls gave the Mounties the lead for good.
With Cooperstown trailing 36-32 early in the fourth quarter, Millea cut the lead to two with a drive to the basket, but Little Falls countered with a 5-0 run to make it 41-34.
Little Falls outscored the Hawkeyes 17-9 in the fourth quarter and extended its lead to double digits.
With under five minutes left, Lucy Ford made one of two free throws to bring Cooperstown within seven points, but that was as close as the Hawkeyes got down the stretch.
“We’ve had a good week, and we stayed right with them this game,” Niles said. “It was a great effort from the girls.”
The Hawkeyes jumped to an early lead, outscoring the Mounties 11-9 in the first quarter and 16-9 in the second.
Schoff was held to five points in the first half by Cooperstown’s Mallory Arthurs.
“Mallory was outstanding,” Niles said. “She plays her guts out and she’s always smaller than who she’s guarding.”
The Hawkeyes finished the first half strong. Millea scored on a pick-and-roll with Ford to make it 22-16. Maggie Hall’s steal led to a Millea put back to make it 24-16 and then, after a Little Falls basket, Hall drained a three-pointer at the buzzer for a 27-18 lead.
“We prepared great,” Niles said. “We had two great games this week and if we recharge, we will be in good shape for the rest of the season.”
Cooperstown (7-5, 3-3), which hosted West Canada Valley last night after deadline, hosts Herkimer Friday and visits Camden Monday.
LF 51, Cooperstown 41
LITTLE FALLS: Kelli Shepardson 5 1-2 12, Hannah Becker 1 0-0 2, Gen Schoff 6 4-8 16, Chey Rivenburg 3 0-0 6, Laura Wind 2 0-0 5, Amy Hart 4 0-0 10. TOTALS: 21 5-10 51.
COOPERSTOWN (7-5, 3-3): Mallory Arthurs 1 1-2 3, Jenn Flynn 0 2-3 2, Lucy Ford 2 3-4 7, Maggie Hall 1 0-0 3, Ciarra McGoldrick 0 0-0 0, Liz Millea 8 2-5 21, S.J. Morosko 1 0-0 3, Christina Noto 1 0-0 2. TOTALS: 14 8-14 41.
Little Falls 9 9 16 17 - 51
Cooperstown 11 16 5 9 - 41
Three-point field goals: L 4 (Hart 2, Wind, Shepardson); C 4 (Millea 2, Morosko, Hall). JV score: Little Falls won.