By Sean Lynch
GOSHEN — From one end of the Goshen bench to the other, laughter could be heard, and teammates were smiling. There was a surprising level of optimism after leading Minisink Valley by only a point at halftime of the Class A quarterfinal.
“It was the same situation we faced when we played against them the first time,” said Goshen point guard Erin Smith.
“We needed to get out of the hole we were digging and bring forth all our energy and effort into the second half.”
They did just that, out-scoring the Warriors 19-10 in the third quarter, securing a 56-46 victory, advancing to the Class A semifinal for the second consecutive season.
Smith led both sides with 23 points (8/16 from the field, 6/6 from the free-throw line). Freshman guard Madison Clark added 15 points for Goshen (13-9). Mackenize Tresch & Saige Colon each led the Warriors (7-14) with 14 points.
The Gladiators shot 46% from the field, (21/45), and scored twelve second-chance points.
“We executed well in spurts but need to do a better job putting it together for 32 minutes,” said Goshen head coach Eric Harris. “That said, I’m really proud of our effort and energy tonight.”
The Gladiators move on to the Class A semifinal against Saugerties; whom they lost to in the same game last season.
Fun fact: 25-of-26 players that played in last seasons’ Class A semifinal, will be playing against each other, in this seasons’ Class A semifinal, including all ten starters.
Smith, a junior, is only eight points away from 1,000 career points and can become the fourth in program history, and second in her family to reach the plateau.
Her sister Katie — who graduated in 2017 — scored 1,086 points for Goshen.
Right now, she’s focused on helping her team get to the Class A final for the first time ever.
“I’m definitely going need to take more three-pointers and get to the free-throw line a lot more when we face Saugerties,” added Smith.
To prevent a second consecutive semifinal loss to the Lady Sawyers, Harris wants his team to bring the same energy he knows they’re capable of bringing.
“To compete, we’ll have to play hard, play together and execute on both ends of the floor,” he said. “Mike (Melville) does a great job at Saugerties. I expect a high-energy game, and we look forward to battling them.”