Warren County

Schalmont ends Girard III’s historic season

Schalmont, Mekeel to meet in Class B boys' championship
Schalmont beat Glens Falls 87-82 in Monday's sectional game at Cool Insuring Arena despite 56 points from Joseph Girard III.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
Schalmont beat Glens Falls 87-82 in Monday's sectional game at Cool Insuring Arena despite 56 points from Joseph Girard III.

GLENS FALLS — Schalmont found a way.

Despite Glens Falls junior Joseph Girard III, the state’s all-time leading scorer in high school boys’ basketball, pouring in 56 points, the Sabres pulled together for an 87-82 comeback win in the Section II Class B semifinals Monday at Cool Insuring Arena.

“You can do whatever you want. You can throw the kitchen sink at him,” Schalmont head coach Greg Loiacano said of Girard III, who averaged an even 50.0 points per game for his junior season. “The kid’s going to pull up from half court, and you can’t do anything about it. He’s a great player and gets all the attention for a reason. He deserves everything.”

But Schalmont earned its place in Friday’s championship game against Mekeel Christian Academy, as the Sabres outscored Glens Falls 29-20 in the fourth quarter of a back-and-forth matchup.

Oh, and Schalmont sophomore Shane O’Dell?

“Shane can play,” Loiacano said.

All he did was score 39 points, and went point-for-point with Girard III in some key moments to help lift the Sabres past the team that vanquished them the past couple postseasons.

“It felt great, honestly,” said Shane O’Dell, whose brother senior Jesse O’Dell added 22 points. “[Glens Falls] is such a good team.”

But Schalmont (No. 3, 18-5) is one, too, and proved itself against Glens Falls (No. 2, 20-3) in a game largely played on the Indians’ fast-paced terms. After trailing for much of the second half, Schalmont pulled ahead for good on a couple of free throws from Shane O’Dell with 1:29 left.

Glens Falls kept attacking and made a couple 3-pointers down the stretch — but Schalmont kept finding answers to keep its lead, including a length-of-the-court pass from Jesse O’Dell to Shane O’Dell for a layup in the final minute to put the Sabres up 85-82, a gutsy pass Loiacano told the older brother to make on an out-of-bounds play.

“If he’s got room and he’s got daylight,” Loiacano told Jesse O’Dell, “throw it.”

Girard III missed a 3 after the O’Dell-to-O’Dell connection, and Shane O’Dell made a couple more free throws to seal the Sabres’ biggest win of the season. Overall, Schalmont made 10 of 10 free throws in the final 3:01.

“It was pretty nerve-wracking,” Shane O’Dell said of the final minutes against the reigning area champions. “We just knocked down big free throws at the end.”

In doing that, Schalmont ended a remarkable season for Girard III, who scored 1,149 points in 23 games. He finished his junior season with 3,306 points — and after averaging 54.0 points per game in three postseason outings.

All along the way, though, Girard III — who picked up a scholarship offer last week from Duke — has said his scoring totals only matter if they are associated with wins. He kept to that way of thinking after Monday’s season-ending loss.

“Right now, I can’t really enjoy it,” Girard III said of his season, in which he scored at least 41 points in every game. “We just lost to a team that we feel we should have beat, but they played their hearts out — and we didn’t really play our hearts out in that fourth quarter.”

Girard III shot 17 of 38 in his season finale, including 11 of 28 from 3-point territory. He made all 11 free throws he attempted.

“We live or die with him,” Glens Falls head coach Rob Girard said of Girard III, who Schalmont doubled whenever it could out of its zone defenses.

Girard III, who has more than 20 scholarship offers through his junior season, said he intends to make a college decision before his next high school game on the hardwood.

“I’m trying to get it done before senior basketball season,” Girard III said. “That’ll definitely happen.”

Lions prevail

It wasn’t always pretty, but that was fine with Mekeel Christian Academy.

The Lions got their semifinal win and are back in the championship game they lost a year ago.

“We were ready for this moment as a team,” Mekeel senior Deonte Holder said after the Lions’ 62-53 win against Watervliet.

Holder had 20 points in the win, while senior Jordan Jackson led the Lions with 27. Mekeel (No. 1, 20-3) overcame a dreadful second quarter in which it only scored five points against a Watervliet team (No. 4, 18-5) that junior Derrick Beason led with 17 points.

“There was a lot of nerves, but we know if we play our basketball, anything’s possible,” Jackson said.

Mekeel trailed 31-28 at halftime against a team it beat 65-63 earlier this year, but was ahead 45-42 after three quarters. In the fourth quarter, head coach Chad Bowman’s team quickly expanded its lead and maintained a multiple-possessions advantage for much of the final period.

“They really pushed us,” Bowman said of the Cannoneers, “but it was really great to see each guy kind of step up.”

In the win, Mekeel junior Gideon Agbo collected 10 points and 13 rebounds, while junior Dan McCarty added 12 rebounds.

SCHALMONT 87, GLENS FALLS 82

SCHALMONT

Tommasone 2-1-7, Randle 5-6-16, Boyd 1-1-3, S. O’Dell 12-13-39, J. O’Dell 8-6-22. Totals: 28-27-87.

GLENS FALLS

J. Girard 17-11-56, Balcom 2-0-4, T. Girard 6-2-19, Quirk 1-1-3. Totals: 26-14-82.

Schalmont 19 15 24 29 — 87

Glens Falls 14 27 21 20 — 82

Three-point goals: Tommasone, S. O’Dell 2, J. Girard 11, T. Girard 5.

MEKEEL CHRISTIAN ACADEMY 62, WATERVLIET 53

WATERVLIET

Atkins 5-4-15, McQueen 1-0-3, Chesnut 4-0-9, Mallory 1-1-3, Beason 7-1-17, Croley 3-0-6. Totals: 21-6-53.

MEKEEL

Jackson 8-9-27, Holder 7-2-20, Car. Stewart 1-0-3, McCarty 1-0-2, Agbo 4-2-10. Totals: 21-13-62.

Watervliet 15 16 11 11 — 53

Mekeel 23 5 17 17 — 62

Three-point goals: Atkins, McQueen, Chesnut, Beason 2, Jackson 2, Holder 4, Car. Stewart.

Reach Michael Kelly at [email protected] or @ByMichaelKelly on Twitter.

Categories: High School Sports, Sports

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