Cadets, Cannoneers, Horses eye Federation titles
The Albany Academy boys will end a lengthy layoff, while the basketball teams from Watervliet and Troy will go after a rare back-to-back honor this weekend at the New York State Federation Tournament of Champions at the Times Union Center.
The event set for today, Saturday and Sunday brings together Class AA, A and B teams from four organizations as they square off for overall state supremacy.
The Watervliet boys and the Troy girls were two of Section II’s four teams to win New York State Public High School Athletic Association championships last weekend. Albany Academy represents the Association of Independent Schools Athletic Association, and as its only Class A member, did not have to win a tournament to advance.
The Cadets (14-4) meet Nazareth of Brooklyn (23-5) in the second Class A semifinal today at 3:15, marking their first game since a 76-57 victory over Saint Mary of Long Island on Feb. 16. Nazareth reached the Federation with four wins in the Catholic High School Athletic Association tournament, capped by a 46-40 triumph over Canisius.
Albany Academy put together a 15-7 fourth-quarter run to beat Nazareth on Dec. 28. Matt Knezovic scored 14 points for the Cadets, and John Moutopoulos had 10, including a key three-pointer in the late spurt.
Nazareth lost to Bishop Ludden in last year’s Federation Class B semifinals. Albany Academy’s bid to make the 2012 Federation ended with a loss to Long Island Lutheran in the AISAA Class A final. Albany Academy is the No. 1-ranked team in the state, and owns wins over such name programs as Henninger, Notre Dame of Utica, Collegiate, Burke Catholic, Bishop Ludden and Watervliet.
McKinley (22-3, NYSPHSAA) and John Adams (24-5, Public School Athletic League) meet in today’s first Class A semifinal at 1:30. Saturday’s championship game is set for 5.
Watervliet (18-8) and Fannie Lou Hamer of the Bronx (28-3, PSAL) play Saturday at 11:45 a.m. in the first of two Class B semifinals. Riverdale Country (20-4, AISAA) and Monsignor Scanlan (17-7, CHSAA) meet in the other at 1:30, and Sunday’s final is slated for 3.
Watervliet is the only Section II school to win a boys’ Federation championship in 1991 (Class C), when the Cannoneers put together a 28-0 record. Behind Jordan Gleason and Tyler McLeod, Watervliet beat Batavia, 60-53, and took down Babylon in overtime, 72-60, to win its second NYSPHSAA flag last weekend and maintain the No. 1 state ranking.
Fannie Lou Hamer capped a five-win run through the PSAL tournament with a 63-58 victory over Wingate.
The Troy girls (20-5) reached the Federation for the first time since 1989 by beating Pittsford Sutherland, 65-53, and Maine-Endwell, 46-30, last weekend as Mary Pattison, Kiana Patterson and Courtney Avery excelled.
Troy and Graphic Communication of Manhattan (29-0, PSAL) meet in today’s second Class A semifinal at 11:45, following the matchup between Nazareth (17-10, CHSAA) and Long Island Lutheran (19-4, AISAA) at 10. Saturday’s title tilt is set for 3:15.
Graphic Communication beat McKee/Staten Island Tech, 47-40, in the PSAL final. Troy erased a 10-0 deficit with a 23-2 run in its game with Maine-Endwell, and went on to claim its seventh consecutive postseason victory.
Only four Section II girls’ programs have secured Federation championships. The list includes Germantown (Class D, 1986, 1987), St. Johnsville (Class D, 1993, 1994), Colonie (Class A, 2001) and Averill Park (Class A, 2010).
With the boys’ teams from Lake George (Class C) and Argyle (Class D) joining Watervliet and Troy as NYSPHSAA champions, last Saturday proved to be a history-making day for Section II basketball.
Never before had Section II won so many state titles in a single weekend, with the previous high of three taking place in 1986, when the girls from Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons (Class A), Hoosick Falls (Class C) and Germantown (Class D) came out on top.
The previous best outcome for area boys’ teams was two state titles in 1978, won by Niskayuna (Class AA) and Schuylerville (Class B).
Before Saturday’s 4-for-4 performance in the finals, Section II had won only 10 state boys’ championships going back to 1978, and 20 state girls’ titles going back to 1981. In the past 11 years, the only Section II boys’ champs were Christian Brothers Academy (Class AA, 2010) and Bishop Maginn (Class AA, 2008).