SYRACUSE Youthful Indian River played with the poise and desperation of a veteran team down the stretch of Saturdays Section 3 Class A girls basketball semifinals but ended up on the losing end.
Sophomore Kammikia Barnes came up short on a deep 3-point field goal as time expired, and second-seeded Indian River lost to No. 6 Whitesboro, 46-45, in a back-and-forth battle at Onondaga Community Colleges Allyn Hall Gymnasium.
We were very mentally tough, but, it happens, said Ashlynn Borce, Indian Rivers only senior. I think we worked hard and they deserved to win like we deserved to win. It was just a dogfight out there.
Whitesboro junior Maria Lapertosa, who finished with a game-high 23 points, drove the lane and scored with 13 seconds left to give her team a 46-44 lead.
At the start of the possession, Lapertosa attempted a 3-point field goal that was blocked by Barnes. Lapertosa then scooped up the loose ball and got to the rim for the eventual game-winning bucket.
It got deflected right back to me and she was a little bit in front of me, so I just went to the rack hard, Lapertosa said. Im on an adrenaline rush right now.
Whitesboro (11-9) will play in Thursdays championship game at the Carrier Dome against top-seeded Jamesville-DeWitt.
Their goal was to go to the Dome and it was a tough locker room to walk into (after the game), said Indian River coach Jim Whitley, who guided the program to its only overall Class A title in 2008.
Theres certainly nothing they have to be ashamed of. A couple things didnt go our way and sometimes that happens. It happens in life and it happens in basketball, he added.
Barnes, who finished with 12 points, drove and scored to tie the game at 44 points apiece with just more than a minute left for Indian River.
Talesia Jackson scored 11 of her team-high 13 points in the first half to keep Indian River close despite a cold shooting start.
In the first half, Indian River shot just 29 percent from the field and went 0-for-7 from behind the 3-point line, but trailed by only one point at the break.
She killed us in the first half, first-year Whitesboro coach Todd Scott said of Jackson. Shes just a strong, athletic kid. Im already having nightmares about seeing her again. Its not often our kids get moved around and she really moved us around.
Borce and junior Sarah Mattingly each overcame their early shooting struggles to drain a big 3-point field goal their only respective baskets of the game to keep Indian River alive in the fourth quarter.
Mattinglys shot came with five minutes left to stop a Whitesboro run and cut its lead to 39-37.
Borce came through with just over two minutes left to cut the Whitesboro lead to 43-42.
Entering the fourth, Indian River was just 1-for-13 from behind the 3-point line.
My dad always told me there was going to be that one three that counts and that one three thats going to make a big difference, Borce said.
Mattingly added: No matter what, you just have to keep your head high. Keep shooting to make it and not shooting not to miss.
Indian River ended its season at 16-4 and will bring its entire roster back for next year, with the exception of Borce, a starting guard and co-captain.
We really wanted to get to the Dome for (Borce), and just came up a couple points short, Whitley said.
I told them in the locker room to remember how this feels, he added. And they need to make sure that they will all be ready and willing to work hard in the offseason to get better and make sure we get to that next step, because I think were talented enough to do that.