Golden Knights can’t afford slow start against Dragons

Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons trailed South Glens Falls by 16 points late in the third quarter in Sunday
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Categories: High School Sports

Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons trailed South Glens Falls by 16 points late in the third quarter in Sunday’s quarterfinal round of the Section II Class A boys’ basketball tournament. With just over four minutes left, the Golden Knights were still down by 10.

“It was a now-or-never sit­uation, and we put everything to the wall,” ND-BG coach Garry Horne said. “We played as hard on defense as we can play for the last 10 minutes, and that turned the game around. With tenacity, you can overcome a lot of things.”

The Golden Knights (No. 3 seed, 13-8) put together another late-game run fueled by their pressure defense, and outscored the Bulldogs down the stretch, 17-1, to post a 62-56 win, and keep their hopes of a title repeat alive. They’ll take on Gloversville (No. 2, 19-2) in a semifinal game tonight at 7 at the Glens Falls Civic Center, with Scotia-Glenville (No. 1, 19-2) and Mohonasen (No. 5, 14-7) meeting at 8:30.

Bishop Gibbons went on a 26-2 fourth-quarter blitz the last time it played Gloversville in the sectionals, in a 2007 Class A quarterfinal, and won, 57-40.

“I do not want to dig another hole against Gloversville,” said Horne, recalling that comeback. “We’ve got to play good defense for 35 seconds every trip down because they’re patient, and they look for good shots. They are senior-heavy. They have a good basketball IQ. We can’t fall asleep like we did at times in the South Glens Falls game.”

While Gloversville has several capable scorers, the focus of Bishop Gibbons’ defense will be senior guard Matt Baldwin (21.5 ppg), who hit six three-point baskets and totaled 26 points in Sunday’s 50-40 victory over Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake.

“We plan on pressuring Baldwin. If we have to double-team him, we will,” Horne said. “The kid can flat-out shoot it. He’s a player. We don’t want to give him any easy baskets.”

Senior guard Bilal Shabazz was Bishop Gibbons’ defensive leader Sunday, piling up eight steals, his last leading to his go-ahead basket with 24 seconds left.

“His defense was phenomenal,” Horne said of the Schenectady transfer, who also scored eight points. “We’re going to need more of that.”

While Shabazz pushed the Golden Knights ahead, senior Brian Hamor was the player most responsible for getting them into that pos­ition, throbbing left calf and all. The Stonehill-bound guard scored 12 of his team’s first 18 points of the quarter, with his baseline drive making it 56-54 before Jon Villanueva tied it with two free throws.

The area scoring leader, Hamor (26 ppg.) produced 13 of his 23 points in Bishop Gibbons’ 26-9 fourth-quarter rally. Hamor had missed his team’s final four reg­ular- season games after injuring his calf late in a Feb. 6 win over Troy, when he scored 37 points.

“Brian wasn’t 100 percent [Sunday]. When I asked him to come out in the third quarter, he said no,” Horne said. “I eventually coaxed him to sit for about a minute, and before he went back in, he said, ‘We’re not going to lose this game.’ ”

Bishop Gibbons has won four straight sectional games, including its sweep of Glens Falls, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake and Albany Academy in 2008 when Hamor was selected the Class A tourn­ament most valuable player.

“I told my team they can’t take that one [sectional title] away from you, but if you want another, you’ve got to perform,” Horne said. “Gloversville is a good team, and they’ll have a plan.”

Gloversville, the Foothills Council co-champ with Scotia-Glenville, made its last semifinal appearance in 2006, and lost to Averill Park. The Dragons will bring a seven-game winning streak and No. 9 state ranking into tonight’s contest. Scotia-Glenville is ranked No. 8 in the state.

Scotia-Glenville got 18 points, 20 rebounds and six blocked shots from LeMoyne-bound, 6-foot-10 center Jim Janson in its 49-32 quarter win against Averill Park. Mohonasen got 20 points from Anthony Robustiano and 16 out of Robert Tedesco in its 69-56 win over Lansingburgh Sunday.

Mohonasen beat Scotia-Glenville in a quarterfinal last year before losing to Albany Academy in the semis. Scotia-Glenville last reached the semifinals in 2005 and lost to Glens Falls.

GIRLS

A pair of Section II girls’ champions will be determined tonight at Hudson Valley Community College, with Greenwich (No. 2, 17-5) playing Maple Hill (No. 1, 21-1) for Class C honors at 6, and Voorheesville (No. 2, 17-5) meeting Hoosic Valley (No. 1, 21-1) for Class CC laurels at 7:30.

Hoosic Valley will be striving for its fourth consecutive sectional banner after winning Class B last year and Class CC the two years before.

A regional berth will be at stake when tonight’s winners square off in the Class CC-C playoff Monday at 6 at HVCC.

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