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Hilton advances to Class AA finals

By: Zach Harnischfeger

PITTSFORD, NY-- The Hilton Cadets girls basketball team came into the game on a four game winning streak and were looking to avenge their quarter-final loss to Bishop Kearney last season. After a slow start in the first quarter, the Cadets did just that and hung on to defeat Bishop Kearney 59-48.

"Bishop Kearney is a really good team," Hilton senior guard Ella Clark said. "They have been the last couple years. We were ready to come out this year. We knew it was going to be our year. We were like 'it's time for us to win and go all the way.'"

Head coach Dave Heise addressing his team during a timeout. Photo Credit: Zachary Harnischfeger, 89.1 the Point

Both teams got off to slow starts with multiple turnovers and missed shots. Bishop Kearney also had some foul trouble, which the Cadets took advantage of and they got out to a 14-12 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Hilton junior guard Elena Graziano drained a 3-pointer and the Cadets went on a 5-0 run to begin the second quarter. The Cadet defense was strong holding Bishop Kearney to 10 points and the offense got things going, scoring 18 points in the second quarter and they entered halftime with a 32-22 lead. Junior guard Mallory Heise scored five points in the quarter, including a 3-pointer. She finished with 12 points on the night.

Heise calling out a play. Photo Credit: Zachary Harnischfeger, 89.1 the point

In the third quarter, Clark made three 3-pointers and scored 11 out of the team's 17 points in the quarter, to extend the lead to 49-37. Clark finished the night with 14 points.

"Ella, we love, and open-floor primarily is where we want her to get loose and work," coach Dave Heise said. "She stepped out in the third quarter. I think she knocked down three 3's. That was a little out of character, but her stroke looked really comfortable so we weren't going to call her off that."

Clark (#32) taking a shot over two Bishop Kearney defenders. Photo Credit: Zachary Harnischfeger, 89.1 the point

In the fourth quarter, the Cadets overcame turnovers and sloppy play and were able to stop a late Bishop Kearney rally to hang on and win 59-48. Hilton Junior forward Leah Thompson finished with a team high 18 points. Thompson and Clark combined for 32 of the team's 59 points in the game.

"I'm really proud of them," Mallory Heise said. "A lot of the times I get some pressure on me and them being ready to get the kickouts and get the drives and being ready on the cuts is amazing because it takes the pressure off me and makes everyone a threat to score."

For Bishop Kearney, Le'Asia Wilson scored a game and team-high 21 points. Klarissa Goode finished the game with nine points.

Coach Heise is excited for the sectional finals and knows that the team is prepared to take on anybody.

"You're at a point now where everybody knows each other," coach Heise said. "You know your tendencies, you know stuff that is going to be run. It's about execution and staying committed to your game plan. We're battle-tested and will excitedly take on any opponent. We're going to keep this sectional title in Monroe County no matter what."

With the win, the Cadets will take on the Victor Blue Devils in the Section V Class AA finals this Saturday at 5 p.m. at Finger Lakes Community College.

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