March 12, 2014 —
WHITE PLAINS, NY—Sports renders its share of life lessons, and one of the most salient ones is that triumphant runs often come to an end. We are also reminded that in the echelons of talent in any realm of human endeavor, there are always individuals or groups that are apt to be even more skilled and successful than those already deemed exceptional within their own particular context.
And so ended the season for the Section IX Class C Champion Tri-Valley Lady Bears on March 4, in a 53-27 loss to Section One juggernaut Haldane in the NYSPHSAA Regional Semifinals. It was also the Lady Blue Devils that handed the 2011 Tri-Valley Bears their exit visa with a 64-40 triumph. Indeed, Haldane has been a formidable foe for teams across the state since 1989. Capturing 21 of the last 25 Section One championships, initially in Class D and since 2004 in Class C, Haldane has garnered five state championships along the way. And as this narrative is being written the AAU-bred team, which works assiduously 12 months a year, has already punched its ticket to the final four in Troy seeking a sixth state crown. Tri-Valley entered this fray at 18-0 and its sterling season cannot be the least bit tarnished by this regional defeat. The details of the game can be read in the story, “Into the Sunset,” on www.sportsinsightsny.com . Suffice it to say that the mortal exit wounds were rendered by a sudden drought of scoring as Tri-Valley was pressured intensely by Haldane’s shifting array of defenses, all designed to fuel a rapid transition game by the Lady Blue Devils. The strategy in essence was the same thing that the Lady Bears had deployed against their opponents all year long. For seniors Katlynn Greffrath, Sabrena Smith, Colleen Jones and Ashley Exner, this game was the swan song of a season for the ages. Greffrath and Smith exited the stage having played for two Section IX championship teams. Greffath’s final career tally was 1,029 points. Tears were in no short supply as the Tri-Valley starters fouled out one by one. Having borne witness to numerous season-ending losses for seniors over the years, it is nonetheless heartrending to see young athletes reckon with the sudden finality of their high school careers. Fortunately, the happy memories of all that led up to that final game eventually supplant the pain of defeat. Junior Caroline Martin led the team with 10 points, six of which came in the first quarter. Tri-Valley’s stalwart defense held Haldane to just nine points over the second and third quarter before the Lady Blue Devils went on an 18-0 run to start the fourth quarter en route to securing the win. They went on to defeat Friends Academy in the regional final. Tri-Valley Coach Jason Closs was extremely proud of his team and expressed his immense pleasure of having had the privilege to coach them. Closs felt the Haldane game provided an important lesson in what it takes to reach the next level. To that end the Lady Bears will embark on an offseason program designed to make them even better prepared despite the loss of the talented players who will now exit the stage. Spring sports began officially with March 10 as the first day of practice for baseball, softball, track and field and golf. For albums of photos, visit www.sportsinsights.smugmug.com