Voorheesville played ugly, but effective, basketball Monday night at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
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“We play pretty good defense. We work hard on defense,” Blackbirds coach Don Catellier said after his team pinned down top-seeded Schenectady Christian, 54-44, in a Section II Class CC semifinal game. “It’s not pretty.”
No, it certainly was not, but with it, the Blackbirds ended the Falcons’ hopes of a repeat title, and kept theirs alive for a second in four years.
Voorheesville (No. 4 seed, 16-6) limited Schenectady Christian to 19 first-half points, Evan Christner and Ethan Mackey both recorded double-doubles and Nick Kinsky nearly had another as the Blackbirds earned a 5:30 p.m. title date Saturday with fellow Colonial Council representative Mechanicville.
The Red Raiders (No. 3, 17-5) edged Cambridge (No. 2, 18-4),
48-46, on Pat Marra’s jumper in the waning seconds.
“This feels great, obviously,” said Christner, a 6-foot-4 senior who scored 16 points and took down 12 rebounds. “A couple of years ago, we came up short. Last year, we came up short. Finally, all of the hard work paid off.”
Voorheesville worked Schenectady Christian (18-3) over by playing smart, aggressive man-to-man defense, with the Falcons making only 17 of 54 shots, including a 4-for-20 performance from three-point range. Jake Bowman led the Falcons with 18 points, yet the team scoring leader put in nine after Voorheesville had used a 10-0 run to go up, 46-32, with 3:11 left.
“Our defense was good, too. I couldn’t have been happier. Take away their late free throws, and they’re in the 40s,” Falcons coach Chad Bowman said. “On the offensive end, it’s a shotmakers’ game, and if you don’t score the ball, you’re going to go home. We’re going home.”
Jake Bowman and fellow senior Bryan Bishop were Voorheesville’s defensive targets. Bishop managed only one three-point hoop, and that came in Schenectady Christian’s late, though futile, comeback bid.
The Falcons got as close as six, 47-41, on a layup by Bowman with 1:28 remaining.
“The game plan was to shut down Bowman and Bishop,” said senior guard Lloyd Mackey, who contributed 10 points, six rebounds and four assists. “Stop those two, and if the other guys had great nights, so be it.”
No Falcon did so, while several Blackbirds delivered in a balanced showing of points and rebounds. Ethan Mackey used his 6-5 frame to get 14 points and 11 of his team’s 48 rebounds, which were twice that of the Falcons. Kinsky added eight points and a team-leading 14 boards.
“I knew we could get the ball inside, and handle the boards,” Catellier said. “I didn’t know if we could handle their quickness. Turns out we did.”
“We felt if we could hold them to 45 points, we’d have a good chance to win, because we have a good scoring team,” Lloyd Mackey said.
Voorheesville put together two significant scoring runs before hitting eight of 13 game-sealing free throws down the stretch. The first was an 8-0 run to start the second quarter as the Blackbirds erased a 13-10 deficit. The second was their 10-0 run in the fourth quarter to pad their 36-32 advantage.
Lloyd Mackey started that spree with a drive, Kevin Klembczyk and Kinsky followed with three-pointers, and Christner hit a jumper down low to make it 46-32.
“We knew this was going to be a battle,” said Chad Bowman, whose team had burned Hoosick Falls for 73 points Saturday. “I believe Voorheesville is the most complete team in Class CC.”
Marra sank a deep jumper with three seconds left to snap a 46-46 tie, and then batted down Cambridge’s inbounds pass to preserve Mechaniville’s thrilling semifinal victory.
“In my first game on the varsity last year, there was 30 seconds left, and I hit a three to tie it, and we won it in overtime,” said Marra. “I always want the ball in my hands.”
“He wants the ball at the end,” said a joyous Red Raiders coach Joe Loudis, who last took a team to a title game in 2003. “We got it in his hands, and thank goodness, it went in.”
Marra’s last-second deflection capped an outstanding defensive effort by Mechanicville in the fourth quarter. After Andrew Abraham made a three-pointer to give the Indians a 45-44 lead with 5:30 left, they managed just one free throw the rest of the way.
“To hold that team to 46 points, and to hold [Shea] Bromirski down, that was a great defensive effort,” said Loudis, whose team held the Indians to 16-for-46 shooting. “We played a great zone the whole night.”
Bromirski made five threes and scored 17 points, but took only one shot in the fourth quarter, and missed. The College of Saint Rose-bound guard came in averaging 27 points per game.
“We D’d up. We were getting in his face,” said Marra. “He was not going to get an easy shot.”
Cambridge senior Cameron Herrington created the game’s 11th tie at 46-46 on a free throw with 47 seconds left. After Josh Rougia missed a three for Mechanicville and Herrington and Jordan Hastings missed down low at the other end, Marra made his clutch shot while straddling the three-point line.
