UTICA — The shot was falling early for Stevie Ray as she scored 17 of her game high 28 points during the first quarter of Thursday’s King of Kings semifinal playoff game at Mohawk Valley Community College.

For Ray, a former MVCC and SUNY Polytechnic University star guard, the matchup didn’t matter as she led her Rim Rockers to victory over the second-seeded Huskies 83-72.

“I come out that strong no matter who we are playing,” Ray said. “There’s no specific thing I do to motivate myself, it’s just my personality. I’m just competitive, and I always want to win. It’s just natural for me to come out like that.”

Ray said she always takes on the leadership role when she plays. With 32 seconds left in the game, she stepped to the line and knocked down two free throws to secure the win and a place in Sunday’s championship game.

“I love games and moments like this,” Ray said. “I feel I thrive in pressure moments like this. I’m used to taking on that pressure.”

Former SUNY Oneonta guard Lyteshia Price scored 23 points for the Rim Rockers.

Beth Bonin, a junior at Queens College, led the Huskies with 27 and McKayla Roberts, a junior at Le Moyne College, chipped in 21 points.

The second game of the night pitted former Utica Notre Dame High School and Iowa State University guard Emily Durr against Syracuse University freshman Emily Engstler.

Engstler, the 2018 Gatorade New York State Girls Basketball Player of the Year, led Utica Elite to an 85-57 victory over Durr’s Victory Lap team. 

Engstler had 19 points, and Danielle Migliore contributed 18 points for Utica Elite.

Durr scored a game high 23 points and Allie Taylor chipped in 12 points for Victory Lap.

With the win, Utica Elite moves to the title game against the Rim Rockers at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at MVCC.

The men’s league playoffs continue Friday, with a semifinals matchup between the second-seeded Rim Rockers and No. 6 Quadsimia at 6:30 p.m.

Friday’s second semifinals game between top-seeded Eggan Excavating and No. 4 CNY Sealcoating is set to tip off at 7:45 p.m. Both games will be played at MVCC.

Contact reporter James McClendon at 315-792-5021 or follow him on twitter @OD_McClendon