Hartford girls roll to semifinals
By Keith Harrington
If there’s an area team that is an overwhelming favorite to win a sectional title and advance to regional and state tournament play, it’s the Hartford girls basketball team. Many pundits believe the Tanagers will go unchallenged in the Section II Tournament.
If the opening round game last Tuesday is any indication, they could be right.
Top-seeded Hartford made short work of eight-seed Germantown, cruising past the Clippers 65-25 in a Class D matchup.
Hartford punched its ticket back to the semifinals to take on four-seed Northville at Ballston Spa. The Falcons edged Salem by a point in the other quarterfinal contest at the Ella Colvin Gymnasium.
Before the Covid-19 outbreak, the Tanagers made it to the Final Four round before falling to eventual champion Fort Edward in the 2019-2020 season. Now they have another chance to earn a spot in the title tilt.
The Tanagers are blessed with a potent inside-outside scoring duo in post player Karlee Nims and guard Gabby McFarren. Both eclipsed the 1,000-point career mark this season. Nims is nearly unstoppable in the paint. McFarren has unlimited range and knows how to slash to the bucket as well.
On this night, however, the future of the Hartford team may have emerged. Sophomore post player Alawnah Dunda gave Tanagers’ fans a glimpse into what’s ahead after Nims and McFarren graduate in June as she scored a game-high 19 points.
Germantown tried to hang around early as Hartford led just 15-8 after one quarter.
The second eight minutes proved to be the difference as Hartford outscored the Clippers 17-4 to lead 32-12 at halftime.
The rest of the night was just a formality. The Tanagers outscored the Clippers 19-7 in the third and 14-6 in the fourth to complete the dominating win. Hartford coach Jason Johnson was able to extend some minutes to his younger players as his team advanced to the semifinals.
McFarren added 17 for the Tanagers. Nims chipped in 10.
Katie Bathrick had nine points for Germantown.
Hartford is now 17-4 on the season.
Hartford loses to North Warren, 57-48
By Keith Harrington
For the first 16 minutes it looked as though the six-seed Hartford boys basketball team might knock off three-seed North Warren but the Cougars kicked it into gear in the second half and rallied to defeat Hartford, 57-48, in the Section II Class D quarterfinals at Stillwater High School on Sunday.
The win advances the Cougars to the semifinal round where they will take on two-seed Northville at Cool Insuring Arena in Glens Falls.
Hartford led 12-10 after a quarter and extended the lead to 29-22 at halftime.
North Warren shifted the momentum in the third, outscoring the Tanagers 22-6 to lead 44-35 heading to the fourth.
The teams played to a 13-13 deadlock in the fourth as North Warren held off a Hartford comeback attempt.
“I’m very proud of these young men,” Hartford coach Jason Harrington said. “They played so hard. We just came up a little short.”
Sean Evans led North Warren with 17 points. Tommy Conway, Andrew Beadnell and Cooper Morehouse each contributed nine points.
Ray Harrington paced Hartford with a game-high 22 points, including five 3-pointers. JP Lavin added eight and Logan Reynolds seven.
North Warren moves to 13-8 with the win. Hartford ends the season 11-11.
In their opening round game Hartford blew open a close contest in the second quarter and fought off a Fort Edward comeback attempt as they outlasted the Flying Forts, 72-57, in a Section II Class D playoff opening round contest between Adirondack League foes.
Harrington led the Tanagers with 30 points, including 12 in the fourth quarter, but the key to the game was the dominance in the paint of post players Lavin and Austin Wells.
“When you’ve got a six-five and six-four kid in the paint who have really developed their skills, part of our game plan is to feed our big guys and let them go to work, and that really paid off,” Jason Harrington explained.
The game was nip and tuck early on. There were eight lead changes in the first quarter with Hartford twice leading by five. The Tanagers led 16-14 after the opening stanza.
In the second Hartford led 25-15 with 5:40 to go, but the Flying Forts inched back to within 27-22. The Tanagers closed the half on an 8-0 run with a bucket from Nate Fiske and a pair of Harrington treys to lead 35-22 at the intermission.
Hartford led 53-35 after three quarters and took its biggest lead of the night at 55-35 early in the fourth. Fort Edward was not done however as they ripped off an 8-0 spurt to pull within 55-43. The Flying Forts got as close as 60-51, but a putback by Lavin and nine points from Harrington including a dunk after a steal helped the Tanagers salt the game away.
“We talked about how even with big leads against this group (Fort Edward) they are not out of any game,” Harrington said. “They’re quick and they shoot well. The Sullivan kid and the Tyler kid have the ability to score.”
Lavin recorded a double-double for Hartford with 19 points and 16 rebounds. Wells added nine points and eight rebounds. Harrington had eight steals, while Fiske and Caleb Boucher had three assists apiece.
Ash Sullivan had an outstanding game for Fort Edward with 34 points.
Hartford was 11-10 on the season after the win.