Niagara Falls had momentum on its side late in the second quarter of Sunday’s New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class AA basketball championship game at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
The Wolverines were in the midst of a 9-2 run, and had cut Bishop Maginn’s 12-point lead down to 25-20. That’s when James Torres stepped up for the Golden Griffins one more time.
“Today, he was a man-child. He was so focused. He was great,” coach Rich Hurley said following a 68-37 victory which gave the Golden Griffins their first state title. “I’m really happy for him.”
Torres scored down low after taking a pass from Bunduka Kargbo, drew a foul and made his free throw with 31 seconds left in the half as the Golden Griffins went up by eight. Niagara Falls got as close as six after that on two occasions before Bishop Maginn pulled away with a 15-2 third-quarter flurry.
“We came ready to play,” said Torres, a 6-foot-2 junior center/forward. “We knew they were fast and athletic. We had to combat that.”
Torres was among the central figures in the victory, scoring 10 points in the first half, and he added a layup during the put-away third-quarter run. Torres hadn’t scored in double figures in any of Maginn’s previous six playoff games, and had done so only three times during the regular season.
“James can score, but he’s been more of a rebounder for us,” said Bishop Maginn sophomore guard Taran Buie, the Class AA most valuable player. “We wanted to feed the big guy for doing such a good job on the glass.”
Torres didn’t get an opportunity to rebound, score or do anything else for his team in last season’s state final four, when Bishop Maginn beat Fairport before losing by three to Mount Vernon. He was involved in a fight the week leading up to the event, and was not allowed to participate.
“Last year, I got in a little trouble at school,” Torres said. “I wanted to show people that if I was in there, maybe it would have been a different outcome.”
Torres was 4-for-7 shooting from the field and 4-for-6 from the line Sunday, while also grabbing five rebounds and supplying solid defense in the post. He had four rebounds, but only a single free throw, in Saturday’s 54-52 state semifinal win over Mount Vernon.
“We have some kids with some very tough backgrounds. Our kids make mistakes, just like everybody else,” Hurley said. “At our school, we’ll give a kid a second chance. We stick by our kids.”
By the numbers
Bishop Maginn’s 68-37 win against Niagara Falls was the widest margin of victory in a NYSPHSAA large-school championship game since the resumption of the tournament in 1978, and the widest margin of victory in any class since Bridgehampton routed Jasper-Troupsburg, 67-33, in the 1998 “D” final.
The state’s largest schools played for Class AA championships from 1978-79, Class A championships from 1980-2003 and Class AA titles again starting in 2004. Niskayuna won the Class AA title in 1978 (75-55 vs. Jamesville-DeWitt), Shenendehowa won the Class A title in 1987 (69-52 vs. Bishop Ludden) and Schenectady won Class A championships in 1998 (61-51 vs. Hempstead) and 2001 (69-45 vs. Hempstead).
Bishop Maginn (26-1) is No. 24 in the recently released USA Today Super 25 national boys’ basketball rankings, while Abraham Lincoln of Brooklyn (28-4), its March 29 Federation semifinal opponent, is
No. 14 after winning its third straight Public Schools Athletic League championship.
The two teams are ranked No. 9 and No. 6, respectively, in the USA Today East Region poll.
The Amsterdam girls were ranked No. 24 in the USA Super 25 before losing to Bethlehem, 51-45, in the Section II Class AA semifinals. Amsterdam had won 22 straight games before that defeat. Bishop Maginn won its 22nd straight game Sunday against Niagara Falls, giving Section II its first boys’ state champion since Schenectady (Class A) in 2001.
mechanicville No. 3
Mechanicville’s state runner-up boys’ basketball team is ranked No. 3 on the final Class C poll put together by the New York State Sportswriters Association.
Mechanicville (21-6) lost to Maple
Grove in Saturday’s NYSPHSAA title game, 71-46, after posting a
52-51 semifinal victory over Friends. Maple Grove beat West Canada Valley in its semifinal, 64-59.
Maple Grove (Section VI, 25-2), West Canada Valley (Section III,
25-1) and Friends Academy (Section VIII, 11-11) are ranked No. 1, 2 and 4, respectively. Schenectady Christian (19-3) is No. 16 and Cambridge is No. 17.
Sylven Landesberg of Holy Cross High School has been selected the Gatorade New York Boys’ Basketball Player of the Year, while
Shenise Johnson of Rush-Henrietta High School has been named 2008 Miss New York Basketball.
