Setting the Scene: Opening round chalk in the top half of the Section II Class C bracket set up a pair of intriguing quarterfinals, both hosted by top overall seed Duanesburg. In the opener, Corinth – 21-0 and in the midst of a generationally successful season – had its toughest test of the year against seasoned perennial contender Maple Hill. In the nightcap, top seed Duanesburg, already with a blowout W over Cambridge in hand from December, looked to do it again against the recent New York power. Some good quarterfinal basketball in other places throughout the section, but this was a pretty easy choice.
(1) Duanesburg 62, (8) Cambridge 29
75 Words or Less: Business handled. Not always the aesthetically pleasing splash fest we’re accustomed to seeing from Duanesburg, but gritty is pretty when it ends in a W. Their defensive activity forced plenty of turnovers & consistent discomfort for Cambridge, and they were held to single digits in the 1st half while Duanesburg ran to a big lead. 27 for Allison O’Hanlon to lead Duanesburg, who led by 20+ all 2nd half. Stasia Epler had 18 for Cambridge.
THE FULL STORY
It may not have been overly smooth on the offensive end for Duanesburg as they were swinging for the fences early, but their defense carried them in Wednesday’s nightcap, to say the least. A frenetic pace & helter-skelter style somewhat played into their hands as they looked to speed Cambridge up & prevent them from getting into a rhythm.
The one player that did show signs of getting into a rhythm offensively was Allison O’Hanlon (Duanesburg 2024), who started hot for the Eagles. She canned a three & finished in transition in the game’s first 75 seconds, forcing an early Cambridge timeout. Cambridge eventually got on the board at the 5:29 mark with a Schuylar Nolan (Cambridge 2023) bucket, but that would be their only field goal of the quarter. O’Hanlon hit a free throw, Madison Meyer (Duanesburg 2022, Skidmore commit) got on the board, and O’Hanlon drilled another three as Duanesburg stretched their lead to 11-3 through the opening frame.
New quarter, same energy on the defensive end for Duanesburg, as they looked to blitz ball screens and throw extra bodies in the direction of Stasia Epler (Cambridge 2022, SUNY New Paltz commit) and Nolan whenever possible. Epler got on the board with 4:55 left in the half, but that only split up a 13-2 Duanesburg stretch to start the 2nd. 9 of those came from O’Hanlon, with the last make pushing their lead to 24-5. Epler scored twice more late in the half, the latter drawing Meyer’s 3rd foul, but those six Epler points were all Cambridge could muster in the quarter. O’Hanlon buried her 4th three of the half and Cassidy Miakisz (Duanesburg 2022) got on the board to wrap up the first 16 with Duanesburg holding a 32-9 lead.
Epler continued a stronger stretch of play for Cambridge, but it meant little on the scoreboard against the Eagles’ firepower. O’Hanlon cashed out on two more attempts from beyond the arc to push their lead to 40-11 early in the 3rd. Epler scored 6 straight in the later stages of the quarter on a three and a 3/4 stint at the line before Hannah Mulhern (Duanesburg 2024) hit two free throws & added a bucket to give the Eagles a 46-20 lead through three. Duanesburg put the icing on the cake with 8 Miakisz points in a stretch of less than 3 minutes to start the 4th, and a Meyer and-one – that also tagged Epler with her 5th foul – pushed the margin into the thirties. They led by as much as 35 in the final minutes.
Allison O’Hanlon dropped 27 points, all of them in the first 20 minutes, to lead Duanesburg. She hit all six of the Eagles’ threes in the process. Cassidy Miakisz came off the bench & added 13 points (9 4th quarter) in the win. Stasia Epler was the primary source of Cambridge’s offensive production & success, and she finished with a team high 18.
(4) Corinth 46, (5) Maple Hill 37
75 Words or Less: The Tomahawks found a way – their generational season marches on after their stiffest test to date. The 4/5 game was 4/5 level competitive, as it stayed within single digits throughout. Emily Dingmon helped Corinth ride through a rocky start & eventually gain the edge, and when Maple Hill knocked late, Maddie DeLisle delivered with big makes & Dingmon finished the job. 23 for Dingmon, 14 for DeLisle, Corinth to the Class C semifinals.
THE FULL STORY
Part Maple Hill disciplined half-court ball pressure & part Corinth nerves, but it wasn’t pretty for the undefeated Tomahawks early. Bella Seeberger (Maple Hill 2023) and Alyssa Martin (Maple Hill 2023) turned steals into points in a 30 second stretch before Emily Dingmon (Corinth 2024) started to establish herself. A Dingmon three the hard way put them on the board at the 5:26 mark, then a three the long way on their next possession made the lead briefly switch hands. Maple Hill started to activate the post and got 5 points from Sophia Chevrier (Maple Hill 2022) to take the lead back, and after a pair of Corinth buckets on Dingmon assists, the Wildcats got a three from Sydney Rogers (Maple Hill 2025) to take a 12-10 lead into the huddle after one.
