By Ryan Hayner
Special to the News
TROY — Franklinville lost in heartbreaking fashion in last season’s NYSPHSAA Class D girls basketball championship game.
Delaware Academy beat the buzzer with a game-tying 3-pointer and prevailed in overtime, handing the Panthers their first loss that year.
Now Franklinville has a chance to write a happier ending.
Danielle Haskell scored 33 points to power the Panthers past Notre Dame Bishop Gibbons, 56-26, in the semifinal round held Friday at Hudson Valley Community College, booking a return trip to Saturday’s championship game.
“I was the one guarding the girl that made the shot,” Haskell said of last year’s loss. “There’s just something in my mind that like — I want it so bad. I have a good feeling [Saturday].”
Franklinville (19-6) takes on Section X’s Edwards-Knox 4 p.m. in a rematch of last year’s semifinals that the Panthers won. Edwards-Knox dispatched South Kortright, 61-47, in the first semifinal game Friday morning.
“This year, knowing that nobody thought we would ever get here, and just the fact we already did and we’re still going is amazing,” said Haskell, who added eight rebounds, five assists and three blocks.
Haskell and the rest of the Franklinville squad suffered through shooting woes in the first half against the Golden Knights. But the Panthers were relentless on defense — forcing 15 turnovers — and made 14-of-19 free throws, taking advantage of a foul-prone Bishop Gibbons for a 27-10 halftime lead.
The Golden Knights were limited to three field goals in the first half, all in the first quarter. By the end of the game, Bishop Gibbons had more than four times as many turnovers (27) as made field goals (6).
“We play pretty good man-to-man defense, good help defense and we’re able to pressure guards,” Franklinville coach Allan Dunlap said. “We have some fast, quick guards, so we’re able to pressure perimeter players, and I think that’s to our advantage.”
Abby McCoy, the only other Panther to finish in double figures, scored all 10 of her points in the first two quarters. Haskell had 12 in the opening half, but that came on 13 shots, and the long-range sniper connected on just one triple.
Haskell found her shooting stroke in the second half and had the crowd buzzing with several deep 3-pointers and one highlight reel play where she broke through Bishop Gibbons’ press and unleashed a no-look, behind-the-back pass to Arianna Wolfer for a 35-14 lead midway through the third.
Wolfer tallied eight points and five rebounds, and Abby Burrell added five points and eight rebounds – five of them on the offensive end.
Abby Kienzle scored a team-high 10 points for Bishop Gibbons (15-9), which won a Section II title for the first time in 30 years and earned a regional final win last weekend.
“I have to give credit to them,” Dunlap said. “They got out on us and tried to contest the best they could.”
Franklinville can now turn its attention to Edwards-Knox.
“They’re better — they’re a year older and stronger,” Dunlap said. “They have some talented kids. We’re excited for the challenge; we saw them, and we feel like it’s going to be a great game.”