The Crusaders hosted the Bushmen of Pine Bush in an OCIAA Section 9 semi-fina on Sunday afternoon. The Crusaders entered the game after finishing first in the Division 1 standings with an overall record of 15-5. The Bushmen finished their regular season in second place in Division 2 with a 12-7 record . The Crusaders swept the season series with the Bushmen winning 49-40 at home and 57-39 in Pine Bush.
The Bushmen took an early lead, but the Crusaders battled back and tied the score at 9 to end the first quarter. The second quarter looked like the first, with both teams exchanging baskets and playing tough defense.
Crusader Madison Fileen’s floater down the lane tied the score at 18 with under :10 in the half as the teams headed to the locker room. At the start of the second half, the Bushmen surged out to a 6-point lead. This time Olivia Shippee led the Crusaders’ rally as she scored 5 straight points to cut into the Bushmen’s lead. With 2:57 left in the period Ella Natal hit a big 3-point shot and the Crusaders were back in front 30-28.
Again it was the Bushmen that retook the lead but with time running out. It was a basket from Crusader Kelsey O’Brien that tied the score at 34 at the end of the third quarter.
The Crusaders had saved their best for last as they pulled away from the Bushmen in the fourth quarter. The Crusaders offense came alive as they posted 20 in the period. Olivia Shippee and Ella Natal each scored 7 and O’Brien scored 6 in the fourth quarter, as the Crusaders pulled away to a 9 point victory.
The Crusaders’ hard fought 55-46 victory over the Bushmen sets them up for a Section 9 Championship game on Tuesday when they will travel to Sullivan County Community College to face the Wildcats of Warwick for the title.
The Crusaders had saved their best for last as they pulled away from the Bushmen in the fourth quarter. The Crusaders offense came alive as they posted 20 in the period.