TROY, N.Y. - Meagan Doherty has played most of the season in pain. And after coming back from a partially torn left MCL on Jan. 5, the sophomore saved one of her best performances for the biggest game of the season.
Doherty scored 18 points and her senior sister, Kristen, had 22 to lead Sachem East to a 50-44 win over Clifton Park Shenendehowa last night in the state Class AA girls basketball championship game at Hudson Valley CC.
"I battled the injury and was always in pain," Meagan Doherty said. "I just fought through it, and look where it got us."
The Flaming Arrows have a bye into the state Federation Class AA final and will play the Christ the King-Bergtraum winner a week from Sunday.
"To come up here and not finish it off didn't feel right to me," said Kristen Doherty, who scored on a runner in the lane with 1:25 left to give the Arrows a 46-42 lead. "I knew in my head we had the best team."
Said Sachem East coach Matt Brisson, "All those Dohertys have a gene. When it's crunch time, they make big plays."
The Flaming Arrows shot 4-for-8 from the free-throw line to extend their lead to 50-42.
Sachem East (22-3) won despite falling behind by 10 points in the second quarter and shooting 8-for-24 from the foul line.
After Sachem East took a 12-3 lead, Shenendehowa went on a 25-6 run for a 28-18 halftime lead.
"We've been down before," Kristen Doherty said. "We're very good at staying relaxed and composed. That's really a key factor for us."
"We were playing a little nervous in the first half," Meagan Doherty said. "We put it behind us and knew we had 16 minutes to win a state championship."
"It was a larger deficit than we're used to,'' Kelsey Ferguson said. "We all pulled together and realized there's a whole other half to be played. We had a nice lead in the beginning and they came back, so there was no reason why we couldn't do the same.''
She was right. Sachem East began the second half with a 13-2 run to go ahead 31-30.
Kristen Doherty hit a three-pointer with 6:13 left to give the Flaming Arrows a 38-36 lead. Meagan Doherty also made a three-pointer, but Emily Weber's three-pointer brought the Plainsmen (22-3) within 41-39.
Kristen Doherty made two free throws, but Weber sank another three-pointer. Caitlin Hopkins' free throw gave Sachem East a 44-42 lead with 3:31 left.
Sachem East shot 7-for-29 in the first half. The Flaming Arrows went 1-for-7 from the free-throw line in the second quarter and were outscored 14-4.
"They closed out on Kristen well," Brisson said. "They were basically giving up the middle and we didn't take advantage of it. We didn't shoot the ball well. There was a lot of frustration. They shot the ball very well. At halftime we said stay the course. The defensive end is where we dug in and took away easy looks from them."
After Sachem East got no points from anyone aside from the Doherty sisters in the first half, each starter scored in the first 3:54 of the second.
Sachem East opened the second half with a 6-0 run. Meagan Doherty hit a jumper, Ferguson scored on a drive and Caitlin Hopkins hit a layup to bring the Arrows within 28-24. After Weber scored, Meagan Doherty hit a three-pointer and Kristen Doherty fed Stephanie Burrow for a layup. Sachem East took the lead at 31-30 on Kristen Doherty's jumper with 3:22 left.