NEWBURGH — Rewind to Hamilton’s nine-point loss to Ossining on Jan. 16, an affair in which the Class C school ran with Section 1’s best team behind the power of seniors Maia Hood, Tiffany Corselli and Jasmine Robinson.
Early February brought news of a season-ending ACL tear for Hood and raised the question of whether or not the Red Raiders could succeed without one-third of their star power.
For a time, the answer was clearly yes and it was demonstrated in Section 1 tournament wins against Keio and Haldane.
On this night, in a 27-14 regional semifinal win against Section 9 champion Tuxedo (16-6), it took a dazzling ball handling display from Corselli (3, shown right) and the do-it-all hustle of Robinson to lift Hamilton (19-4) out from underneath a woeful 12-for-62 shooting performance.
“We have to come out better on Saturday, we have to win that,” Corselli said. “It happens sometimes. We have low scoring games, I didn’t think it was going to be this low, but we won so I guess that’s all that matters.”
Hamilton advanced to the regional final and will face the winner of Section 8’s Friends Academy and Section 11’s Stony Brook 1 p.m. Saturday at Adelphi in a regional final.
Hamilton trailed 6-2 at the end of the first quarter and its second basket didn’t come until a Corselli jumper with 4:45 left in the second period.
“The rims were tight and it was an adjustment in the beginning and our shots weren’t falling,” Robinson said. “We knew we had to keep shooting.”
Forward Kali Gill followed with two baskets of her own to give Hamilton an 8-7 halftime lead but the Raiders finished the first half connecting on four of 35 shot attempts, including six missed 3-pointers.
Coach Benjamin Carter’s squad gained separation in the third quarter when it launched an 11-0 run on the power of seven points from Corselli.
“We weren’t really getting our shots, (Tuxedo was) going to a box and one and double-teaming Jasmine,” Carter said. “It was a matter of calming down, locking down on their shot and realizing that the rims are hard. Stop taking jump shots and get to the hoop.”
Corselli led Hamilton with nine points and Gill added eight points, four steals and 11 rebounds. Robinson finished with six points, five steals and four assists.
“I told Kali she was going to have to be big today, a lot of teams sleep on her,” Carter said. “Today, she was left open based on how (Tuxedo) played its defense.”
Mike Zacchio will be covering Saturday’s match up, more info to follow…