By Rick Carpiniello
TROY Alexander Hamilton’s girls basketball season ended with Tiffany Corselli exhausting every little bit that she had.
It ended with Kali Gill limping on a knee she injured in the first half, and with Jasmine Robinson on the bench, having fouled out, and with Maia Hood in sweatpants and in tears.
The Red Raiders lost their NYSPHSAA state Class C semifinal to Section 4’s Harpursville, 61-53 at Hudson Valley Community College on Saturday.
“She realized she kind of had to do it by herself and lead the team because we can’t put the ball in the hoop,” Hamilton coach Benji Carter said about Corselli. “That’s what I asked her to do. She had to make plays for our girls and she does a really good job with that. It’s hard. She gave me 120 (percent) like I asked for.”
Corselli had a game-high 34 points and, though she was one of the smaller players on the floor, had eight rebounds and eight steals and continued to fling shots at and into the basket as time was running down.
“She’s a gamer,” said Carter, who thought details — turnovers, not boxing out, free throws (Hamilton was 8 of 16 in a game decided by eight) — was what lost the game.
Corselli had an early three-point play, a behind-the-back drive for a layup and a 3-pointer early. But Harpursville junior 6-footer Miranda Drummond was bombing 3s for Harpursville.
Hamilton opened the second quarter on a 10-0 run, then watched Harpursville score the next nine in a row — all but one of the points in the quarter coming during those two runs — and the Red Raiders trailed at the half, 30-25.
From the middle of the second until late in the third, Hamilton had just one basket and two free throws, though it stayed within five by going to a man-to-man defense, Robinson shutting down Drummond, who finished with 24 points, with six 3s and nine (of 15) free throws.
Hamilton, which lost in the regional semifinal last year, has to wonder “what if?” after Hood, one of the best players in the section, went down with an ACL injury in February.
“Different ballgame,” Carter said. “Missing 25 points and 12 rebounds, plus she opened up the floor a little more. So it would have been hard for opponents to kind of key on Jasmine and Tiffany. Yeah, that was the difference in a game like this.”
“With Maia,” Corselli added, “there would have been a lot more rebounding. And just her down-low presence. She’s a beast in the paint. Losing her, it hurt a lot. But we gave it all we had.
“I’m happy with what we achieved this season. I wish we could have ended it with the states but I’m proud of my team. I’m really proud of them.”