Hartford sports round-up, Feb. 17, 2022

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Corinth girls tops Hartford for league title

By Keith Harrington

When Hartford and Corinth met a few weeks ago things were looking good for the Tanagers until the Tomahawks went on a 20-2 run. The Adirondack League girls basketball championship game at Hudson Falls High School on Saturday was very similar.

Hartford held a narrow lead for most of the first half but a spurt at the end of the second quarter and beginning of the third was all Corinth needed to put some distance between themselves and the Tanagers in a 62-37 win.

It was the first championship game victory for the Tomahawks. The only previous appearance in the championship game for the Corinth came in 1995, a loss to Argyle.

“I never had a doubt that these girls would come through today,” said Corinth coach Kelly Hoertkorn. “They play so selflessly. We have multiple girls who can score 20 to 30 points a night, and that’s what happened tonight.”

The game was nip and tuck early and the Corinth strategy was obvious right from the tip: Play defense. Rebound. And push the tempo to wear down the Tanagers. The strategy was a winning one.

The Tomahawks held an explosive Hartford team with two of the league’s best scorers in the thirties. They dominated the glass. And by the fourth quarter the Tanagers were looking gassed.

Hartford led 13-11 after one quarter and held a slim edge for most of the second quarter. Then sophomore Emily Dingmon took over. Dingmon gave the Tomahawks the lead with two foul shots with 2:39 to go before the break and Corinth never gave it back. Dingmon nailed a 3-pointer and then hit a shot at the buzzer to cap a 13-2 run and give her squad a 31-25 lead at the half.

In the third Corinth came out and put the game away, pushing the lead to as much as 17. Hartford whittled that back to single digits but Corinth responded and held on for the win.

Dingmon finished with 26 points and 15 rebounds for the Tomahawks. Guard Maddie DeLisle was defended well by the Tanagers but finished with 13 points. Deandra Gill had 10 points.

“It’s unreal,” Dingmon said after the game. “I’m so proud of this team and the community for supporting us. We put in the work this year, and everything clicked for us. This was a great team achievement.”

Alexis Crossmon collected seven rebounds for Corinth.

Hartford was paced by Gabrielle McFarren with 16 points. Karlee Nims added 14. Alawnah Dunda chipped in nine, including scoring Hartford’s first six points of the contest.

Despite the loss, the 16-4 Tanagers still have plenty left to play for. Hartford will likely be the top seed in the upcoming Section II Class D tournament and will be a heavy favorite to raise the championship plaque.

Corinth is 20-0 and will look to navigate their way through a loaded Class C sectional bracket.

Hartford’s Izzy French tried to navigate the Whitehall defense in the Adirondack League semifinals. (Photo by Lori Severance)

McFarren leads Hartford to semifinal win

By Keith Harrington

Gabby McFarren is regarded as one of the best guards and overall players in the area, and with her Hartford team struggling against Whitehall and facing a double figure halftime deficit, McFarren showed why she has such a stellar reputation.

McFarren led a third-quarter rally and Hartford went on to edge Whitehall 54-48 in an Adirondack League girls basketball playoff semifinal.

The win placed the Tanagers in the Adirondack League championship game against Corinth on Saturday and snapped an eight-game winning streak for the Railroaders.

“We had a late start,” said Hartford coach Jason Johnson. “We were down 27-16 at halftime, but we started kicking in in the third quarter, and we kicked into high gear in the fourth quarter to seal it.”

Whitehall led 27-16 at the break, but McFarren scored 13 consecutive points during a 13-2 Tanager spurt that flipped the script of the game. The Railroaders still led 35-33 heading to the fourth, but a Hartford free throw from Ava Nadeau gave the Tanagers a 43-42 lead, their first since 2-0. Hartford never gave the lead back. Nadeau had just been brought up from the junior varsity squad, but her only point was an important one.

Whitehall led 18-10 after a quarter and by as much in the second quarter. The Railroaders got easy transition buckets at the back end of Hartford’s press and seemed to be wearing the Tanagers out.

When Hartford abandoned the press in the second half the slower pace seemed to favor them as Whitehall went cold in their half-court offense.

“We just didn’t execute down the stretch. We had some shots we didn’t make, but that’s the way the ball bounces,” said Whitehall coach Boyd Hunt. “They hit some big shots. It’s about respect. I respect what they do.”

Post player Karlee Nims was kept in check most of the night but scored six in the final frame. Izzy French hit a clutch 3-pointer down the stretch.

McFarren led Hartford with 21 points. Nims added 12. French and Alawnah Dunda had eight points apiece.

Sam Howland had a strong overall game for Whitehall with 20 points. Blake Bird added eight.

“I’m proud of them. We’ve got a lot to look forward to the rest of the way,” Hunt added. “Not just next year. Next year is miles away. We’ve still got a lot of unfinished business to do this year. At the end of the day it would have been nice to be in the Adirondack League championship game, but when you hang up sectional banners, those will come.”

Hartford is now 16-3 on the season. Whitehall is 15-4.

On Monday night Whitehall went on the road and had one of their strongest offensive performances of the season as they rolled over Argyle 65-36. The Railroaders are known for their defense but on this night, they showed that they are not just a one trick pony.

“It’s scary. When we move the ball like we did here. We got some easy hoops too. That helps,” Hunt said after the game. “When you get three girls in double digits you’re not going to lose many games.”

Madison Gould and Olivia Whiting shot well from behind the arc and Howland was her usual steady self as the Railroaders clinched a spot in the Adirondack League semifinals.

The Railroaders put the defensive clamps on in the second, outscoring Argyle 19-6 to lead 33-18 at the half.

“They score points,” Hunt said. “Even against the good defensive teams they usually score. They really put their heads down and go to the basket. We actually played pretty good defense I thought, especially in the second quarter.”

In the third, Whitehall used a 17-11 advantage to increase its margin to 50-29 and cruised the rest of the way.

Gould and Howland led Whitehall with 18 points each. Olivia Whiting added nine points on a trio of 3-pointers.

Lillianna Kingsley led Whitehall with 17 points.

Whitehall moved to 9-3, 14-3 with the win. Argyle dropped to 3-11, 7-12.

Tuesday night the Railroaders finished off the Adirondack regular season with a 54-20 home win over Salem.

Whitehall led 16-4 after a quarter and 22-8 at halftime.

The Railroaders put it away with a 17-6 third quarter to lead 39-14 and cruised on home.

Whitehall placed four players in double figures. Howland led the way with 14 points. Ashlyn Groesbeck added 13, Bird 12 and Whiting 11.

Mary Kate McPhee had five points for Salem.

Whitehall improved to 10-3, 15-3. Salem was 4-9 after the loss.