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  • Liam Hoffmann

Hilton on to NYS Final Four

By: Liam Hoffmann

CANANDAIGUA, NY-- In the NYS girls basketball AA Far West Regional game, the Hilton Cadets continued their winning ways beating Section VI's Starpoint Spartans 59-43. After the team won their first Sectional Title, they'll now play in their first state tournament. Cadet Mallory Heise poured in the team's first 12 points and never looked back.

"Mallory is built to last," Hilton head coach Dave Heise said. "Hopefully she can last two more games for us."

Mallory Heise tries a layup. Photo Credit: Liam Hoffmann, 89.1 the Point

Heise led all scorers on the evening with 27 points. Leah Thompson added nine and Maddie Murphy eight.

To begin, Starpoint played a full-court press defense. Generally poor passing coupled with the intense defense played by both teams created a plethora of early turnovers. With this, fast break opportunities arose. Hilton cashed in on more of them. When Starpoint called timeout with four minutes gone in quarter one, the game had already seen nine total turnovers.

"We just play our game, keep the energy up and keep the ball moving," Mallory Heise said. "We're at our best when everyone touches the ball."

The timeout didn't make things much better for the Spartans, though. Effective ball movement on the two Hilton possessions that followed the break created two easy baskets for Mallory Heise. With the score at 12-5 in Hilton's favor, the first Cadet not named Mallory Heise scored when Heise found Thompson for a layup.

Heise assisted or scored on 19 of the team's 21 first-quarter points. Elena Graziano's pair of free throws were the only other Hilton baskets en route to a 21-8 lead entering quarter two.

Graziano at the line. Photo Credit: Liam Hoffmann, 89.1 the Point

Time after time, quick and frequent ball movement by the Cadets' offensive created open looks both inside and on the perimeter. Thompson scored a team-high seven in the second and Ella Simonelli added four. Late in the half, Thompson sent the Spartans to a timeout with a left-wing three off an assist by Mallory Heise. At the midway point, Hilton held a comfortable 39-18 advantage.

The second half started slow for the Cadets. Poor ball control lead to shorter possessions and offensive chances for Starpoint across the floor. Ali Milleville's triad of 3-pointers and one by Megan Milleville contributed to Starpoint winning the quarter 13-9. Late in the period, Ella Clark made a 2-pointer and two free throws down the stretch of the third to widen the gap Starpoint had begun to close. The Spartans trailed 48-31 with eight minutes to play.

"We definitely can spurt and score in bunches," Dave Heise said. "That's been huge for us for the past couple of years."

Heise scored an off-dribble mid-range jumper that began the scoring in the fourth. In the following minutes, she drained two treys that put the game out of reach. Madison Murphy added a three of her own for three straight 3-pointers made for the Cadets.

Murphy goes up for a layup. Photo Credit: Liam Hoffmann, 89.1 the Point

"It's really the confidence that I get from the work I put in," Mallory Heise said. "I just have the support from everyone around me. From my teammates around me, the fans in the crowd."

Ali Milleville exited the game in the fourth quarter with an injury. She did not return.

Hilton left the building Far West Regional champions after the 59-43 victory. Next Friday, at 7p.m. at Hudson Valley Community College, the Cadets will take on the winner of Section III Central Square vs. Section 2 Averill Park. Mallory Heise was asked about the next matchup postgame.

"We just need to continue moving the ball well and not taking shots super early in the shot clock and playing good defense," Mallory Heise said.

Mallory Heise driving left. Photo Credit: Liam Hoffmann, 89.1 the Point


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