By Greg Klein
---- — ONEONTA — Cooperstown had the fourth-quarter comeback, but Harpursville had Miranda Drummond.
Drummond’s three-point basket with 37.4 seconds left capped her 26-point afternoon Saturday at Oneonta State, where the Section Four champion Hornets edged Cooperstown, 45-43, in a Class C girls basketball state quarterfinal.
“They tie the game like they did, and Miranda walks down the court and just drains it like it’s no big deal,” Harpursville coach Kurt Ehrensbeck said of Drummond, whose three followed a 7-0 Cooperstown run that knotted the score at 42. “That’s what she does. She’s a special player.”
Drummond took a pass from Hornets point guard Savannah Murray and hit all net from the top left side of the arc to make it 45-42.
“I knew we had to get a basket and we had no timeouts left, so I just let it go,” Drummond said.
Eight seconds earlier, Cooperstown senior guard Sumer Murdock tied it at 42 on a three-pointer from the right side.
Senior center Nicole Cring started the play by rebounding a missed three-point attempt by freshman point guard Liz Millea. Cring then kicked the ball out to Maggie Hall at the top of the key, and Hall passed left to Millea. The Hornets over-rotated to cover Millea, who passed back to Hall. She then wheeled it to Murdock for an open shot from the right side.
“Everyone said to me that they will never forget the sound of the crowd when that shot went in, but I don’t remember anything,” Murdock said. “I didn’t hear anything. I just know the shot went in.”
Murdock said she was impressed with Drummond’s comeback shot.
“She’s a great player,” she said. “A fantastic player. We just got unlucky.”
After Drummond’s basket, Cooperstown turned the ball over on a long pass that went out of bounds.
Harpursville’s Holly Henry then missed a layup at the other end, and Cring grabbed the rebound.
Millea drove to the basket, drew a foul on Henry and made 1 of 2 free throws with 19.3 seconds left for the final point.
Cooperstown stopped the clock a few seconds later, when Millea fouled Drummond and sent the junior forward to the line for a 1-and-1 free throw opportunity. Cring rebounded Drummond’s front-end miss, giving Cooperstown one last chance with 8 seconds left.
Cooperstown did not get a final shot off.
“That was a busted play,” Cooperstown coach Mike Niles said. “We were trying to go to Sumer again, and we were not able to get the spacing right to get her the ball.
“We didn’t have any timeouts left,” he continued. “At the last timeout we took, we were trying to yell (over the crowd) everything we needed. It just didn’t get through.”
After nearly erasing a 10-point deficit in the third quarter, Cooperstown found itself trailing, 42-35, with three minutes remaining.
Murdock banked in a driving layup with 2:44 to go before Cring scored on a putback at 1:35. Murdock then tied it on the three with 45 seconds left.
Murdock, Cooperstown’s leading scorer, scored all nine of her points after halftime. Ehrensbeck credited Shelby Medovich’s defense for limiting Murdock in the first half.
“Medovich, she’s a good athlete and she has long arms,” Ehrensbeck said. “I told her, after watching (Murdock) hit all those threes at the Dome, ‘Shelby you have to stay with her. She can hit from two feet behind the line, so don’t let her get space.’ And she did a good job of doing that. I think she definitely frustrated her.
“What we didn’t count on was 25 (Hall),” he continued. “She made some big shots early, but I feel like we made an adjustment.”
Harpursville led, 6-5, after one quarter as both teams struggled early.
Hall had six of her nine points in the first half, helping Cooperstown to a 19-18 advantage at the break.
Drummond picked up her second foul midway through the second quarter. She stayed in the game, but Cooperstown couldn’t take advantage of it. She didn’t get her third until the fourth quarter.
“She’s really learned how to play with two fouls,” Ehrensbeck said. “When we lost to Unatego earlier, she couldn’t do that. She got her second and then picked up her third very quickly. I like to leave them on the court with two fouls. My feeling is two fouls is not a problem, but three fouls is a problem. I give her credit for learning how to play with two fouls.”
On the other bench, Cooperstown had to sit starters Cring and Alannah Haggerty as they got two fouls apiece in the first half trying to guard Drummond. Lucy Ford came off the bench and got three quick fouls trying to stop Drummond.
The lead changed six times in the first half and there were four ties. But in the second half, there was just the one tie and one lead change — on Murray’s jumper 13 seconds into the half.
Led by Drummond’s 10 third-quarter points, Harpursville started the period on a 12-2 run. The Hornets led, 31-21, on Drummond’s three-point basket with 3:24 left in the quarter.
Cooperstown got back into the game quickly. Hall’s long two-point basket at 3:04 made it an eight-point game. Murdock then stole the inbounds pass and made a layup.
Cring blocked Medovich to get the ball back for Cooperstown. Millea was then fouled by Marci Ritter while shooting a three-point shot. She made 2 of 3 free throws to cut it to 31-27.
Tatianna Sosnowsky’s layup put the Hornets back up by six, but Murdock answered on a pass from Millea with 1:29 left to make it 33-29.
After Drummond made 1 of 2 free throws, Millea ended the quarter with a long two-point basket with 2.6 seconds left, and Harpursville led, 34-31.
The Hornets started the fourth quarter by again extending their lead. Drummond and Murray had two baskets each, and Harpursville started the quarter on a 8-4 run. Drummond’s basket on a bounce pass from Murray put the Hornets up, 42-35, with just under three minutes left.
Murray had 12 points for Harpursville (19-3).
Millea tied Hall and Murdock as high scorers for Cooperstown (20-3), with nine points apiece. Murdock had 13 rebounds, including 12 on defense. Cring finished with 10 rebounds, six points and six blocks.
Cooperstown shot 7 of 22 from the foul line.
“We couldn’t get the biscuit in the basket,” Niles said. “I guess you could call it an off day. It was not a bad finish for an off day though.”
Despite Cooperstown’s shooting troubles, the Hornets left impressed with the Section Three champs.
“Cooperstown is definitely the best team we have played this year,” Ehrensbeck said. “And the same way, this was the best game Harpursville has played all year. I guess that’s why it was a two-point game.”
Niles said he was also impressed with both teams.
“Everyone knew coming in that they were a very good team, and Drummond is a very good player,” Niles said.
“I’m really happy with our girls and the season we had,” he continued. “It is going to be a fun day when we hang that banner.”
Harpursville 45, Cooperstown 43
CLASS C STATE QUARTERFINAL
Saturday at Oneonta State
COOPERSTOWN (20-3): Liz Millea 2 5-9 9, Sumer Murdock 4 0-0 9, Alannah Haggerty 2 0-0 4, Nicole Cring 3 0-8 6, Ellen Vibbard 1 0-0 2, Maggie Hall 4 0-0 9, Lucy Ford 1 2-4 4, S.J. Morosko 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 17 7-22 43.
HARPURSVILLE (19-3): Marci Ritter 0 1-2 1, Shelby Medovich 0 0-0 0, Holly Henry 1 0-0 2, Esperanza Gutierrez 1 0-0 2, Savannah Murray 5 2-3 12, Tatianna Sosnowsky 1 0-0 2, Miranda Drummond 9 6-10 26. TOTALS: 17 9-15 45.
Cooperstown 5 14 12 12 — 43
Harpursville 6 12 16 11 — 45
Three-point field goals: C 2 (Hall, Murdock); H 2 (Drummond 2).