Eldred derailed in regional championship
NEWBURGH, NY — It was the end of a really tough week for the Lady Yellow Jackets of Eldred.
They probably wished it was the week that never was, a week that started out with a nasty nor’easter named Winter Storm Riley that knocked out power in Eldred for days on end, forced a lot of players to seek lodging out of the area, curtailed the number of practices to one and concluded with defeat in the NYS Regional Championship Class D girls quarterfinal basketball game.
On Saturday, March 10, Eldred fell 51-29 to the Lady Bulldogs of Delaware Academy in Delhi (23-2) at Mount Saint Mary’s College, thus closing the curtain on their season of hoops.
The physical game got off to a rather slow start until the Lady Bulldogs posted points on the board.
Eldred (10-7) tried to battle back, but trailed in all four frames: 14-10, 12-3, 14-6 and 11-10.
The second period was all Lady Bulldogs, as they broke it wide open as they outscored Eldred by 9 points.
In the final tally, Delaware Academy’s Brooke DeGiulio posted 13 points and Rachel O’Hagen added 12 points.
Eldred’s Alaina Gaughan led her squad with a total of 11 points and Hailee Kolvenbach contributed 8 points.
Eldred took the Section IX title on February 28, while Delaware Academy, the state’s No. 2 ranked Class D team, took to the floor as Section IV champs.
Meanwhile up in the Eldred bleachers, Aaliyah Clemmons, the seven-year-old sister of senior starter Sami Clemmons, cheered on the Lady Yellow Jackets until the bitter end.
The little “cheerleader” was joined by other members of the Clemmons clan: her parents Jason and Cynthia, brother Noah and grandparents Joan and John Sullivan of Greenville.
Ryan Jasper, coach of the Lady Yellow Jackets, reflected on the season.
“I’m really proud of my kids… what they brought to this program the last four years, especially the seniors… it was the end of an era watching them go out… I can’t put into words the amount of respect I have for these kids and the hard work they do.”
Jasper added a few words about the recent weather conditions that took center stage in the community, ”We had to deal with a lot of adversity last week; it was a difficult week overall for our town… some things in life are bigger than basketball.”
In the wake of the game, emotions ran high and tears fell like a springtime rain, as the four seniors (Kayla Maas, Alaina Gaughan, Kassandra Weatherly and Sami Clemmons) faced the stark reality of playing their final game of hoops for Eldred.
According to Jasper, Gaughan, Weatherly and Clemmons have contributed to Eldred’s racking up 11 sectional titles in soccer, basketball and softball, “or something crazy like that” in numbers.
Gaughan reflected upon the season. “The season was great, we played as a team. I don’t regret any of it, the memories will last forever.”
Clemmons said of the regional game, “We came out with everything we had, [but] things didn’t fall for us… we pushed as hard as we could.”
Weatherly summed up the season, “The season was phenomenal for us… I wouldn’t trade it for anything else in the world.”
Maas addressed her teammates when remarking on the season, “Joining basketball and being with you guys was a choice I’m glad I made. You girls made my senior year and first year of basketball unforgettable, and I’m proud to be part of something so great.”