Joe Loudis will head to the Glens Falls Civic Center in late March for his induction into the New York State Basketball Hall of Fame.
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Before that, the veteran coach would like to take his Mechanicville team that way for a trip the Red Raiders haven’t made since 2003.
“It’s been a while for our program, and the kids know it,” Loudis said on the eve of his Class CC quarterfinal matchup with Stillwater. “The kids are sky-high about this opportunity, and the fact that they’re playing our rival to get there.”
Mechanicville (No. 3 seed, 15-5) and Stillwater (No. 11, 4-17) will meet for the second time this season tonight at 6:30 at Hudson Valley Community College, with Cambridge (No. 2, 17-3) and Watervliet (No. 7, 9-12) to follow in another Colonial Council vs. Wasaren League matchup. The winners square off Monday night in Glens Falls.
“When I retired from Cohoes, I thought I’d never get a chance to coach there [the Civic Center],” said Loudis, Section II’s active wins leader, who is in his second stint with the Red Raiders after a superb run with the Tigers. “Now I know what it’s like, having been there several times with my
Mechanicville teams, but none of the boys on this team know what it’s like. It would be a great reward for them. They’ve played well, and had a fine season. I told some of them, ‘I’d feel bad you didn’t make it.’ ”
Mechanicville will be looking to make it two in a row against a Stillwater team it beat handily to open the season. The win came on Nov. 23 at Mechanicville’s tournament, when the Red Raiders took control early and coasted to a 60-31 victory.
Junior guard Chris Grayson and senior guard Pat Marra scored 15 points apiece for Mechanicville, and junior center Nick Lettrick added 10. Lettrick is questionable for tonight’s game, though, due to an eye infection.
“It was opening night, and they were missing some guys,” Loudis said of the first meeting with the Warriors. “[Justin] Deuel and [Mike] Baker were hurt, and they’ve been key guys for them.”
Deuel had nine points, four steals and three assists in Stillwater’s
61-54 first-round win at No. 6-seed Lake George, while junior guard and team scoring leader Nick D’Alberto (12.2 ppg) turned in his seventh double-digit performance in eight games with 22 points.
“They shoot well from the outside, and the D’Alberto kid has played well,” said Loudis. “We’ve got to play some defense.”
Mechanicville will play Loudis’ trademark 3-2 zone defense, a rarely seen scheme that has helped his teams win 416 games. It may help the Red Raiders — who have lost two games to Class B Albany Academy and another to Class A Lansingburgh — win a few more.
“If we play well, we have an outside chance to win it all,” said Loudis, whose 1995 and 1996
Mechanicville teams won Section II championships; Mechanicville also won the 2001 title under Matt Sgambati. “We have to limit turnovers, and play defense like we have been. Only four teams have reached 60 points on us.”
Mechanicville won just six games before this turnaround season, which included a pair of seven-game winning streaks. The Red Raiders won their last game over Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk, 64-49, behind a 20-point performance by senior forward Paul MacMillan (12.6 ppg), and 17 more from Lettrick.
Stillwater ended a 10-game losing streak by beating Lake George Tuesday. Coach Dave Cook’s Warriors reached last year’s Class CC title game before losing to Schenectady Christian in double overtime, and won the crown in 2006 as a springboard toward to state final. Senior forward Henry Evans is the only remaining holdover from that team.
Schenectady Christian (No. 1,
18-2) makes its Class CC debut tonight at 8 against Hoosick Falls (No. 9, 9-12) at the University at Albany. Voorheesville (No. 4,
14-6) and Berne-Knox-Westerlo (No. 5, 14-6) meet in the first game at 6:30.
The girls’ teams from Mohonasen, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake,
Scotia-Glenville and Schenectady Christian will be among those in action tonight, with quarterfinals taking place in Class A, B and C.
A Class A double-header at
Mohonasen has Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake (No. 3, 8-12) meeting Lansingburgh (No. 6, 12-9) at 6, and Hudson Falls (No. 7, 14-5) taking on Mohonasen (No. 2, 7-13) at 7:30. In Class A action at Averill Park, Foothills Council champ Scotia-Glenville (No. 5, 11-9) plays Holy Names (No. 4, 13-7) at 6, and Glens Falls (No. 9, 10-11) goes against Averill Park (No. 1, 15-5) at 7:30.
Schenectady Christian (No. 1, 20-0), one of three unbeaten girls’ teams remaining in Section II, hosts Waterford-Halfmoon (No. 9, 13-8) at 7:30 at Scotia-Glenville in a Class C quarterfinal. Duanesburg (No. 12, 8-13) plays Whitehall (No. 4, 13-8) beforehand at 6.
Fonda-Fultonville (No. 5, 17-4) plays Ichabod Crane (No. 4, 13-7) tonight at 6 at Hoosic Valley in a Class B quarterfinal.
Tournament play continues Saturday for the boys and girls. The Class AA boys’ quarterfinals are Sunday at the Times Union Center.