This wasn’t a game of runs by any stretch, but a 6-0 Corinth spurt in the 2nd gave them a lead they’d prove to hold onto for good. The last two makes came on Maddie DeLisle (Corinth 2022) buckets, again on Dingmon feeds, to gain an 18-13 edge with 5:04 left in the half. They went without a point for the last 3+ minutes of the half and Becka Hall (Maple Hill 2022) got going in the post with five straight Maple Hill points before intermission, but Corinth held onto a 21-20 lead going into the locker room.
Corinth had another 6-0 stretch in them, but it was a defense-fueled span as they kept Maple Hill off the scoreboard for an extended stretch to start the 2nd half. It was Dingmon times two and an Alexis Crossman bucket that stretched their lead to 27-20 before Seeberger banked a left wing three at the 3:42 mark of the 3rd for Maple Hill’s first 2nd half points. Corinth pushed the margin to eight, with another Dingmon and-one in the process, before Addy Loszynski (Maple Hill 2026) got downhill & finished on their last possession of the quarter to make it 31-25.
The Wildcats were equal parts stagnant and cold in the 3rd, but they momentarily shook out of the doldrums to start the final frame. Hall opened the 4th with a bucket, and after DeLisle rattled home a three for Corinth, the Wildcats got back-to-back threes from Rogers & Martin, the latter trimming the Maple Hill deficit to 34-33 with 5 minutes to go. They very nearly took the lead back, but a made three was wiped away due to the shooter stepping out of bounds on the catch. Corinth took advantage of the stroke of good fortune. DeLisle made a play off the dribble & hit a midrange jumper, then after a stop, she drilled a big three to push the Corinth lead back to 39-33 with 3:43 left, effectively flipping the momentum back into the Tomahawks’ favor. A Chevrier finish cut it to 4 with 2:55 left, but Dingmon quickly had the answer with a hard right drive, extension at the rim, and hoop plus the harm with 2:38 left. She hit the free throw to make it 42-35. Maple Hill would get no closer than 5 in the closing moments after a Seeberger make with 1:06 left; Dingmon closed it at the free throw line, going 4/4 in the final minute.
Emily Dingmon was a force from wire to wire for Corinth, finishing with a game high 23 points while stuffing the state sheet. Maddie DeLisle added 14 in the win, with 8 coming in the 4th quarter. Maple Hill was remarkably balanced, as all six of their scorers finished with 5-7 points. Bella Seeberger, Sophia Chevrier, and Becka Hall all had 7 for the Wildcats.
Next Up: The Class C semifinals are set in Section II, and the top 4 seeds have all moved on. The top half matchup between (4) Corinth and (1) Duanesburg will likely serve as the nightcap on Tuesday at Colonie, with games slated for 6:00 & 7:30. The bottom half semifinal will feature (2) Greenwich and (3) Berne-Knox-Westerlo.
- Last week, I watched Duanesburg have to claw back from a double digit deficit against a Berne-Knox-Westerlo team that tested their toughness & grit. Mission accomplished. Today, I watched them have to get it done on the defensive end on a day where it wasn’t necessarily clicking like that offensively. Mission accomplished. To be fair, even though it wasn’t a work of art on O, they still scored 62 (which is kinda scary in the Cs), but some of that production was fueled by a suffocating defensive effort. Their biggest challenges await, but they’re checking off the boxes of a championship level team.
- Some credit to things not necessarily going so smooth for Duanesburg on the offensive end goes to Cambridge. This is just a better Duanesburg team – I equated this matchup to a “passing of the torch” game between recent dominant power and “next up” squad whose goals are to reach those pinnacles. Cambridge kids played hard from start to finish, and a friendly reminder that Bob Phillips can coach. They were as prepared as they could be, well-planned, and threw various looks at Duanesburg to make an attempt to keep them out of a rhythm. I’ve watched enough lackadaisical, unprepared teams and teams that rolled over when things got hard in the last couple weeks. It was refreshing to watch a game with teams that got after it regardless of situation.
- Having a game-changing individual talent helps. Really, Duanesburg has three of them. Wednesday, it was Allison O’Hanlon’s turn to light it up. The offense may not have been clicking overall, but Allison makes the scoreboard move in threes and can hit relatively contested shots that deflate opponents. With a couple MAAC programs in the gym, including local Siena (the Saints have already offered her), she was on that sort of heater here. When you’re talking “big girl basketball”, sometimes that pretty good defense just doesn’t matter.
