Six Section II Teams Advance to Final Four
Six teams from Section II will have a chance to play for a coveted state championship next weekend. It was yet another great weekend of basketball that highlighted the best this area has to offer. Five of the eight teams in action got to play at Hudson Valley Community College on Saturday, and a great crowd came out all day to see the action. Thoughts and reactions below.
Class AA – Green Tech 53, Utica-Proctor 43
Well, everyone always says that an ugly win is better than a pretty loss. That was this game in a nutshell. The positives were that the game was played very fast and very physical. A lot of great athletes were on display. However, all the athleticism caused a lot of turnovers and the game to be played in a sloppy fashion.
Furthermore, the referees really let the players play. So the game became even more physical and the scoring was very minimal. Green Tech led 30-13 at halftime. Thirteen points allowed by the hungry Eagles' defense.
Proctor chipped away in the fourth quarter, even bringing it down to a three-point game late before free throws ultimately won it for the Eagles.
Jamil Hood Jr. and Ramion Burt led the way with 10 points each for Green Tech. It was just that kind of game -- no one really got in a rhythm offensively. Clifton Tracey had 23 for the Raiders, including five three-pointers. The 6’6 forward can really shoot it.
I’ve seen Green Tech play six times this season, and each I watch them I get more impressed with Najee Ward. His relentlessness on defense is one of the main keys in the Eagles’ success. He can guard on the perimeter and he can body someone up down low. He’s also hit several key shots in this playoff run.
Despite its of lack of beauty, this is a good win for Green Tech. They’ve shown they can win pretty like they did against Shaker in December, or Guilderland in the Class AA final. And now they’ve won an ugly battle. They’ve tested themselves all season long with a daunting schedule, can it carry them to a state crown?
Class A – Scotia 72, Bishop Ludden 44
The No. 1 ranked team in the state just keeps on rolling. The early disclaimer is that Bishop Ludden was without one of its stars, Jack Rauch.
That said, it wouldn’t have mattered much. Scotia played the best high school game I’ve seen in years.
Alex Sausville erupted on offense for 28 points, while Joe Cremo had 17.
Scotia is just fun to watch. They play incredibly hard, and they play for each other. All five starters played every minute of the game until the bench began to empty with just over two minutes left.
They support each other; they rally around each other. They move without the ball and then they find each other. It’s team basketball at its finest. When the starters were removed, they stood up and cheered on their teammates nearly the duration of the game.
Cremo’s points seemed effortless. He showed off a jumper that he didn’t need in the sectional final against Troy as he shows why he’s already an Albany commitment as a junior.
But Sausville was the man on Saturday. He struggled shooting against Troy but it was a very different story against Ludden. He had three triples and showed a knack for getting to the rim with his lefty floater.
Class C – Hoosic Valley 67, Seton Catholic 47
HV dominated this game from the opening tip. They were bigger, stronger, and faster than the visitors from Plattsburgh.
It was my first time seeing the Indians this season, and I definitely walked away impressed. Remember the sectional final against John Rooney and Mike Pierre scored all but four points against Spa Catholic?
Well, I was worried that a lack of scoring balance may catch up with them, but that wasn’t the case.
Rooney had 24, including an emphatic dunk in the final quarter. Pierre had 19. But J.T. Sawyer had 17 to really provide an additional threat.
If they can get that kind of production in the state semis, I could easily see this team in the final.
They are fast and they are big. And they are going to be a huge problem for their opponent.
Class AA, Cicero-North Syracuse 54, Shenendehowa 53
A gut-wrenching loss for the Plainsmen, who fought from 12 down at halftime to take a one-point lead with 10 seconds left.
After Class AA tournament MVP Carly Boland hit two free throws, it looked like Shen was going to complete the comeback. But Northstars guard, McKayla Roberts, zipped down the floor and found Elizabeth Miles on the low block for the game-winner with 1.8 seconds left.
Boland led the way 20 points while Samira Sangare had 15. Freshman Sydney Brown had nine points and 11 rebounds.
A sour note for the Shen seniors to end on, but with Boland and Sangare coming back as just juniors, and Brown a sophomore, the future is very bright for Shenendehowa.
Class A, Jamesville-Dewitt 56, Averill Park 53
The Warriors beat Peru on Friday before falling to J-D by three on Saturday in the regional final.
Kelly Donnelly had 11 points to lead the Warriors. While she was the only AP player in double figures, eight Warriors scored to provide balance and depth.
Class B, Tamarac 61, Saranac 52
Jenna Erickson had 23 points in the win that propels the Bengals to the final four. That’s her 17th 20-point of the year.
She’s a prolific scorer, with a good cast around her. The Bengals are going to trouble for their next opponent.
Class C, Hoosic Valley 39, Northern Adirondack 27
A low-scoring game that really highlighted the Indians’ defense. No player for NA scored more than six points. HV got 14 from Laura McGreevy and 13 from Lauren Madigan.
Class D, Fort Edward 46, Heuvelton 45