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NYSPHSAA Class C girls basketball preview: Allegany-Limestone vs. Syracuse Academy of Science

Who: Allegany-Limestone Gators (23-1) vs. III-Syracuse Academy of Science Atoms (19-4).

What: New York State Public High Schools Athletic Association Class C final four.

When: Friday at 11:45 a.m. at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy.

NYS Sportswriters Rankings (as of March 8): Allegany-Limestone is ranked No. 4. Syracuse Academy of Science is No. 5.

How they got here: The Gators won a physical 52-43 game over V-South Seneca in the Far West Regionals for their 18th win in a row. It was one of the biggest games in program history, as Allegany-Limestone qualified for the state tournament for the first time since the two schools merged in 1995-96. Allegany went to the state finals twice before that.

Allegany-Limestone girls top South Seneca in Class C FWR

Syracuse Academy of Science, a charter school, fielded its first varsity team in the 2010-11 season and won its first sectional title two weeks ago after losing in the Section III final each of the last two years. Going into the fourth quarter of its regional game down, 45-44, the Atoms closed on a 7-2 run for a 62-57 triumph over IV-Bainbridge-Guilford.

Allegany-Limestone key players: Senior Morgan Davis, 6-1 (18.6 ppg, 13.2 rpg, 4.2 bpg); senior Brooke Giardini, 5-7 (13.9 ppg); sophomore Tierney Hemphill, 5-8 (8.6 ppg, 8.0 rpg); senior Molly Wolfgang, 5-6 (5.4 ppg, 3.9 apg, 2.1 spg); sophomore Taylor Davis, 6-0 (5.2 ppg); senior Shaelynn Maley, 5-8 (5.1 ppg, 5.9 rpg).

Syracuse Academy of Science scouting report: The Atoms have a roster of nine players with a mix of three seniors, one junior, three sophomores and two eighth-graders. All of them are capable of leading the team offensively any given day.

Senior Lyrik Jackson is the standout. The 5-foot-9 guard is a 400-point scorer and had 20 in the state quarterfinals. Junior Diamonne Harris is approaching 300 points, and sophomore Xyel Bradford has over 200. Three players stand 6-foot-1: senior Zion Patterson, sophomore Erykah Pasha and eighth-grader Alexius Pierce.

Next: The winner will advance to Saturday’s championship game at 4 p.m. against either II-Cambridge or IX-Milbrook.

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