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Dream season ends as Harborfields loses in state Class A semifinal

Harborfields' Christiana de Borja is defended by Jamesville-Dewitt's

Harborfields' Christiana de Borja is defended by Jamesville-Dewitt's Bess Murand and Angeela Bussone in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association girls Class A semifinal basketball game on Friday, March 14, 2014, in Troy, N.Y. Credit: Hans Pennink

TROY, N.Y. - A few hours before tipoff, Kristen Kelly was in need of a pregame nap. Only problem was that checkout at her hotel was at noon and she didn't have a bed.

So, she grabbed the pillow and blanket she brought for the bus ride upstate, curled up on a couch in the lobby of the hotel, and dozed off.

"I figured I might as well get a little power nap in," she said.

She dreamed of her team completing an unbeaten season and hoisting a state championship plaque into the air. But Harborfields fell short of fulfilling that dream after suffering a 44-30 loss to Jamesville-DeWitt in the state Class A semifinal Friday at Hudson Valley CC.

"Shots weren't falling and it wasn't our day," Harborfields coach Russ Tietjen said. "I told them they should enjoy what happened. Look back at the entire picture, not just this game. They should be very proud of everything they've done."

That included winning a second straight county title, carrying a perfect record into mid-March, and advancing to the state Final Four for the second consecutive season.

But Kelly said once they got there, everything that could have possibly gone wrong, went wrong.

Harborfields (22-1), which entered Friday's game having scored less than 50 points in only two games this season, was held to a season-low 30. Limited by a combination of tight man-to-man defense and foul trouble, the Tornadoes shot just 20 percent from the field.

Kelly collected her second foul with 1:48 remaining in the first quarter and was forced to sit for the rest of the half. Without her inside presence, the Tornadoes' post game was contained and they scored just two points in the second quarter.

Meg Hair had 12 points, including a putback at the buzzer to cap an 11-0 run and send Jamesville-DeWitt into the half with a 21-13 lead.

"They were doubling down low so it was hard to get everyone involved," senior guard Toni Deren said. "We're a second half team but today we just couldn't get the lead back."

Harborfields did pull within four after Donasja Scott converted a putback and Kelly hit two free throws to trim the lead to 34-30 with 2:10 to go. But Alyssa Robens broke the Tornadoes' press for a layup and the Red Rams drained some late free throws to seal the win. Maddy Frank had 11 points and 15 rebounds for Jamesville-DeWitt (22-2), which plays Sutherland for the state championship.

Kelly -- the Tornadoes' senior captain, who is bound for NYIT -- finished with 10 points. Scott and Allie Tunick each added seven points.

Kelly didn't hoist the championship plaque as she envisioned while snoozing in the hotel lobby, but she said it was still a dream season.

"This season has been full of surprises and full of joy," she said. "Even though we didn't win today, it was everything I could have possibly asked for. These girls are my family and they have given me the best high school experience."

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