Just getting there not enough for Patriots

The Broadalbin-Perth boys’ basketball team is on a history-making hunt.
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The Broadalbin-Perth boys’ basketball team is on a history-making hunt.

The Patriots will attempt to set a new standard for their program by going the distance this weekend at the Glens Falls Civic Center, something the school’s 1993 team came so close to achieving.

“That’s the goal. That’s what we’re going up there for, to win two games,” Broadalbin-Perth coach Tucker Gifford said. “We want to keep it going. We’re not going to back down from anybody.”

Gritty Broadalbin-Perth (18-7) and tall, quick Bishop Kearney (22-3) of Rochester play tonight at 8:30 in a state Class B semifinal game.

Broadalbin-Perth is in its first semifinal since that 1993 season after edging Ogdensburg Free Academy in regional play, 46-44 in overtime, while Bishop Kearney held off Olean, 47-45, to advance to the final four for the first time in seven years.

Broadalbin-Perth also needed overtime to reach the state Class C semifinals 16 years ago, outlasting Saranac in a regional final, 61-60. Coach Ken Merchant’s Patriots, led by Marc Eglin, Matt Hemstreet and Tim Munn, topped Liberty in the state semis, 76-66, before losing to Whitney Point, 57-53, for a 24-3 finish.

“The kids all week have been really focused. They’re ready to go. They don’t want their season to end,” Gifford said Thursday. “They don’t want their last practice to be tonight.”

Senior forward Justin Boyles scored 18 points against OFA, including the game-winning, buzzer-beating basket, while senior forward Rob Norgard had 12 points and 12 rebounds in the Patriots sixth straight win, and fifth in postseason play.

“It’s been a tough road getting here. In the sectionals as a No. 5 seed we beat a No. 4 [Granville] seed and a No. 1 [Fonda-Fultonville] seed, and in the regionals, we beat a team that had been to the state semifinals three years in a row,” Gifford said. “We’ve def­initely earned it.”

Bishop Kearney (Section V) got 21 points from Roderick Gray, and Blair Roberts added 10 points and nine rebounds against Olean. Gray collected 29 points and 13 boards in a 57-49 win over Midlakes before that in the Section V Class B state qualifier.

Gray, Roberts and James Taylor, each a 6-foot-3 junior, spearhead the Kings. Taylor is averaging 18 points in the postseason, and along with his athletic teammates, will operate against a Broadalbin-Perth defense that has held four straight op­ponents to 47 points or less.

“We’ll get in the trenches, play our man-to-man and try to keep the score low,” Gifford said. “That’s our style. Make it an ugly game. Make them make passes and hopefully frustrate them a little bit.

“They want to go fullcourt pressure and run. They want to steal it and dunk it. It’s going to be a contrast of styles.”

The Patriots turned in a defensive gem in beating Schuylerville for the Section II crown, 55-47. The Black Horses shot just 28.5 percent from the field (16-for-56), with Norgard blocking five shots. Class B most valuable player Shane Hathaway, a senior guard, led the offense with 16 points.

Broadalbin-Perth led throughout the second half in that game, yet had to rally from a 35-25 fourth-quarter decicit against OFA.

“We’ve got a resilient group. We kept it close enough and came back [with a 14-0 run], and once we got into overtime, it was our time to shine,” Gifford said. “We’ve played very well in overtime games. We’ve been in four of five of them, and I think we won them all.”

The Patriots lost regular season games to Gloversville, South Glens Falls and Scotia-Glenville before closing with a win over Glens Falls to kick-start their string of success. Senior guard Brian Blake and junior guard Connor Sheridan are expected to join Hathaway, the 6-6 Boyles and Norgard in the starting lineup, with Dave Hathaway, Brandon Bush, Tyler Wood and Dan Sawyer providing depth off the bench. Boyles averages a team-high 11.1 points and Blake 10.7 for the balanced Patriots.

Malverne (Section VIII, 12-10) and Seton Catholic-Binghamton (Section IV, 21-3) play tonight at 6:45 in the first Class B semifinal, with Saturday night’s final set for 9. Malverne won its third NYSPHSAA title in 2007, and lost to Olean in the 2008 Class B title game.

Bishop Kearney, Seton Catholic and Malverne are ranked No. 2, 3, 4 in the state behind Collegiate, a member of the Association of Indep­endent Schools. Broadalbin-Perth is ranked No. 16.

Maple Hill (25-1), meanwhile, will make its state semifinal debut against Onondaga (Section III, 17-9) in a Class C game today at 5. Oyster Bay (Section VIII, 13-8) and Avon (Section V, 25-1) play at 1:30, and the winners tangle Saturday at 7:15 for the top prize.

Categories: High School Sports

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