GLENS FALLS — As sweet as it feels to beat Glens Falls on the way to the Section II Class B boys’ basketball championship game, Schalmont senior star Shane O’Dell knows that what really matters is the follow-up.
O’Dell’s seen this exact scenario play out before. In 2018, the Sabres knocked off Glens Falls in the Class B semifinals, and Schalmont was walking on air heading into the championship game against Mekeel Christian Academy.
“It felt like the championship,” O’Dell said, “and then Mekeel came and smacked us.”
Now O’Dell and Schalmont, which also reached the Class B final in 2019 only to come up short against Glens Falls, gets one more chance to rewrite the ending after clinching a berth in the championship game for a third straight season with Monday’s 52-43 semifinal win over Glens Falls at Cool Insuring Arena.
“I’ve lost the last two years,” said O’Dell, who finished with 22 points, 19 rebounds, five blocks and five assists. “I want it bad.”
Schalmont (No. 2 seed, 18-5) will face Mechanicville in the championship game Friday at 6:45 p.m. in Glens Falls. Mechanicville beat Hoosick Falls 66-58 in Monday’s other semifinal.
The Sabres’ seniors aren’t taking one more shot in an area championship — something Schalmont hasn’t won since 1996 — for granted.
“We don’t want to come up short again,” Schalmont forward Austin Redmond said. “I know everyone feels the same way on the team.”
Schalmont led by as many as 10 points in the third quarter Monday, only for Glens Falls to come back and tie the game at 34-34 when Zach Barrett hit three free throws with time expired in the third quarter. Glens Falls (No. 3, 18-5) took a 38-37 lead on a Noah Girard jumper with 5:58 left in the fourth quarter, and while Schalmont took the lead back on a 3-pointer from Jake Sanford, Girard hit another jumper to tie things at 40-40 with 3:45 to play.
Then, with 2:58 to play, Schalmont guard Trent Randle stole the ball at the top of the key and broke away for a layup that gave Schalmont the lead for good.
“That kind of changed things,” Glens Falls coach Rob Girard said. “That changed a little bit of the momentum and it went the other way.”
Randle’s go-ahead layup started a decisive 12-1 run that included six O’Dell free throws in the final minute to seal the game.
With the rivalry between Glens Falls and Schalmont over the past couple of years — in multiple sports — there was certainly some added juice to Monday’s contest.
“We talked about not getting up too high with our emotions to try to beat them, but just to play the way we play and everything else would kind of work itself out,” Schalmont coach Greg Loaicono said. “I thought we did a good job of that tonight. Our excitement level was there — sometimes it was a little too much for me — but the seniors pulled it out and got it done when they had to.”
“They’ve beaten me twice in basketball, twice in football,” O’Dell said. “It was nice to beat them, finally.”
MECHANICVILLE COMES THROUGH LATE
Nail-biting late-game moments are nothing new for Mechanicville (No. 4, 22-1) this season. After all, the team was coming off a tense 46-45 double-overtime win Friday night against Broadalbin-Perth just to reach the Class B semifinals.
So, stuck in another down-to-the-wire thriller Monday against Hoosick Falls (No. 9, 19-4), it was no surprise that Mechanicville stayed unflappable.
“Good thing we didn’t go to overtime,” Mechanicville sophomore Tyler Eiseman said after his team’s win.
Eiseman played a big role in the win, coming off the bench to score 12 points, including the go-ahead jumper with 4:47 left in the fourth quarter that put Mechanicville in front to stay.
Eiseman saw plenty of crunch-time minutes with junior Devin Garland on the bench after picking up his fourth foul early in the third quarter, but didn’t hesitate to rise to the occasion.
“I was open, I know I can make it, so I just took it,” Eiseman said of his go-ahead shot. “You just have that feeling.”
“He’s come a long way, that guy,” Mechanicville coach Rian Richardson said of Eiseman. “He’s the most knowledgeable player I’ve ever coached. He gets it. He understands the game, understands his role and understands situations.”
Josh Germain scored 21 points for Mechanicville, which led for most of the game and fended off numerous Hoosick Falls runs before finally putting the game away in the closing moments.
“They’ve found so many different ways to win this year,” Richardson said. “Low-scoring games, high-scoring games. Different guys have stepped up.”
Tristan Williams scored 21 points for Hoosick Falls, and Jon Kempf added 19.
LAKE GEORGE ADVANCES
In a Class C semifinal to kick off Monday’s tripleheader, