Christian Brothers Academy took an outside route to the Section II Class AA championship Tuesday night.
Senior center Andrew Stire had his mid-range jumper working, and the Brothers connected on seven clutch shots from beyond the arc in a 62-49 triumph over Albany Academy before a crowd of 4,042 at the Times Union Center.
Stire took home the most valuable player award after snaring 14 rebounds and delivering 17 points, with the 6-foot-8 senior nailing five jumpers to go along with a tip-in and five free throws.
“Coach had a feeling the outside shots would be there,” CBA junior forward Kameron Ritter said after his 14-point, four-assist effort. “We shot all week getting ready, and we made them in the game.”
CBA (21-3) had lost this game the last two years to Bishop Maginn before climbing back to the top, and adding to the three titles it collected from 2004-06. Sophomore guard Galal Cancer added 11 points for the Brothers, and went 6-for-6 from the line in the final minute after Albany Academy had sliced a 12-point deficit down to five.
“After losing two of these, I know the feeling. It feels good to get one,” said Stire, who was 6-for-12 shooting from the field and 5-for-7 from the line. “I knew this could have been the last game of the season, and I didn’t want to lose.”
“Andrew is a lovable guy,” CBA coach Dave Doemel said of his big man. “You could see the reaction from the other guys when he got the MVP. The team was happy for him.”
“Stire did a great job. He’s the MVP. He played like it,” Albany Academy coach Brian Fruscio said. “He deserved it.”
Stire had plenty of help as CBA ended a 13-game winning streak by the state’s No. 2-ranked team, and dealt the Cadets (22-2) their second straight title-game setback. The Cadets lost in the Class A final to Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons in 2008.
“Albany Academy tried to take away the inside,” Doemel said. “We had to find a guy to hit some shots from the outside.”
CBA found several, as Ritter, Joe Krong and Josh Dennis each made a pair of three-point baskets and Cancer hit another as part of its 7-for-11 display from long distance. Krong sank a buzzer-beating three to tie the game at 26-26 at the half, Dennis began the third quarter with a three, and the junior guard added another as part of a 14-3 run which pushed the Brothers ahead, 40-29.
“Those threes were big,” Doemel said. “We tried to get guys open looks, and when they got them, the guys made them.”
“That’s Dave Doemel right there,” Fruscio said. “He has a way of getting his kids to believe. They did a great job.”
CBA started to believe soon after the opening tip, when it broke to a 6-0 lead on two short jumpers by Don Wilson and a reverse layup by Ritter, an all-tournament selection.
“When Don hit those shots, all of the guys felt a confidence boost,” Ritter said. “Then Andy starts hitting, and we could really feel it.”
“I knew I had to make my jumpers,” Stire said.
Iona-bound Chris Pelcher had 18 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks for Academy, yet managed only seven points in the second half. The 6-9 center’s free throw with 1:48 left capped a 9-2 run and got the Cadets within 53-48 before they were outscored down the stretch, 9-1.
“Andy was the primary guy guarding Pelcher, but we had two other guys giving help,” Doemel said. “Give the guys credit for knowing their assignments, and playing together.”
“We did a good job of staying after the ball at all times, and boxing out,” Stire said. “We stayed after them.”
Tyler Foster sank a three and Pelcher scored on two putbacks to get Academy within 40-36 late in the third quarter before Ritter ended it on a layup. CBA began the fourth frame with a 9-3 spurt to go up, 51-39, with Krong hitting a three-pointer to start it and Ritter, Stire and Steve Forchielli following with inside baskets.
Jamel Fields hit a pair of threes and Pelcher had a layup and his free throw to get Academy within five.
“Coach told us they were going to go on some runs,” Ritter said. “When they did near the end, we kept our composure, made free throws and pulled it out.”
Pelcher and Fields were named to the all-tourney team, Fields finishing with 17 points. Foster added 11 points and six rebounds.
CBA will meet CBA-Syracuse (Section III) or Massena (Section X) Saturday at 1 at Cicero-North Syracuse High School in a Class AA regional final.
Section II Class A champion
Scotia-Glenville will also be in action Saturday at Cicero-North Syracuse at 3, taking on Friday’s Jamesville-DeWitt (Section III)-Franklin Academy (Section X) winner.
Broadalbin-Perth (Class B), Maple Hill (Class C) and Sharon Springs (Class D) will represent Section II, as well, in regional competition this weekend.
Bennett 1-0-3, Fields 5-4-17, Hart 0-0-0, Foster 4-1-11, Pelcher 8-2-18. Totals: 18-7-49.
Wilson 2-0-4, Krong 2-0-6, Cancer 1-8-11, Ritter 6-0-14, Dennis 2-0-6, Stire 6-5-17, Forchielli 1-0-2, Lott 1-0-2. Totals: 21-13-62.
Albany Academy 13 13 10 13 — 49
CBA 11 15 16 20 — 62
Three-point goals: Bennett, Fields 3, Foster 2, Krong 2, Cancer, Ritter 2, Dennis 2.
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Categories: High School Sports