With its first big run, Mount Vernon gathered steam. With another, the reigning New York Class AA basketball champion ushered Christian Brothers Academy out of the state tournament for a third time.
“Once they get going, they’re a tough team to stop,” CBA senior Joe Krong said after the Knights’ 68-42 semifinal win Saturday at the Glens Falls Civic Center. “They’re much quicker than any team we’ve seen all year. They’re big inside. Their athleticism took over.”
Mount Vernon went on a 20-5 mid-game run and put up 30 points in the final quarter to pull away and earn a chance at a second consecutive title and 10th in all.
CBA was down only by three following a tip-in basket by Earl Ricketts late in the third quarter before the Knights (Section I, 22-2) of Westchester County pounced for the second time and added to their semifinal success against CBA. The Knights also eliminated the Brothers in 2004 and 2006.
“We needed to elevate our game,” said Mount Vernon senior Randy Stephens, who scored nine of his 19 points in his team’s 30-12 fourth-quarter flurry. “We had to keep going hard. We knew they weren’t going to quit.”
CBA (21-3) displayed its grit in the third period with eight unanswered points capped by Ricketts’ tip, that acrobatic play in traffic making it 33-30.
Qwadere Lovell answered with a three-pointer, and Stephens turned an alley-oop pass into a layup to end the quarter. Both seniors began the next stanza with successful drives to the hole.
“They got momentum, and it was all over,” said CBA coach Dave Doemel.
All of Mount Vernon’s fourth-quarter points came from the line or inside the lane, on drives, putbacks and slam dunks. Jarrel Marshall scored eight of his 18 in the put-away quarter, on a dunk and a pair of three-point plays.
“When we got behind we took some chances,” said Doemel. “They took advantage of that overplay.”
“They made great plays,” said CBA senior Chaz Lott, who finished with seven points. “We came at them with a couple of different defenses, and they handled it well. They did what they needed to do.”
CBA did a lot of things well early on, and held a 17-13 lead in the second quarter after Krong hit a three-pointer and Ricketts nailed a foul line jumper.
Krong finished with 12 points, all on threes, while Greig Stire had six points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Ricketts and Christian Leppanen also scored six points, with Leppanen collecting five assists.
“We played a great first quarter and almost all the way through the second quarter,” said Doemel. “The better team won today.”
Mount Vernon rattled off 10 straight points in just over two minutes to close the half, on two foul shots and a jam by Marshall, a layup and putback by Stephens, and Lovell’s buzzer-beating layup that made it 23-17. A 10-5 spurt to begin the third quarter included two layups and another dunk by 6-foot-6 Marshall.
“I thought a crucial part was the end of the second quarter,” said Doemel. “We had a lead, and we made three or four bad plays on both offense and defense. That let them take the lead. They’re so explosive.”
“We had a mental lapse a little bit,” said Krong.
A three by Lott, a layup by Ricketts and Ricketts’ tip after a Stire make and miss from the line got CBA back in it late in the third, but things turned quickly, starting with Lovell’s three.
“For them, it was a confidence boost,” said Lott.
Mount Vernon led only once before its 10-0 run, at 13-12, on a hook shot by William Robinson.
“The game was far from over,” said Stephens. “We were just trying to get into a flow.”
Though CBA won the rebounding battle, 37-35, it shot 31.2 percent from the field (15-for-48) and 50 percent from the line (6-for-12) while turning the ball over 23 times.
“There were a lot of easy opportunities that we didn’t capitalize on,” said Lott. “We lost by 26. It may not have helped us win if we cashed in, but it would have been closer.”
CBA saw its postseason win streak halted at five games, with its second state semifinal loss in as many years. The Brothers lost to Jamestown in overtime last March, and captured the state banner in 2010 with final four wins over Newburgh Free and Half Hollow Hills West.
“A lot of people didn’t think we’d even get out of Section II,” said Lott. “I couldn’t be any prouder of the guys on this team. We worked hard in every practice and every game.”
Mount Vernon will meet Aquinas (Section V, 21-2) in today’s 3:15 championship game. Aquinas defeated Baldwin (Section VIII, 19-3) in the first semifinal, 50-41, behind 6-7 Phil Valenti’s 21 points and 11 rebounds, and 6-6 Jarron Jones’ 13 points and 16 boards.
Patrick Peterson outscored Jamesville-DeWitt stars Dajuan Coleman (13) and Tyler Cavanaugh (10) by himself with 31 points, and Tappan Zee (Section I, 25-0) ended the Red Rams’ hopes of a fifth straight championship with a 55-46 Class A semifinal win earlier Saturday.
Jamesville-DeWitt (Section III, 21-3) came in with a No. 1 state rank and used Scotia-Glenville as a regional steppingstone toward the final four. Peterson’s 31 included a 7-for-13 effort from three-point range.
Tappan Zee and Harborfields (Section XI, 22-2) play for the Class A crown today at 1:30. Harborfields posted a 57-53 win over Bishop Kearney (Section V, 17-7).
Cousins 2-2-6, Lovell 4-2-11, Doughty
3-1-7, Stephens 8-3-19, Jones 1-0-2, Robinson 1-1-3, Lewis 1-0-2, Marshall 7-4-18.
Leppanen 2-1-6, Lott 2-2-7, Krong 4-0-12, Cancer 0-1-1, Ricketts 3-0-6, Marini 2-0-4, Stire 2-2-6. Totals: 15-6-42.
Mount Vernon 7 16 15 30 — 68
CBA 10 7 13 12 — 42
Three-point goals: Lovell, Leppanen, Lott, Krong 4.
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Categories: High School Sports