Underdog Cooperstown rides senior leaders to section final

JARED BOMBA | The Daily Star Cooperstown’s Piper Seamon drives the baseline during the second half of Saturday’s section semifinal.

SYRACUSE — Cooperstown upperclassmen Kate Trosset, Piper Seamon, Emilie Perez and Lauren Vibbard have waited for the chance to make a mark in a successful Hawkeyes girls basketball program.

Now, they’re making the most of it.

That quartet accounted for 48 of the fourth-seeded Hawkeyes’ 63 points on Saturday as Cooperstown defeated top seed Weedsport, 63-60, in the Section III Class C girls basketball semifinals. The win gives the Hawkeyes (18-5) 14 wins in their last 15 games and a berth in Thursday’s section final against No. 2 Little Falls at the Carrier Dome.

“The amount of faith that we have in each other is amazing. It doesn’t matter if you’re a senior, junior, we have an eighth-grader on our team,” Seamon, a junior, said. “We have a good program all the way up through, and we can do it just like the other girls did.”

Trailing by six midway through the third quarter to a Weedsport team that entered with just one loss, Cooperstown was in danger of chasing a talented Warriors team. But two points from eighth-grader Meagan Schuermann opened a 10-3 run, advanced by five points from Hawkeyes’ seniors and capped by a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Seamon, put CCS ahead, 45-44, after three.

Cooperstown continued to roll in the fourth, opening a 61-52 advantage with 42 seconds remaining.

“They’re really steady. They continue to be more and more impressive,” Niles said of his seniors. “They’ve been fantastic leaders. Positive, and consistent, and there aren’t a lot of teenagers that can do that for a whole winter and they’ve been fantastic off the court as well.”

Weedsport made a late run to cut the deficit to one in the last seconds, but two free throws from Abby Ford with less than three seconds remaining and a missed heave from Weedsport iced the result.

“It feels great. We have some really good years before but the past two years we have been good but haven’t gotten that far,” Seamon said.

While the Hawkeyes shared the offensive load in the second half, Trosset scored 12 of Cooperstown’s 29 first-half points. Seamon had seven and Perez five as CCS set itself up for its second-half run.

Trosset tied for the game high with 18 points on eight field goals. Seamon made six field goals, including all three of Cooperstown’s 3-pointers, to score 15, while Perez and Schuermann each had 11. Ford and Vibbard each contributed four.

Cassi Carroll equaled Trosset with 18 to lead Weedsport.

The win returns Cooperstown to the section championship for the first time since 2015-16. For a team that lost significant production from last year’s team that failed to reach the section final, expectations are already being surpassed.

“We had a lot of great players leave the program last year. I think people thought we wouldn’t have much to go on this year. But these kids didn’t flinch,” Niles said.

“This level of excitement and buzzing is it’s own reward. We will go back to work on Monday to look at Little Falls, and I really think these kids are like, ‘send us UConn. They better have a good day when they show up.’”

Niles’ team takes on second-seeded Little Falls in the final. The Mounties handily defeated No. 6 Pulaski, 56-19, in the other semifinal. Still, Seamon said her teammates will not be nervous for the final.

“I honestly don’t feel a lot of pressure. We were the four seed against the one seed tonight,” Seamon said. “Nobody really thought a lot of us I guess. So it’s a little less pressure.”

Visit thedailystar.com/sports for more photos of Saturday’s action.

Cooperstown 63, Weedsport 60

Weedsport …… 8 21 15 16 - 60

Cooperstown …… 11 18 16 18 - 63

Weedsport (21-2): Emma Stark 3 0-0 6, Libby Nemec 0 0-0 0, Suzie Nemec 5 0-0 13, Sidney Gilfus 1 0-0 2, Brianna Hall 4 1-4 11, Brooke Hammersley 3 2-2 10, Cassi Carroll 7 3-5 18, Natalie Procino 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 23 6-11 60.

Cooperstown (18-5): Abby Ford 1 2-2 4, Ashley Kiuber 0 0-0 0, Meagan Schuermann 3 5-8 11, Lauren Vibbard 1 2-4 4, Kate Trosset 8 2-2 18, Kate Donnelly 0 0-0 0, Piper Seamon 6 0-0 15, Natalie Fountain 0 0-0 0, Emilie Perez 3 5-8 11. TOTALS 22 11-24 63.

Three-point field goals: C 3 (P. Seamon 3); W 8 (S. Nemec 3, Hammersley 2, Hall 2, Carroll).