The Rhinebeck Lady Hawks team, who played some of their best basketball of the season visiting the Tri-Valley Bears in the opening leg on the Section 9 Class C playoffs, dropped their final matchup with the Bears Feb. 25, losing 44-37.
Rhinebeck, the #5 seed playing against #4 Tri-Valley, came out of the first quarter with a 7-5 lead despite being outsized and outrebounded. Meredith Mimoso, Samantha Cassata and Natalie Hutchins all had field goals on the quarter. Rhinebeck’s hard play had them in hot water early: Tri-Valley entered the bonus by the end of the first.
The Bears turned it up in the second, blasting through an early Rhinebeck press and finding the basket on most of their trips. Purple kept it tight until the end of the period, though, until Tri-Valley went on a six-point run to kill the quarter 22-16.
Purple’s first basket in the third came on a field goal from Rachel Tigges at 7:36, and the Lady Hawks wouldn’t flush another basket until 3:47 after another six-point run from Tri-Valley. Rhinebeck worked quickly in the final minutes of the period, scoring on a pair of Sydney Spencer free throws at 2:43, another pair of free throws from Mimoso at 2:03, and an easy lay-in for Cassata off a Mimoso dish at :46. They ended the quarter trailing only 30-26.
The momentum was Rhinebeck’s by the beginning of the fourth quarter. Mimoso buried a set shot at 7:41 to cut the Tri-Valley lead to two points, 30-28, successfully sucking the air out of Tri-Valley’s ebullient crowd. Tigges was hacked in the air coming off a drive at 7:03 and was replaced at the line by Morgan Rakow, who went one for two from the line. Cassata sank a huge two-point field goal at 5:47 to give Rhinebeck its first lead since the early second quarter. But a pair of questionable calls put Tri-Valley in the bonus at 5:03, and despite a frantic scoring salvo from the Lady Hawks—including a lay-in on a turnover for Mimoso at 3:48 and a pair of sunk free throws at 3:24 for Tigges—Rhinebeck couldn’t keep Tri-Valley away from the stripe and yielded the game on free throw shots.
“It was a hard-fought and very physical game. The girls gave a great effort and played with a lot of heart in a hostile environment. We had a great season and I am very proud of the team,” head coach Marc Burg told The Observer the day after the game.
Samantha Cassata scored 15 to lead Rhinebeck.