Victor Post
  • Girls Basketball: Senior leadership sends Mendon to 'A' title

  • Key plays by veterans Lauren D'Hont and Erin Lyons give the Vikings their second sectional title in the last three years. D'Hont scores 18 points to earn MVP of the Class A tournament.

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  • With six seniors in their regular rotation, leadership late in games hasn’t been a problem for the Pittsford Mendon girls basketball team. Their strength was on full display in the team’s biggest game of the year.
    The senior class gave the Vikings the edge they needed in the quarter, including down the stretch, as Mendon defeated Honeoye Falls-Lima 55-51 in the Class A final on Thursday at Gates Chili.
    Viking senior guard Lauren D’Hont, who was named tournament MVP after scoring 18 points, hit two free throws to give Mendon a 53-51 lead with 11.1 seconds left. Mendon senior forward Erin Lyons hit two free throws with 3.5 seconds remaining to sew up the team’s second title in three years.
    Viking seniors Anna Valentine (11 points) and Kristen Powers (nine) were also integral to the win.
    “I think the best thing we did tonight was we hang together,” said Todd Julien, Mendon head coach. “We talked about that all year. We played with incredible poise got the ball to the right kids for the right shots down the stretch.”
    The Vikings, who are now 5-0 in games decided by five points or less, kept their composure despite losing the lead twice in the fourth quarter.
    D’Hont gave them the lead for good with a layup with 1:35 left in the fourth quarter. HF-L senior Riley Morien missed the front end of a one-and-one, but got the ball back and was fouled to earn another one-and-one. She made one of two to tie the game with 30.2 seconds remaining.
    After D’Hont’s two free throws, Lyons drew a charge with 4.5 seconds left. She was then fouled with 3.5 seconds remaining, made the first throw and despite back-to-back Cougar timeouts, hit the second.
    “We have a team with a lot of competitive people so when we get into an environment where it is a really close game it just brings out the best in all of us,” said Lyons, who finished with 14 points. “We played as a team and a lot of different people scored, and I think that is hard to shut down.”
    HF-L appeared ready to use the same strategy as Mendon using their seniors to earn their first sectional title since 2008.
    Talented senior Nicole Davis, who finished with a game-high 19 points, scored 12 in the first half as the Cougars took a 29-25 lead into the third quarter. Abby Tobin, who finished with 12 points, hit a three-pointer to give HF-L a 44-43 advantage to open the fourth quarter.
    “(Cougar head coach Steve Willoughby) is a great head coach and I have played against him for many years so we have a lot of respect for them,” D’Hont said. “He always gets different defenses to deny a bunch of players. We don’t know what to expect, so it is going to be a good game no matter what.”
    Page 2 of 2 - D’Hont and her classmates continued their recent trend of being a thorn in the Cougars side, knocking them out of the Class A tournament for the third straight season. All three games weren’t decided until the final minute.
    “I think the HF-L/Mendon rivalry in girls basketball is among the best rivalry of any sport in Section 5 because of its longevity,” Julien said. “Our games are always competitive. Both teams get up for it, and there is always a great atmosphere. It is among the best in the area.”

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