Fanning Lifts Pioneers Into Finals
Karley Fanning (Rochester/Bishop Kearney) scored with five seconds remaining to lift the Alfred State women's basketball team to a 41-40 victory over #3 Niagara CCC in the Region III Division II Tournament semifinals.
The Lady Pioneers led throughout the game until the final minute when the Lady Thunderwolves capped a rally and took a 40-39 lead with 21 seconds after a Jessica Curry foul shot. Alfred was unsuccessful in their first attempt to take back the lead but was able to capitals with Fanning's game winning shot after a turnover by NCCC.
Alfred led by as many as 11 in the contest including 34-23 with just over 12 minutes left in the game before Niagara made their comeback.
The blue & gold were keyed by their bench production. The Pioneers bench outscored Niagara's 24 to 4. Fanning and Sally Santiago (Bronx/Our Lady of Good Counsel) led the way with 11 points each. Santiago added seven boards. Eleasha Wiggins (Brooklyn/Bedford Academy) chipped in six points while Haley Witchella (Oxford Academy) finished with five points, four blocks, and 10 rebounds.
Kristine Ripson led NCCC with 14 points while Curry and Nthanda Longwe each chipped in 10.
Alfred shot just 24.3% for the game but held a 58 to 47 advantage on the boards.
The win is the Pioneers seventh straight and improves them to 19-7 on the year and will take on #1 seed Erie CC in Sunday's Regional final. Erie defeated Alfred in both of their regular season (61-53 on 1/17 at Alfred and 59-47 on 1/29 at Erie).
Opening tip-off of the Region III Division II Championship game is slated for 1 p.m. at the Flickenger Center in downtown Buffalo. The game can be seen on the Internet at: http://www.ecc.edu/athletics/streaming.aspx.