Port Jefferson ends South Seneca’s quest for consecutive state titles

The Port Jefferson Royals, out of Section XI, pulled away from the South Seneca Lady Falcons in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s NYSPHSAA Class C semifinal game at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy, NY. The final score was 71-53. The loss ends the defending state champion Lady Falcons’ quest for consecutive state titles.

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Port Jefferson’s 2,000 point club member Courtney Lewis was too much for South Seneca as she found her way to the rim, and the free throw line often, finishing with a game high 31 points. She sank 17-22 attempts from the charity stripe while shooting 7-12 from the field. Fellow seniors Jillian Colucci scored 14 and Jackie Brown scored 12 including 4 big second half three pointers from Brown.

The Lady Falcons led for much of the first half, by as many as five points in both the first and second quarters. With the game tied at half, Bailey Mingus opened the second half scoring with a three-pointer before the Royals stormed back to take a 7 point lead. South Seneca would rally and a steal and lay-up from sophomore Jenna McDonald would tie the game with 10 seconds left in the third. Before the period would expire, however, Katie Brown buried her third three-pointer of the quarter to give the Royals a lead they would only build on in the fourth quarter.

In the fourth quarter, Port Jefferson would outscore South Seneca 24-9 with 15 of their points coming at the free throw line.

For South Seneca, the task became tougher when senior center Emily Lavarnway fouled out of the game with 3:59 to go in the fourth period. She ended with 10 points and 6 rebounds on the afternoon in her final game wearing the yellow and black. Fellow seniors Kelsey Shaulis, Mackenzie Kenyon and Bailey Mingus finished with 6, 6 and 11 points respectively. Junior Skylar Shaulis scored 12 and sophomore Jenna McDonald had 10.

This loss ends an incredible two-year run for this group of seniors and head coach Heather Mott that saw the Falcons win 48 games while losing just 5. The run also includes two Finger Lakes West league titles, two Section V Class C2 Championships, two outright Class C titles in Section V, a pair of trips to the NYSPHSAA Final Four and the school’s second state championship.

Port Jefferson will advance to face Watkins Glen in the championship game on Sunday morning at 11:45 after the Senecas defeated Mekeel Christian Academy 60-49 in the other half of the Class C semifinal.

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