More importantly, it was the number of consecutive state finals reached for Rush-Henrietta after the Royal Comets slipped by Kingston 58-51 in the Class AA state semi at Hudson Valley CC Friday night. The Comets trailed by four at the half, but Johnson took over the game in the fourth quarter. Her three gave R-H a one point lead with five minutes left they never relinquished. Johnson finished with 29 points, 12 boards, eight steals, five assists and three blocks.
Joining Rush-Henrietta in the girls state finals are the Honeoye Falls-Lima Cougars at Class A. HF-L won a tight constest with Cornwall 42-39 also at Hudson Valley. Ashley Valenti tied the score at 39 on a short jumper with under a minute to go. The Cougars took the lead and sealed the win with free throws. The last of which came when Cornwall called a timeout they didn't have and was hit with a technical foul.
Nazareth was not as fortunate. The Lasers ran into a juggernaut from Hoosic Valley, losing 53-43 in the Class B semifinal. Hoosic Valley has not lost this year and would finish 27-0 with a win in tomorrow's state finals.
On the boys side, Section Five's only representative is moving on. Jaanai Beckford posted a triple double with 24 points, 19 rebounds and 11 blocks leading Northstar to a 45-29 win over Sacketts Harbor in the Class D state semi at Glens Falls Arena. Northstar will play for a state title at 5:30pm Saturday in Glens Falls. HF-L is scheduled to tip at 7pm with R-H going immediately afterward--likely around 9pm--at Hudson Valley.
By the way, the first three Section Five winners of the Mr. or Miss Basketball award were Tyler Relph and John Wallace among the boys. Waterloo's Sandy Mitchell is only other Section Five female, other than Shenise Johnson, to be named Miss New York State Basketball.