GLENS FALLS — Another gritty effort has the Glens Falls basketball team in position to win one more title.
Trailing throughout the first three quarters against a long and athletic lot from South Bronx Prep, Glens Falls rallied in the fourth quarter and dominated overtime in a 77-70 New York State Federation Tournament of Champions Class B semifinal victory before a sold-out crowd of 6,300 Saturday at Cool Insuring Arena.
Joseph Girard III willed his way to 42 points in a game where the state career scoring leader did not shoot well, and Trent Girard played the overtime hero with an assist that gave his team the lead for good and five points afterward.
“Trent made big plays,” Girard III said of his cousin and fellow senior guard. “That’s what competitors do. That’s what winners do.”
Winning is all Glens Falls (28-1) has done now for 22 consecutive games, and on nine occasions in the playoffs. In Saturday’s first-ever Federation appearance for the Indians, they trailed by as many as 13 in the second quarter and were down by eight late in the third before rallying.
“Unbelievable,” Glens Falls coach Rob Girard said. “It’s such a gritty group we have. They refuse to lose. Making big shots, diving on the floor, I can’t say enough about them.”
Glens Falls and Cardinal O’Hara (CHSAA, 26-1) will play for the Class B championship Sunday at 4 p.m. Cardinal O’Hara edged Lawrence Woodmere Academy (AIS, 22-5) in the first semifinal 48-46.
Section II schools Watervliet (1991, Class C), Albany Academy (2013, 2016, 2017, Class A) and Scotia-Glenville (2014, Class A) previously won Federation titles.
“You never want to end your high school career with a loss,” Trent Girard said after collecting 13 points and eight assists. “It would be something great for us, and a big thank you for everyone who has supported us.”
Trent Girard generated one of the loudest roars from massive crowd when he nailed a 3-pointer in overtime to give Glens Falls a 73-68 lead. Just before, he fed Kyle Vachon for the first points of overtime to break a 68-68 tie, and South Bronx Prep missed a 3 at the other end.
“Since you’re a kid, you want to play in the big game, in a packed house and make that big shot,” Trent Girard said.
Eric Davis scored South Bronx Prep’s only overtime points on a drive with 1:20 left, and, after Girard III answered with a layup, Trent Girard sank a pair of foul shots.
Girard III boosted his five-year varsity points total to 4,720. New York’s Mr. Basketball was 13-for-30 from the field and 5-for-19 on 3s, although one of those gave Glens Falls its first lead five seconds into the fourth quarter at 53-52. The Syracuse commit’s drive later on capped a 10-4 spurt that had the Indians up 66-62.
“You’ve got to keep playing,” said Girard III, who went against alternating defenders throughout the contest. “You’ve got to keep going and stay confident.”
South Bronx Prep (PSAL, 27-4) tied the game at 66 on a 3 by Tristan Canady and, after two foul shots by Trent Girard, knotted the game again at 68 a pair from the line by Canady with 38.5 seconds to go.
“It’s that commitment. That refusal to lose,” Rob Girard said. “They showed it in football [with a state championship], and they’re showing it in basketball.”
South Bronx Prep had the upper hand in the first half while building a 37-29 lead. During that stretch, the Cougars scored on five putbacks, and had five other hoops inside the lane to go with five 3s.
“In the first half, we were getting out-toughed,” Girard III said. “We’re used to doing that to other teams.”
“We weren’t playing the way we play,” Trent Girard added. “We were not as aggressive. When we turned it up, it started going our way.”
Glens Falls trailed 52-44 late in the third when Girard III drove for two, Trent Girard sank a 3 and Nick Danahy added a free throw after Girard III drew charge.
Danahy finished with 10 points, eight rebounds and two blocks. Though Vachon had only the two OT-starting points, he also snared eight rebounds. David Barclay, Brendan Quick and Rece McClements combined for 10 points and 10 rebounds and, along with Vachon, battled diligently against SBP’s tall and deep lineup.
“That’s who we’ve been since the playoffs started,” Rob Girard said. “Again, a total team effort.”
“All of those guys have been great all year,” Girard III said. “Sometimes it doesn’t show up in the box score.”
Jordan Agyemang had 18 points and 16 rebounds, and Steven Turner had 15 points and eight boards for SBP, which came in ranked No. 4 in the state. Glens Falls came in at No. 1 after securing its first New York State Public High School Athletic Association title last weekend with a 75-74 OT win against Lowville.
“It’s an unreal feeling,” Girard III said. “We wanted to win the state title, and we accomplished that. The past few days we got refocused to try to win this.”
Glens Falls tied the Section II single-season record for wins Saturday.
SOUTH BRONX PREP
Turner 6-2-15, Canady 3-2-11, Davis 6-1-14, Ramos 1-0-2, Calix 1-0-2, Agyemang 6-6-18, Avila 2-2-8. Totals: 25-13-70.
Barclay 2-0-4, J. Girard 13-11-42, T. Girard 3-4-13, McClements 1-0-2, Danahy 4-2-10, Quirk 2-0-4, Vachon 1-0-2. Totals: 26-17-77.
South Bronx Prep 23 14 15 16 2 — 70
Glens Falls 15 14 21 18 9 — 77
Reach Gazette Sportswriter Jim Schiltz at 518-395-3143, [email protected] or @jim_schiltz on Twitter.
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Categories: High School Sports, Sports