By MICHAEL KELLY
Recorder Sports Staff
FONDA -- Coming off two straight losses, the Fonda-Fultonville Lady Braves entered Thursday's game with Watervliet hoping to just play well enough to enter sectionals feeling good about themselves.
Several days later, the Lady Braves sure accomplished that.
Now riding a wave of momentum from upsetting the Lady Cannoneers and blowing past Cairo-Durham, 61-26, in the play-in round of the Section II Class B girls basketball tournament, F-F head coach Wendi Waters is presiding over arguably the hottest team in the area.
"You couldn't ask for better momentum," Waters says.
To start their run, the Lady Braves -- seeded No. 14 in the Class B bracket -- knocked off Watervliet on their Senior Night with a fourth-quarter comeback. After carving a nine-point deficit down to one with not much time left on the clock, F-F sealed the deal on its upset.
"We got the ball and Coach called a timeout," says F-F junior guard Cassandra Egelston. "We all knew (Emily) Parslow would hit the shot."
That is exactly what happened, as the sophomore made a 15-footer with seven seconds to play in the contest. A possession of successful defense later, the Lady Braves had scored one of Section II's biggest upsets of the season, downing Class B's No. 1 seed in a pre-tournament game.
"I can't put what [beating Watervliet] meant into words," says Parslow. "It was amazing."
That win, combined with the Lady Braves' (9-10) win the next night, has the club thinking big.
"We're peaking at the right time," Egelston says.
"To me, they've stepped up their game to another level," adds Waters. "The thing is, though, this group has been capable of that all year. We've seen flashes of it -- we had a stretch where we won three in a row and were playing like that -- but I couldn't get them to play consistent enough."
Up-and-down play plagued the Lady Braves all season, resulting in several contests in which winnable outcomes got away from F-F.
"You look back at some of those games and, yeah, if we'd played well, we could have won a lot more games," Waters says.
One of those games that got away was the Lady Braves' loss to Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk, the No. 3 seed in the Class B draw that F-F will travel to play tonight. When the teams met the first time, R-C-S pushed to a 66-52 victory in a game in which the Lady Braves fell behind immediately and trailed by 14 points at halftime.
"Now it's our chance to make up for one of those losses," Waters says.
To do so, the Lady Braves will need to find a way to slow down Kayla Hotaling, who scored 23 points the first time the clubs met.
"We didn't play much defense against them the first time -- including myself," admits Parslow. "If we can play better defense and stop Hotaling a bit, we can win."
Another key factor for the Lady Braves: Making sure that the high from last week's impressive pair of back-to-back games is out of their minds when the ball is tipped tonight.
"We're going to re-check ourselves," says Egelston. "We don't want to go into this game overconfident."