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SportsHigh SchoolGirls Basketball

Allison McKenna leads Glenn in state final four

John Glenn's #14 Allison McKenna takes a foul

John Glenn's #14 Allison McKenna takes a foul shot during second half action. (March 9, 2012) Photo Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin

Glenn heads to the state final four for the third time in program history, where it faces Section V champion Rochester East in the girls basketball state Class A semifinals at 1:30 p.m. Friday at Hudson Valley CC in Troy.

Glenn (21-1) is led by 6-2 center Allison McKenna, who is fresh off a triple-double (30 points, 23 rebounds, 10 blocks) in the Long Island championship against North Shore.

McKenna is shooting 52 percent from the field this season, averaging 20.6 points, 11.5 rebounds and 4.8 blocks. She has upped her performance in the playoffs to 23.5 points and 15.3 rebounds.

McKenna's size and presence in the paint has been instrumental to Glenn's success all year and it won't change against Rochester East (19-3), which allowed a 6-3 Grand Island player to score 28 in the state quarterfinals.

Shooting guard Emma Klis (9.1 points) will also be a big factor for the Knights. The junior sharpshooter, one of the most prolific long-range scorers on Long Island the last two years, shot 37 percent from three-point range while making 36 three-pointers.

Point guard MacKenzie Sivilli will be in charge of distributing the ball inside to McKenna and around the perimeter to Klis. The sophomore handled North Shore's press very well in the Long Island championship.

Sivilli will match up with Rochester East's Aaliyah Dunbar, who had 13 points against Grand Island.

It is Rochester East's first trip to the state final four and the first time a Rochester City School has made it to Troy. Glenn will have to focus its attention on junior forward Rose Ayala, a transfer from Chesapeake, Va., who scored 26 points and had 17 rebounds in Rochester East's Section V championship win against Pittsford Mendon.

Glenn plays inside-out offensively, running primarily through McKenna and using her to open up shots for Kliss. How easily Klis and Sivilli, who each average more than three assists, are able to find McKenna will dictate Glenn's success.

The Knights are averaging 52.9 points per game while allowing only 31.9 playing a man-to-man defense. Should Glenn win Friday, it will face the winner of Averill Park-Pearl River in the finals at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Averill Park returns all of its players from last year's state runner-up squad, which defeated Garden City on a last-second shot in the state semifinals. It is the third straight final four appearance for Averill Park (17-5), which is less than 10 miles from Hudson Valley CC and will bring an enormous crowd, making any of its games on what is supposed to be a neutral floor a de facto home game.

Fairfield-bound Christa Scognamiglio (17.6 points) is the top threat for Pearl River, which is making its first appearance in the state final four. Pearl River (22-2) is renowned for its defense, which has caused an average of 24 turnovers in its last three games, utilizing a full-court press as well as heavy pressure in the half-court.

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