Hudson Valley Sports Report
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PHOTO GALLERY: MILLBROOK GIRLS CONQUER HALDANE, EMPTY GYM

Blazers Moving On To State Quarterfinal Game

COLD SPRING – Everything about it screamed ‘big game.’

A New York State Class C regional semifinal between two local blueblood high school girls basketball programs, with a trip to the state quarterfinals on the line.

Except for one thing.

The atmosphere screamed ‘scrimmage.’

Playing in front of only each other, coaches, school administrators, trainers, referees and media – no parents, no friends, no classmates, no fans – Millbrook jumped out to an early lead and held off Haldane, 66-49, on Wednesday night in Cold Spring.

The game was played to empty bleachers after officials from Section 1 and Section 9 agreed that no spectators would be allowed out of an abundance of caution over the spread of the coronavirus.

Ironically, it didn’t seem to bother either team.

Haldane coach Jessica Perrone, whose team battled all night, said she could have used a supportive home crowd especially when the Blue Devils pulled to within 48-43 in the second half. But, otherwise, it didn’t seem to be a big factor.

Millbrook coach Adam Peek was also non-plussed.

“It’s definitely awkward for the kids. It’s not as nerve-wracking as having a big crowd, but it can be strange for some kids,” he said. “The bottom line is, it’s still just a basketball court.”

The Blazers’ Natalie Fox said she was strangely at ease.

“It was kind of calming to walk in and not feel stressed or nervous about playing in front of people, but then again I did miss the support and the hype,” she said. “After about the first two minutes of the first quarter, I kind of got a better feel for the game and the difference without the spectators. It gave me the ability to focus more on the game and not on the crowd.”

Fox finished with 10 points for Millbrook. Her big sister, Marist College-bound Erin Fox, had a game-high 29 points. Both of them helped the Blazers build a quick 11-2 lead, but Haldane was stubborn. The Blue Devils never let the game get out of hand until that one last push got them as close as five points before Millbrook finally closed them out.

When the buzzer sounded, THAT’S when Natalie Fox finally felt the difference.

“It didn’t feel that exciting because we didn’t have anyone cheering in the background,” she said. “It just felt like a regular game. But once it was over and we realized we would be advancing, it felt exciting to continue our streak. I can’t wait to play our next game; I really want to go back to the state finals again.”

Liv Monteleone led Haldane with 20 points and Bela Monteleone added 15.

Please check out this great photo gallery from an empty gym by Todd McDonough.

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