CORNING - Elmira Notre Dame denied Corning its first playoff appearance in four years with a 71-61 victory Monday in a non-league girls basketball contest.
Maddy Watts dropped 35 points including seven 3-pointers to lead the Crusaders including 22 points in the second half.
“She came out with a chip on her shoulder,” Elmira Notre Dame head coach Max Young said of Watts. “She has the capability of doing that. When Maddy plays like that with that level of composure, we’re tough.”
With the Crusaders leading 24-20 at halftime, Watts netted 10 points in the third quarter and Taylor Vandine added three 3-pointers to extend the Elmira Notre Dame lead to 16 points with a quarter to go.
Corning fought back in the final frame, cutting the deficit down to just six points after a 16-6 run powered by eight Ashlee Volpe points with 4:40 to play.
The run prompted a timeout from Young.
“I told them we can’t lose [Alyssa] Dobson, we can’t lose [Samantha] Lee,” said Young. “[Corning] has so many shooters that it’s tough. We usually play two bigs, so one of our bigs had to guard a guard. I was impressed with Kat Gough and Ana Milazzo, they stepped up off the bench for us.”
Following the timeout, buckets from Kahlia Rivera and Watts bumped the Crusader lead out of reach.
The Crusaders knew the Hawks needed a victory to get into sectional play and used that as bulletin board material.
“We let them know for extra motivation,” Young said.
Samantha Lee and Alyssa Dobson led the Hawks with 17 points and Jenna DiNardo added 11 points.
Corning finishes with seven wins on the season, while Elmira Notre Dame earned a six-seed in the Section IV Class C playoffs finishing with 10 wins on the season.