Clark powers Pittsford to first Class D crown
East Lansing — Pittsford found itself in familiar territory in Saturday’s Class D final by holding a 20-point, fourth-quarter lead.
Pittsford learned from last season’s meltdown and shut the door on Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart, 48-30, at the Breslin Center to earn its first state title in school history.
“Coming here last year and losing was just so devastating,” Pittsford senior forward Madison Ayers said. “This year, I don’t know how to feel now that we won. I was so excited at first, and then I started to cry, and now I’m sad that it’s my final game.”
Pittsford avenged its devastating overtime loss to St. Ignace in last year’s championship game, where it squandered a 20-point lead and lost 64-60.
Junior center Maddie Clark proved she deserved the Class D player of the year award, scoring a game-high 23 points and shutting down the actual recipient, Sacred Heart senior Averi Gamble.
Gamble finished with eight points and struggled to find any offensive success, shooting just 2-for-5 from the field. She picked up two early fouls, which forced her to sit for most of the first quarter.
“It set the tone for the game, unfortunately,” Sacred Heart coach Damon Brown said. “It was very frustrating, and we let that get to us a little bit.”
Clark proved to be the difference-maker in the game, shooting 10-for-15 from the field and grabbing 10 rebounds for the double-double. She scored 14 in the first half as Pittsford pulled away toward the end of the second quarter.
Pittsford continued rolling in the third quarter with back-to-back buckets from Clark in the first minute, forcing Sacred Heart to call a timeout. Sacred Heart (24-2) was outscored 18-7 in the third and faced a 20-point deficit going into the final quarter, which proved to be too much to overcome .
With the win, Pittsford completed its quest for an undefeated season, finishing 27-0.
“We worked all summer, we worked their tails off and it finally paid off,” Pittsford coach Chris Hodos said. “The girls executed the game plan and did what they had to do to win the game.”
Michael Epps is a freelance writer.