So good and so Saintly: Seton girls blast Bronx team, win state tournament
By Ryan Hayner, Contributing writer
GLENS FALLS — History was made and records fell Sunday in the Federation Tournament of Champions Class B girls basketball title game.
Seton Catholic Central High School sank a single-game tournament record 16 3-pointers and capped a banner season with its first Federation crown in dominating fashion, 83-43, over Bronx Aquinas at Glens Falls Civic Center.
As the buzzer sounded, starters Lexi Levy, Hanna Strawn, Ava McCann, Julia Hauer, and Marina Maerkl — who had been watching from the bench for much of the fourth quarter — sprang to their feet and embraced as the rest of the team closed in for the on-court celebration.
“This is all that we’ve worked for. We all deserve it,” Strawn said. “We worked so hard, and a lot of people don’t see behind the scenes, even out of the season. We’re a family, and we’ve been looking forward to this, and now it’s finally here.”
“They’ve been talking about it since this group has been together,” Seton Catholic Head Coach Colleen Jayne said. “That has been their ultimate goal before Lexi graduated.”
Levy, the lone senior starter, capped a remarkable varsity career by scoring 17 points and earning the Class B Tournament MVP honor.
But it was McCann who stole the show Sunday. The junior sharpshooter hit a single-game tournament record eight triples on her way to a game-high 24 points. That gave her 13 3-pointers for the tournament, also a record.
“It was the result of a lot of hard work, going in the gym on days off, snow days, on holidays, whenever I can get in,” McCann said.
The Saints (28-1), as they have done much this post-season, raced out to a commanding early lead and never let up. Seton Catholic, on the strength of nine first-half triples, took a 48-20 lead into halftime.
Seton shot 50 percent from the field in the first half and 45 percent for the game.
“We were talking in the locker room and we were like, ‘Finish and focus. Finish and focus,’” Maerkl said. “We came out with the energy that we wanted to, hit the shots that we wanted to.”
Strawn added 10 points, eight assists, and six rebounds for the Saints, who finished the season on a 26-game winning streak. Hauer added 11 points, 11 rebounds, four steals, and four assists, and Maerkl chipped in with eight points, nine rebounds, and two assists.
McCann, Strawn, and Hauer joined Aquinas sophomore Kira Villegas on the Class B All-Tournament Team.
Villegas and Ronella Kennedy led the Bears (24-6), the Catholic High School Athletic Association champions, with 14 points each. Kennedy also grabbed a game-high 15 rebounds. Genesis Velez, who earned the Sportsmanship Award, added 10 points.
Seton Catholic outscored its Federation opponents 167-81, winning by margins of 46 and 40.
Levy chalked up the success the Saints achieved to their efforts off the court.
“It’s the hard work we’re putting in in the gym, waking up at 6 a.m., getting shots up,” Levy said. “Nobody sees that part, and they’re always like, ‘Why are you guys so good? How do you guys do this?’
“It’s because of the outside stuff. So, I want to thank our coaches for all of that, they really push us to be our best.”
The Saints will return four starters — Maerkl, Strawn, Hauer, and McCann. Levy, heading off to play at George Washington University, is predicting a lot more success for Seton Catholic.
“I think they’re going to bring it home again next year,” Levy said. “They’re amazing.”
State Federation Class B Final
Seton Catholic 83 (27-1)
Bronx Aquinas 43 (24-6)
Aquinas………….….7..13..10..13 – 43
Seton Catholic…21..27..18..17 – 83
Team stats: Shooting: Seton 29-65 FG, 5-5 FT; Aquinas 15-59 FG, 10-23 FT. Total fouls: Seton 20, Aquinas 7. Rebounds: Seton 45, Aquinas 36.
Seton stats: Strawn, 8 assists, 6 rebounds; Levy, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal; McCann, 6 rebounds, 1 assist; Maerkl, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal; Hauer, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals; Tableman, 4 rebounds.