Maple Grove found its groove early, and Mechanicville could do little to stop it.
The Red Dragons hit the Red Raiders with a bevy of baskets, rebounds and steals in a put-away first half and rolled to a 71-46 triumph in Saturday night’s state Class C championship game at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
Maple Grove (Section VI, 25-2) built a 26-13 lead in the first quarter, and extended its advantage to 45-22 at the break in claiming its first state banner, and denying Mechanicville (21-6) its first after title-game losses in 2001 and 1996.
“That’s a very good team. Make that a great team,” said veteran Mechanicville coach Joe Loudis. “They’re going Class B next year, and I’m sure they’ll be tough at that level. They go 6-4, 6-5, they run the floor and they shoot.”
Paul MacMillan was Mechanicville’s only double-digit scorer with 14 points, while Maple Grove finished with four of them, led by senior forwards Cam O’Neill with 22 on 11-for-14 shooting. Austin Germain had 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Red Dragons of Chautauqua County, Class C MVP Tom Secky netted 12 points and all-tournament pick Chris Secky added 11. Both Secky brothers also dished out seven assists, and Maple Grove finished with assists on 21 of its 32 baskets.
EYE OF THE TIGER
“In the first half, we came out on a mission,” said Chris Secky, a
6-4 sophomore, and, like his senior brother, a career 1,000-point scorer. “I looked in everyone’s eyes, and everyone had that killer instinct. We came here for one reason, and we were really focused. We were focused all weekend.”
MacMillan scored down low to give Mechanicville a 9-8 lead before Maple Grove went on the first of its two 9-0, first-quarter runs. The Red Dragons started the second frame with a 13-4 burst, making it 39-17, and closed the half with six unanswered points.
“Even though we still had a half to play, deep down, I knew it was over,” said Chris Secky.
Maple Grove shot 51.3 percent in the first half (19-for-37), held a
27-13 rebounding advantage and came up with eight steals, four by Brook Lindblad. Germain led the offensive assault with 13 points, and O’Neill netted 12.
“They killed us. We couldn’t buy a basket,” said Mechanicville senior forward Pat Marra, an all-tourney pick who managed four points and four rebounds. “I’d have to say the better team did win, and congratulations to them.”
Maple Grove beat West Canada Valley (Section III, 25-1), the state’s No.1-ranked team, 64-59, Friday behind Chris Secky’s 19 points.
Mechanicville held off Friends Academy (Section VIII, 11-11) later Friday, 52-51, surviving a tense fourth quarter for the fifth time this postseason. Mechanicville’s only one-sided win in the playoffs was in the regionals, a 57-36 whipping of Ticonderoga.
Mechanicville went 6-16 last season before its turnaround, which included Section II tournament wins over Stillwater, Cambridge, Voorheesville and Rensselaer.
“The run we put together is incredible. I never dreamed of playing for a state championship,” said Marra, the Section II Class CC MVP. “I guess you’ve got to take the good with the bad. The sectionals will have to be good enough.”
“The kids deserve all the credit getting here,” said Loudis. “From winning six games to getting here, I can’t praise them enough for what they’ve done.”
Mechanicville (21-6) was striving to become Section II’s first state champion since Schenectady (Class A) in 2001, and the area’s first Class C titlist since Watervliet in 1991.
MacMillan was named to the all-tournament team. The senior forward gave Mechanicville leads of 2-0 and 7-6 before his drive made it 9-8. O’Neill answered with a layup, Tom Secky followed with a drive, and Germain had another and a three-point hoop to begin Maple Grove’s charge to the championship.
The 71 points were the most Mechanicville allowed in a game this season, while only four times had the Red Raiders produced fewer than 46.
“They deserve to be the No.1 team in the state,” said Loudis. “They did so many good things.”
Dunn 1-0-2, Garland 1-0-2, Rougia 1-2-5, MacMillan 6-1-14, Grayson 0-1-1, Marra 2-0-4, France 2-0-5, Stewart 2-0-4, Gagliastri 2-0-4, Lettrick 2-1-5. Totals: 19-5-46.
C. Secky 5-0-11, T. Secky 5-2-12, O’Neill 11-0-22, Caporale 0-2-2, Lindblad 2-0-5, Germain 8-0-17. Totals: 32-4-71.
Mechanicville 13 9 9 15 — 46
Maple Grove 26 19 14 12 — 71
Three-point goals: Rougia, MacMillan, France, C. Secky, Lindblad, Germain.