Zach O’Brien got involved at the offensive end, and Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons got over the semifinal hurdle Friday night at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
The senior forward scored all 12 of his points in the second half, and the Golden Knights got a big boost from junior varsity call-up Daylon Coles in a 65-56 Section II Class A semifinal triumph over Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
“I just couldn’t get anything going early on. Everything was a little off,” said O’Brien, who missed all three of his first-half jumpers, but went 5-for-10 from the field with a pair of free throws over the final two quarters. “Coach told me to get on the offensive glass and try to get some layups to try to get going.”
O’Brien generated eight third-quarter points, Coles netted eight in the final frame, and Bishop Gibbons (No.2 seed, 15-7) hit eight of 10 free throws in the closing minutes to oust Burnt Hills (No. 6, 12-11).
Sectional basketball brackets
To view sectional basketball brackets, click on the appropriate link:
“We got a complete team effort,” said ND-BG coach Garry Horne. “When we play as a team, we’re formidable.”
Brian Hamor had 14 points and 12 rebounds, Coles and Avery Mitchell both finished with 10 points, and Joe Gallagher and Nick Sarchioto added nine and eight, respectively, while combining for 12 rebounds as the Golden Knights earned their first title-game berth since 2002.
Bishop Gibbons lost to Averill Park in this game last year, 54-40.
“Everyone was worried about this game because of what happened last year,” said O’Brien, who came in averaging 18 points per game. “We couldn’t get momentum going like we wanted in the beginning, but everyone picked it up.”
Bishop Gibbons will go after its first title since 1994 Tuesday night at 7:30 at the Civic Center. Colonial Council champ Albany Academy (No. 1, 19-3), which is ranked sixth in the state and hasn’t lost to a Section II team, will supply the competition after ending Mohonasen’s fine season, 77-43.
“I’m excited for the kids more than anything,” said Horne. “We have an opportunity to win it, but you can’t win it unless you get in it, and we did that with our effort tonight. It’s quite an accomplishment for a school our size.”
David Fischer was superb in defeat with a career-high 30 points, 22 coming in the second half, but no other Spartan reached double figures. A 6-foot-5 senior, Fischer hit 12 of 21 shots while also snaring nine rebounds.
“Every time we got a basket or two, they did something good,” BH-BL coach Bill Martin said of the Knights, who led at every quarter stop. “I liked our chances coming in. I was impressed with how they played.”
O’Brien began to make his presense felt at the outset of the third quarter when he fed Gallagher for a layup, and after John DellaPia was whistled for a technical, O’Brien sank two from the line. A layup by Mitchell on Gibbons’ ensuing possession gave the Knights a 31-21 advantage.
Burnt Hills got as close as five points after that three times late in the third quarter, with O’Brien answering the first two times with a reverse layup and a drive, and Coles responsing with a drive to make it 45-38 at the break.
“I wasn’t worried about Zach,” said Hamor, a junior guard who added four assists and three steals. “I knew he’d come out strong in the second half.”
Gibbons held a 40-26 rebounding advantage, including a 16-8 edge on the offensive glass.
“When we took a shot, we were looking at the ball,” said Martin. “When they shot, they were loking for a second opportunity. They did a much better job of positioning themselves for rebounds, and that was a big difference in this game. That enabled them to get second and third shots.”
Mohonasen’s first semifinal since 1994 went downhill fast, as Albany Academy forced 14 first-half turnovers and made 17 of 31 shots in racing to 39-16 lead. Though the Mighty Warriors (No. 4, 12-10) never gave up in the second half, they never threatened, either.
“I just told the guys I’m so proud of them. Even a butt kicking like that can’t take away from what they’ve done,” said Mohonasen coach Ken Dagostino, whose team matched last season’s record; the Mighty Warriors were 2-19 the season before. “From where we were three years ago to where we are now, we should be happy. Out of our minds happy.”
Nick Battaglia led Mohonasen with 12 points, and Jordan Macejka had 10 points and eight rebounds. Jamel Fields scored 25 points to lead four Cadets in double figures, while Shavar Fields collected 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Omar McGill came up with four of their 12 steals.
“They hit a few shots early on us, then we got our transition game going and made some great plays,” said Academy coach Brian Fruscio. “The kids were focused, and they played great.”
NOTRE DAME-BISHOP GIBBONS 65,
BURNT HILLS-BALLSTON LAKE 56
Falkowitz 3-2-8, Maloney 1-0-2, Skalski 1-0-3, Horton 2-0-4, Della Pia 2-1-5, Fischer 12-3-30, Layton 2-0-4. Totals: 23-6-56.
Gallagher 4-0-9, O’Brien 5-2-12, Mitchell 3-4-10, Hamor 4-6-14, Hartnett 0-2-2, Sarchito 3-2-8, Coles 5-0-10. Totals: 24-16-65.
BH-BL 11 10 17 18 — 56
ND-BG 12 13 20 20 — 65
Three-point goals: Skalski, Fischer 3, Gallagher.
ALBANY ACADEMY 77, MOHONASEN 43
Couball 3-1-8, Tedesco 1-0-2, Battaglia 4-2-12, Macejka 3-4-10, Godlewski 1-0-2, Robustiano 3-0-9. Totals: 15-7-43.
McGill 3-0-7, Cushing 1-0-2, J.Fields 9-5-25, Foster 5-1-12, S.Fields 4-7-15, McClaine 0-1-1, Bennett 1-0-2, Pelcher 5-0-10, Vita 1-0-2, McCarthy 0-1-1. Totals: 29-15-77.
Mohonasen 9 7 21 6 — 43
Albany Acad. 18 21 20 18 — 77
Three-point goals: Couball, Battaglia 2, Robustiano 3, McGill, J.Fields 2, Foster.
More from The Daily Gazette: