Lady Red Devils aim for first state title in 15 years

Lady Red Devils head to state Final Four
Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 6:56 AM EDT
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HAMMOND, New York (WWNY) - It’s been 15 years since Hammond has won the state Class D championship on the hardwood, but this weekend the 2022-23 Lady Red Devils will be looking to change all that.

Coach Alyssa Crosby’s team squares off against Panama on Saturday at 9 a.m. in the state Class D semifinals at Hudson Valley Community College.

The 20-1 Lady Red Devils made it to the state Final Four with an impressive 63-32 win over Poland in the state Class D regional final at SUNY Potsdam last week.

Crosby says she’s changed up her practice routine this week in preparation for Saturday’s contest.

“So, we play Panama on Saturday at 9 and we’ve been practicing all week this week at 6 a.m. to get ready to play that early, Crosby said. “Panama has one girl that’s pretty good. She averages 25 points a game. She’s a pretty good ball handler so we’re working on controlling her and containing her.”

The Lady Red Devils come into the game the number-one ranked team in New York State in Class D and for the seniors on the team, this weekend is a bit of redemption for them after reaching the state regionals in 2020, only to have their season shut down due to COVID-19.

“Even my freshman year, the year that got shut down by COVID, we were going into the regional game and weren’t able to play it,” senior Sadey Sprabary said. “So, for me this is more like a redemption round and I’m really excited for it. My freshman year I kind of got a little taste of it but now we’re even closer. I feel like my team this year -- we have such great chemistry. Not only is it a big deal to get there but I love doing it with my team that I have.”

As Sprabary said, this is a close-knit team that’s also comprised of players from Morristown with players that have not only grown up with this team but also had siblings play for the Lady Red Devils.

“I’ve looked up to my sisters, Brittany and Avery, and I always wanted to follow in their steps and it’s amazing to finally be in the Final Four,” junior Landers Kenyon said. “Oh, yeah, it’s a great feeling.”

“Yeah, we use to go to all the older girls practices,” sophomore Avi Howie. “Use to be the manager on the bench with them. Now it’s our turn.”

The same is true for Crosby, who was a star for the Lady Red Devils and graduated in 2013, and now 10 years later is looking to join an elite company of former players that have led their high school teams to a state title.

“Yeah it is, it’s definitely, you know, I feel like it was just yesterday that I was playing basketball here and now I’m the coach, which is crazy,” Crosby said.

One thing you can expect is a large contingent of Hammond fans to make the trip to Hudson Valley Community College, as the Lady Red Devils have one of the most loyal and supportive fan bases in the north country.

“Like you said, Hammond’s small so it’s what our community lives for,” Crosby said. “eIt’s the sporting events. We hope to have a big turnout this weekend and these girls have worked so hard since day one of the season and I couldn’t ask for a better group of girls.”

The Lady Red Devils hope to add some more hardware to the trophy case this season.

Wednesday’s local scores

Men’s college lacrosse

Clarkson 14, Keene State 9

SUNY Potsdam 19, Castleton 4

Women’s college lacrosse

Rowan 21, Clarkson 14

College baseball

Clarkson 3, Emerson 2

College softball

Wilson 16, SUNY Canton 2

Mount St. Vincent 8, SUNY Canton 0