A 6-foot-6 Landesberg averaged 29.5 points, 11.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists in leading Holy Cross to its first Catholic High School Athletic Association championship in 40 years, and a spot in next weekend’s Federation tournament. The McDonald’s All-America game selection and University of Virginia-bound senior led the CHSAA in scoring three years in a row.
His Holy Cross (22-8) team will meet the Bishop Maginn-Lincoln winner in the Federation Class AA title game March 30.
Johnson averaged 25 points, 18 rebounds and seven assists in sparking Rush-Henrietta to its fifth straight Section V championship, second consecutive NYSPHSAA Class AA title, and second trip to the Federation tournament. A Nike and McDonald’s All-American, Johnson is headed to the University of Miami.
meys wins demeo
Shenendehowa senior Hunter Meys, who capped an unbeaten two-year run by capturing his second state championship, has been named the 2008 winner of the DeMeo Award.
The DeMeo Award is voted on by Section II coaches and officials, and presented to the top high school wrestler in the area each season.
Also honored at a recent awards dinner were DeMeo Award runner-up Brian Benton of Amsterdam, and three wrestlers who tied for third in the voting: state champs Austin Meys of Shenendehowa, Brian Borst of Duanesburg and Zach
Clemente of LaSalle.
The Section II Wrestling Hall of Fame also inducted three new members in John Chakmakas, Chris Tironi and Sev Poplizio.
Shaker, Colonie and Shenendehowa combined for seven top-10 teams in the winter portion of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association’s Scholar/Athlete Team Award program.
Varsity team members must have a cumulative classroom average of 90 or higher to earn awards. A total of 172 teams and 1,831 boys and girls from Section II earned awards.
Shaker’s boys’ indoor track and field team placed second in the state with a 96.875 average, behind Plattsburgh (97.074). Though Colonie’s girls’ indoor track and field team placed seventh in the state, its 97.408 average was tops among all of Section II’s participating contingents. Colonie’s boys’ basketball team was third (95.695), while Shaker’s girls’ gymnastics team was fifth (95.982)).
Shenendehowa’s girls’ skiing team placed fourth (96.850), its ice hockey team finished ninth (93.804) and its boys’ skiing team also took ninth (94.463). Queensbury’s boys’ skiing team placed seventh (94.623), and Schuylerville’s girls’ skiing team placed ninth (95.451).
Section II Scholar/Athlete Teams
Boys’ basketball — Colonie, 95.69; North Warren, 93.97; Coxsackie-Athens, 93.15; Guilderland, 92.87; Ballston Spa, 92.85; Loudonville Christian, 92.68; Fonda-Fultonville, 92.52; Fort Plain, 92.45; Shenendehowa, 92.32; Cohoes, 92.19; Averill Park, 92.01; Shaker, 91.97; Bethlehem, 91.57; Niskayuna, 91.53; South Glens Falls, 91.34; Schalmont, 91.27; Ichabod Crane, 91.21; Johnstown, 91.15; Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, 91.06; Schuylerville, 91.00; Gloversville, 90.85; Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons, 90.59; Chatham, 90.16.
Boys’ bowling — Schalmont, 92.90; South Glens Falls, 92.22; Lansingburgh, 92.00; Averill Park, 91.81; Schuylerville, 91.69; Stillwater, 90.62; Niskayuna, 90.52; Waterford-Halfmoon, 90.52; Chatham, 90.43; Cobleskill-Richmondville, 90.04.
Boys’ indoor track/field — Shaker, 96.87; Colonie, 95.62; Fonda-Fultonville, 95.41; Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, 95.14; Albany, 94.49; Ballston Spa, 94.24; Averill Park, 94.00; Niskayuna, 93.66; Cohoes, 93.45; Shenendehowa, 92.64; Saratoga Springs, 92.00; Ichabod Crane, 91.54; Broadalbin-Perth, 91.37; South Glens Falls, 90.95; Guilderland, 90.04.
Boys’ skiing — Queensbury, 94.62; Shenendehowa, 94.46; Schuylerville, 94.25; Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, 93.39; Niskayuna, 93.34; Scotia-Glenville, 92.32; Lake George, 90.14.
Boys’ swimming/diving — Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, 95.04; Saratoga Springs, 94.22; Shenendehowa, 93.63; Shaker, 93.28; Bethlehem, 92.90; Taconic Hills, 92.37; Ballston Spa, 91.98; Niskayuna, 91.45; Queensbury, 90.80; Guilderland, 90.35; Albany, 90.07.