- I’m in the business of honesty, so I won’t sugarcoat it – Corinth advancing past Duanesburg next week would be an upset of otherworldly proportions. And I don’t care. Regardless of how that goes, I’d have to call the Tomahawks the feel-good story of the year in Section II. Tucked in the Adirondack League that no one really respects, and they’ve been a pretty anonymous member of it until very recently when it comes to girls’ basketball. I had a feeling something was coming on, but that was because I knew that Emily Dingmon was going to be a problem this year (more on this in a minute). I didn’t have a 20-0 regular season on my 2021-22 bingo card. Emily is a force, but Maddie DeLisle does her thing too, they have others that understand their roles & make positive impacts within them, and they play well as a team. I watched them in the contentious win at Hartford as well, and they’ve shown those traits in both games. The Corinth crowd came out in full force for this quarterfinal game, which was a solid hour’s drive. Shut the town down for Tuesday’s trip to Colonie. Even the Stewart’s! It’s a generational type team in Tomahawk land.
- Keep it with Corinth for some Dingmon discussion. I’ve brought up Corinth 2024 Emily Dingmon on social media starting last spring, and she was 1 of 9 players that was mentioned on my Section 2 Class C ‘Players to Watch’ list (and if you want to check the receipts, I’ll make it easy for you – A Look Ahead: The Section 2 Preview (Mid-Small Schools – Classes B-D) (empirestatetakeover.com)). She’s lived up to any of my sophomore year expectations and perhaps some more. She’s made her mark as a utility player that can do a bit of everything – score around the rim on post-ups, catch & finish, P&R, or offensive rebounds, face up from the mid-post or perimeter and attack off the bounce, hit the midrange or perimeter J if given time & space, take advantage of defensive eyes on her & flash exceptional court vision to create for teammates, make an impact on the glass at both ends, and the list goes on. On top of that, it seems like she’s brought out her best performances against their top opponents. I’m becoming more convinced that her game translates to higher levels of play, and I hate to make the high school girl to adult guy comparison, but as a Draymond stat-stuffer type. More locally, she isn’t quite the explosive athlete that this player was (though she is a high level athlete), but she’s starting to give me Jenalyse Alarcon vibes in the ways she impacts the game, versatility, and motor (ex-Troy standout that’s averaging 10 PPG/8.7 RPG & has started every game as a freshman at College of Staten Island). She’s a relative unknown among the good players in Section II, which doesn’t happen often in today’s age of social media exposure & mingling in the spring through fall months – to be fair, I don’t really let people slip through the cracks around here – that “relative unknown” status is… justtt about done.
- The narrow Duanesburg court reared its head on Maple Hill at the worst time. The middle quarters weren’t smooth for them, and they found themselves down 7 early in the 4th. Then shots started to fall. Sydney Rogers canned a three, then Alyssa Martin and it quickly was 34-33. Then with that 1 point game, they got a kick to the right corner & another open look, and it went in!… but no. On a court with the 50′ width, it would’ve been all good, but the narrow corner space at Duanesburg took a casualty as the heel was out on the catch. Corinth came back with a score/stop/score series and boom, Maple Hill momentum shift halted. The little things. A game of inches. All the stupid basketball adages apply here.
- From what I’ve been able to see & gather this year, this felt like the good & bad of Maple Hill’s season all in one. They’re solid defensively, strong & legally physical, and generally tough to score on… and they’ve had their own troubles producing on the offensive end too. For example, they lost to Catskill twice but held them to a combined 81 points (47 & 34); they just scored a combined 55 (36 & 19). They kept Corinth under 50. That’s a success. Unfortunately, they didn’t crack 40. Not going to win the neutral site level games with a number like that. Looking ahead, I think they’ll be a very different looking team next year, though they should be good. They graduate their frontcourt in Sophia Chevrier & Becka Hall, but multi-year backcourt contributors Bella Seeberger & Alyssa Martin will be back for their senior campaigns, and I liked what I saw from wings Sydney Rogers (2025) and Addy Loszynski (2026). Perhaps a more guard-oriented group that’ll look to air it out a bit more.
- Always sad to see the final minutes of someone’s high school career and the emotions that come with it. As I get older & more time is removed from my days as an athlete, I think it surprisingly hits me more than it used to. Felt that tonight in the closing moments of Cambridge/Duanesburg in the case of longtime Cambridge impact player Stasia Epler. My first experience with her was actually at one of my events as a youngster (I think end of 7th grade?), and the familiarity has certainly grown over time and especially in the HS years. The progression went as expected – from freshman that got open looks when defenses tried to overplay Sophie & Lilly Phillips to another backcourt force alongside Soph & Lil that needed to be accounted for, and now to coveted D3 prospect bound for SUNYAC power New Paltz that’s getting everyone’s primary defensive attention. State champion in 2019, and make no mistake, the only C that could stop them from getting up to 3 straight was COVID. Looking forward to seeing Stasia’s next four.
- I’ll most likely skip out on the C semis – didn’t watch the B quarters tonight, so I’ll catch their semis next Tuesday instead – but I’ll be around for Section II finals next Saturday. Do we get the Duanesburg/Greenwich final I’ve been thinking of since before the season? Can Berne play the spoiler role? Any chance Corinth pulls off the improbable? I mean, it’s high school girls’ basketball. Feel free to bet on it if you want to lose all your money. I might not be at Colonie next Tuesday, but you should.