Strong three-point shooting in the second half sends the Flying Horses past the Vikings. Mendon made their deepest run in the state tournament since 1999.
For the six seniors on the Pittsford Mendon girls basketball team, Friday was a lowpoint - and high point of their farewell season.
The high was knowing they led the Vikings to the farthest any team has been since 1999. For many of the players after the game the low far outweighed any of the accomplishments they earned over the last two weeks.
Troy (Section 2) defeated Mendon 65-53 in the NYSPHSAA Class A semifinals at Hudson Valley Community College. The Vikings, who won their second Section 5 title in three seasons earlier this winter, finished the season 20-2.
“I’m thrilled with the way our kids competed right down to the wire,” said Todd Julien, Mendon head coach. “The six seniors are special to us. When they were younger they provided depth and they competed not just in games but practice. They have been the backbone not just of Mendon basketball, but Mendon sports.”
Erin Lyons, who scored 19 points to led the Vikings on Friday, is part of Mendon’s talented senior class, all of whom played on the varsity team for at least three seasons. Lyons and Lauren D’Hont (17 points on Friday) played varsity for four years and Kristen Powers was a five-year player.
“I wish we could have won, and kept going, but we need to be really proud of how far we came and know how great this season was,” said Lyons, who will play soccer and basketball at Union next year.
The Vikings appeared ready to overcome a slow second quarter when D’Hont hit two free throws to cut the deficit to 31-24 with 5:58 left in the third.
Flying Horse sophomore guard Kiana Patterson put the team on her back though, knocking down three straight three-pointers and Mendon trailed 40-24 with 3:49 left in the third. Patterson finished with a game-high 22 points.
Viking senior guard Courtney Case hit one of two free throws to cut the deficit to 55-50 with 1:03 left in the fourth, but Troy hit six free throws in the final minute to seal the victory.
“Late in the third quarter they started to rotate out and trap and I thought our kids did a nice job getting the ball in the middle of the court and inside,” said Paul Bearup, Flying Horses head coach. “When (Patterson) gets in there and gets her opportunity, she is going to shoot it. We always feel good about her knocking them down.”
Mendon didn’t appear to have any jitters playing in what amounted to a road game in Troy’s backyard, as Lyons jumper gave the Vikings a 12-8 lead late in the first quarter. The game changed in the second quarter though.
Several of Mendon’s possessions ended in turnovers and the Vikings only scored two field goals in the second quarter as the Flying Horses took a 28-19 lead into halftime.
Page 2 of 2 - “We got the ball out of the point guard’s initially and we had different kids making the decisions,” Julien said. “We wanted to come out and throw the first punch, but after that (Troy) kind of got settled in.”