Boys’ volleyball — Maple Hill, 92.16.
Girls’ basketball — Greenville, 95.80; Amsterdam, 95.71; Ballston Spa, 95.28; Colonie, 94.94; New Lebanon, 94.70; Schalmont, 94.19; Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, 94.12; Loudonville Christian, 93.82; Schuylerville, 93.50; Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons, 93.35; Duanesburg, 93.13; Broadalbin-Perth, 92.85; Maple Hill, 92.68; Mayfield, 92.61; Guilderland, 92.53; Hudson, 92.43; Schoharie, 92.40; Scotia-Glenville, 92.19; Taconic Hills, 92.16; Fonda-Fultonville, 92.07; Shenendehowa, 92.00; Mohonasen, 91.96; Niskayuna, 91.94; South Glens Falls, 91.91; Northville, 91.87; Ravena-Coymans-Selkirk, 91.85; Chatham, 91.78; Cobleskill-Richmondville, 91.26; Averill Park, 91.17; Watervliet, 91.16; Columbia, 91.15; Shaker, 91.07; Cohoes, 90.97; Johnstown, 90.95; Ichabod Crane, 90.82; Catholic Central, 90.67; Coxsackie-Athens, 90.65; Saratoga Springs, 90.54; Lake George, 90.45; Holy Names, 90.41; North Warren, 90.18; Fort Plain, 90.17; Waterford-Halfmoon, 90.13.
Girls’ bowling — Albany, 93.64; Colonie, 92.90; Watervliet, 92.17; Ballston Spa, 92.10; Schalmont, 91.31; Cohoes, 90.15; Fort Plain, 90.10.
Girls’ gymnastics — Shaker, 95.98; Saratoga Springs, 94.67; Shenendehowa, 90.39; Guilderland, 90.16.
Girls’ indoor track/field — Colonie, 97.40; Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, 96.03; Shaker, 95.85; Holy Names, 95.79; Ballston Spa, 95.30; Shenendehowa, 95.23; Niskayuna, 94.85; Bethlehem, 94.83; Schuylerville, 94.52; Saratoga Springs, 94.49; Albany, 93.81; Gloversville, 93.78; Cobleskill-Richmondville, 93.63; Scotia-Glenville, 93.33; Lansingburgh, 93.25; Catholic Central, 93.20; Broadalbin-Perth, 92.81; Fonda-Fultonville, 92.63; Cohoes, 92.19; Hoosic Valley, 91.93; South Glens Falls, 91.35; Watervliet, 91.24; Columbia, 90.71; Ichabod Crane, 90.70; Guilderland, 90.54; Mohonasen, 90.48.
Girls’ skiing — Shenendehowa, 96.85; Schuylerville, 95.45; Queensbury, 95.23; Scotia-
Glenville, 93.58; Johnstown, 93.27; Glens Falls, 92.26; Guilderland, 91.57; Lake George, 91.21.
Girls’ swimming/Diving — Taconic Hills, 95.37; Hudson, 92.54; Ichabod Crane, 90.11.
Ice hockey — Shenendehowa, 93.80; Saratoga Springs, 91.95; Shaker/Colonie, 91.51; Burnt Hills/Scotia, 91.44; Guilderland, 90.64; Glens Falls, 90.60; Queensbury, 90.28.
Wrestling — Duanesburg, 92.02; Colonie, 91.67; Shenendehowa, 90.27; Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, 90.17; Cohoes, 90.17; South Glens Falls, 90.12.
here and there
The Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake boys’ 4 x mile relay team broke a 2-year-old school record by exactly 13 seconds with an 18:26.94 at last weekend’s Nathional Schohastic Indoor Championships. Sophomore Scott Maughan (4:30.4) and junior Kent Harlow (4:35.8) ran their best splits ever, and joined with freshman Otis Ubriaco (4:34.3) and senior Ryan Douglas (4:46.4) for a 10th-place finish at the New Balance Track and Field Center in New York. . . .
Amsterdam baseball player Brandon Eutermarks was recently selected to participate in the June 19-25 Omaha Pro Select Training and Tournament in Omaha, Neb. A sophomore shortstop, Eutermarks earned his invite with a strong performance at an Under Armor National Team tyrout in Connecticut. . . .
Shaker will conduct its spring sports information night Tuesday, beginning at 7 in the high school auditorium. The program is mandatory for parents, and there will be a special presentation by Shaker’s All-Sports Booster Club.