“We’ve been the underdog all year,” said Marra, who finished with 11 points and seven rebounds. “This is amazing. Words can’t describe it.”
Rougia scored 18 points, Paul MacMillan had nine before fouling out and Josh Gagliastri had six steals. Herrington totaled 12 points and 18 rebounds.
Mechanicville lost to Lake George in the 2003 Class C final.
Loudis guided his Red Raiders to Class CC championships in 1995 and 1996.
“I wanted this group to get here. It’s a great reward, but we’re not going just to participate,” Loudis said after his 418th win, tops among active coaches. “We’re going to play.”
Northville scored nine straight points to start the Class D semifinal game, and Argyle fought back. Ten unanswered points by the Falcons to open the second quarter couldn’t put the Scots away, either.
“They don’t like to make it easy on me,” Northville coach Ryan Gander said after his team’s 60-52 victory. “It went back and forth for a while there, but the guys did a good job of closing it out.”
Northville put together its final flurry of points in the third quarter, erasing a 33-30 deficit with a 13-0 push, and never let Argyle fully recover en route to its first semifinal victory since 1995.
“We tend to play in spurts, but when we get it going, we can pour the points in,” said Gander.
”Usually, it’s our defense that leads to those points.”
Zack Bapp had given Argyle
(No. 2, 14-8) its 33-30 lead on a three-point play with 5:37 left in the third, and the Scots didn’t score again until Brett Clatworthy’s three-pointer dropped in with 21 seonds remaining.
In between, five different Northville players generated points, with Ryan Van Nostrand’s layup, Matt Blowers’ jumper and Chris Bills’
layup starting the decisive run. After Josh Dietrich nailed a three-pointer and delivered on a layup, Jordan Williams’ layup made it 43-33.
Williams scored seven of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, and Van Nostrand went 6-for-6 from the line to help keep the Scots at bay. The Scots got as close as five, 53-48, on two free throws by Bapp with 1:24 to play.
“Everything was working for us in that [third] quarter,” said Williams, a junior guard, who collected nine rebounds and four steals. “We were playing good defense, and scoring.”
Williams scored five points in Northville’s 9-0 game-starting run, Argyle answered with 10 in a row, and the teams were tied at the first break, 13-13.
Two three-pointers by Van Vostrand and a drive by Williams gave the Falcons a 23-13 second-quarter lead, but the Scots responded with a 20-7 surge which carried into the third frame.
Van Nostrand had 17 points and 12 rebounds, while Clatworthy led the Scots — the 2007 Class C champs — with six three-point baskets and 22 points.
Northville (No. 3, 14-8) will play the winner of tonight’s game between St. Johnsville (No. 4, 13-8) and North Warren (No. 1, 15-6) Saturday at 2 in the small-school final.
SCHENECTADY CHRISTIAN 44
Kinsky 3-1-8, L. Mackey 3-4-10, Klembczyk 2-1-6, E. Mackey 5-4-14, Christner
8-0-16. Totals: 21-10-54.
Brundage 2-0-4, Serafimovski 5-0-11, Bowman 6-6-18, Bishop 1-0-3, McCarty 1-0-2,
Collins 2-0-6. Totals: 17-6-44.
Voorheesville 10 16 8 20 — 54
Schenectady Christ. 13 6 10 15 — 44
Three-point goals: Kinsky, Klembczyk, Serafimovski, Bishop.
MECHANICVILLE 48, CAMBRIDGE 46
Rougia 7-2-18, MacMillan 4-1-9, Marra
4-2-11, Stewart 0-2-2, Gagliastri 0-2-2, Lettrick 2-2-6. Totals: 17-11-48.
Abraham 4-0-10, Bromirski 6-0-17, Herrington 2-8-12, D’Aiuto 3-1-7. Mulligan 0-0-0. Totals: 16-9-46.
Mechanicville 16 8 14 10 — 48
Cambridge 14 9 14 9 — 46
Three-point goals: Abraham 2, Bromirski 5, Rougia 2, MacMillan.
NORTHVILLE 60, ARGYLE 52
M. Van Nostrand 1-0-2, Williams 9-2-20, Blowers 3-0-6, Bills 3-0-6, Dietrich 3-0-7, Eckert 1-0-2, R. Van Nostrand 4-6-17. Totals: 24-8-60.
Pierce 3-4-10, Stevens 1-1-3, Bapp 4-5-13,
Clatworthy 7-2-22, Myott 2-0-4. Totals:
Northville 13 17 15 15 — 60
Argyle 13 14 9 16 — 52
Three-point goals: Dietrich, R. Van Nostrand 3, Clatworthy 6.