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Canton’s late three-pointer sinks defending champion Massena in semi’s

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POTSDAM - Massena’s Section 10 three-repeat hopes came to an end on Tuesday night at SUNY Potsdam’s Maxcy Hall. Class C Champion Canton (18-2) unseated the Lady Raiders (12-8), 41-39 in the second overall semi-final keyed by a three pointer by Kali Frank from the left flank with 11.8 seconds left in the game.

“We were down much of the game,” said Frank. “Coach Meyers set up the play for Emma (Rexford) and she was covered and found me. I just threw up the shot. I didn’t play very well tonight but I’m just so happy that it went in. We’ve worked very hard for this.”

The shot then turned into a scramble for defense and the Bears denied an inside shot on Massena’s last possession.

The Bears will face Class B Champion and 2012 Section 10 Finalist Salmon River (16-5) which defeated Class D champion Hammond.

Canton is looking for its first overall Section 10 title since Don Carrier coached the Bears to a 1977 title. Salmon River won the Overall Championship in 1982 when assistant coach Jocelyn (Furnia) Kelly played under the direction of Dick McLean.

Canton, Massena, Salmon River and Hammond will enter the New York State Class C and Class A tournaments next week.

The Raiders receive a bye into the NYS Class A Quarter-Finals and will face Section 2 or Section 3 winner at SUNY Potsdam on Saturday, March 9. Canton will face Section 2 champion Berne Knox or Hoosic Valley in the first round at Section II’s Adirondack Community College on Tuesday.

The Bears started out very well taking a 14-6 lead keyed by an Emma Rexford three but Massena’s Alisha Jacobs fired in a three with to cut the deficit to 14-9 after one quarter.

Massena would eventually take a 20-18 lead at halftime with a 11-4 run keyed by six from Marissa Manley.

Canton had a 5-0 run to take 23-22 lead with 5:26 left in the third matched by a 5-0 Massena run keyed by a Dominque Valancius three and a steal and layup for 27-23 lead. Massena finished the quarter with a 35-29 lead.

With 4:53 left in the fourth, Rexford buried a three to tie the game at 36-36 and Tory Daley hit a big shot for a 38-37 lead for the Bears. “We got some early success getting second opportunities in the first quarter. But Massena adjusted and did a lot of nice things with their screens and were patient. Alisha Jacobs is just a solid player and we knew it was going to be a battle. But we kept our composure and had some shots fall in the fourth,” said Canton Coach Mike Meyers.

“We were hoping to get Emma (Rexford) to take the shot but Massena played excellent defense and Kali (Frank) came through for us. I was just happy she had confidence in taking the shot.”

Rexford finished with 15 points, four steals, four rebounds and three assists for Canton and was honored before the game as Jan Reetz finalist. Daley had eight points, four rebounds, two steals and two assists while Frank finished with with five points, four rebounds, two assists and a steal. Emily Pinckney (four points, three boards, two steals), Rachel Sanderson (four points), Katie Christy (six assists, six rebounds, six steals, two three points). Kaeli Mace (two points, six boards) also contributed.

Jacobs finished with 16 points, eight boards, two assists and one steal for Massena. Manley added 13 points, six rebounds, and three blocked shots. Erin Francis (four points, three boards, two assists), Sidney Thompson (two points, two blocks, two rebounds), Valancius (four points, two assists), Sam Villnave (two points, four rebounds) also contributed.

“We battled back from a bad first quarter and played very solid in the second and third quarters,” said Massena coach Roy Thomas.

“We knew Canton wouldn’t quit and Emma (Rexford) showed why she was the MVP of the Central leading the comeback. It’s just tough because we wanted to defend the title.”

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