Breaking Down the Federation: Scotia (Audio)
Today it’s part two of our three-day series to preview the New York State Federation Tournament of Champions.
We kick off our Class A preview by looking at the Scotia-Glenville Tartans, who will take on reigning federation champion Albany Academy on Friday, 8:30 p.m., at the Times Union Center.
I had the opportunity to talk with Tartans head coach James Giammattei. There are portions of his interview in some of the upcoming segments, but you can listen to the entire 15 minute interview at the bottom of this page.
Team: Scotia-Glenville Tartans
Head Coach: James Giammattei
Opponent: Albany Academy, Friday, 8:30 p.m. at the Times Union Center
Road to Federation: Defeated Lansingburgh, Amsterdam, Troy (2-OT) in Class A Sectionals, Defeated Peru and Bishop Ludden in Regionals before defeating John Glenn and Rochester East to win the State title. The Tartans led by just three heading into the fourth of the final before outscoring East 24-2 in the fourth.
The Basics: Scotia is one of the most exciting Capital Region teams in years, and everyone in the area is on board. After losing in regionals a season ago, the Tartans set their sites on getting back to the regional level – and winning. Mission accomplished, and then some. Scotia rolled through opponents this season, winning 21 of its 25 games by 20 or more points en route to the state title.
Listen to Giammattei talk about this season
The Players: The Tartans are led on offense by UAlbany-bound junior Joe Cremo (25.4 ppg), but they are hardly a one-man team. Alex Sausville (16.2 ppg) nailed a New York State Class A State Tournament record with eight three-pointers in the final. He can hit from anywhere and he has the freedom to shoot from anywhere.
Dom LeMorta and Mike Palleschi both average just under 10 points a game, giving Scotia four options that can really go off at anytime. Scotty Stopera handles the ball most of the time and directs traffic with the best of them. But he's streaky from deep, and he'll score anytime he's left open.
But the best thing about Scotia is the brand of basketball they play. They are unselfish to a fault. They want to win and they enjoy playing together. They don’t care who scores, as long as the team scores. They have an uncanny way of knowing where everyone will be on the floor, and it makes for some of the most refreshing basketball at the high school level in recent memory.
Listen to Giammattei talk about his team’s chemistry
Interesting Information 1: While Coach Giammattei would undoubtedly have a great team all on his own, Scotia is fortunate enough to have former Schenectady coach Mark Sausville on his staff. Sausville is one of the most accomplished coaches in Section II history. Just like their players, these coaches work together very well and that makes for a dynamite duo on the bench.
Giammattei on his coaching staff
Interesting Fact 2: Scotia is a relatively small town, but a very close-knit community. The Tartans travel very well and have incredible crowd support. They also have a pep band that travels to each game, and these guys are awesome. Really. It gives you a big-time college feel.
Giammattei on the influence of the team’s supporters
Best Moment: During the regional final -- when the starters were pulled with just over two minutes to play -- the group of five hugged and embraced each other, and then remained standing as their teammates got in on the action. Another great example of how close this team is.
Only Negative? I don’t know if Scotia has any negatives. The only concern for the Tartans is that they don’t have a very deep bench. The Tartans play their five starters for as long as possible, so foul trouble could always become an issue.
Then again, it hasn’t in the teams previous 25 games. And if it does, Scotia has players on the bench that can step up. Schuyler Sayles had three three-pointers in the double-overtime sectional final win over Troy.
Listen to the full interview here in which Giammattei addressed Sausville’s state final performance, the matchup with the Cadets, what it’s like to coach Joe Cremo, the 2-OT sectional final win over Troy, and how his team plays great defense to avoid foul trouble.