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Stilwell shoots St. Mary's into final

When Raeann Stilwell woke up Friday morning, all she wanted was 32 more minutes of basketball in the St. Mary's girls basketball team's season.

She got her 32 -- thanks to her 38.

Stilwell set a Federation Class B record with 38 points as St. Mary's beat New York City's Goldstein Science, 63-44, in a semifinal Friday morning.

"She put the team on her back from the very first minute," said St. Mary's coach Keith Junik. "She just took over the game. It's an awful lot of fun to watch."

St. Mary's (17-11) will play public school champion Irvington (25-1) today at 10:30 a.m. for the Federation title, which determines the state's overall champion.

"I woke up feeling the win," Stilwell said when asked if she thought she would have a big semifinal. "Vicky [teammate and roommate Victoria Fontana] had a dream that we were going to win. We woke up and we said, 'We're doing this -- we've got 32 minutes.' And now we've got 32 more."

There may have been about only 200 fans gathered in the Glens Falls Civic Center for the 10 a.m. tipoff, but those that were there saw Stilwell score early, often and in every way one could think of.

The 5-foot-3 junior made 13 of 24 shots from the field -- including 4 of 9 from three-point range. She was 8 for 9 from the line and had seven steals, five rebounds and two assists.

She hit two NBA-range three-pointers to start the game and finished the first quarter with nine points on three threes. Goldstein, a Brooklyn school which won the Public Schools Athletic League title, held a 12-11 lead after the first. Stilwell added 12 points in the second quarter to help St. Mary's take a 29-21 halftime lead.

In the third she answered several Goldstein challenges with big baskets. She scored 10 in the quarter after which St. Mary's maintained its eight-point lead (41-33).

Stilwell scored four times in the quarter to keep St. Mary's ahead, including a slick drive in which she started with a hesitation move before splitting two defenders and scoring.

In the fourth, she scored on a putback while being fouled and her free throw pushed the St. Mary's lead to 11. Then she added two free throws to make it 13. A three-pointer by senior Kelsey Rademacher (two steals) put the lead at 51-35 and it remained in double digits the rest of the way.

Goldstein was led by junior Christina McKeever's 20 points.

The previous Class B mark of 37 was set by Sue Harnett of Staten Island's Moore Catholic in 1985. The AA record is also 38, set by Rutgers star Epiphany Prince while at PSAL champ Murry Bergtraum in 2004. The overall record is 43 by Michelle Blot of Section II (Albany area) and public school champion Colonie in Class A in 2001.

Irvington dominated independent school representative Long Island Lutheran, 70-42, in the other semifinal.

Irvington beat Section V champion Nazareth in the state public school semifinals by an 80-70 score. Nazareth beat Section VI champion Olean, 55-36, in the Far West Regionals.


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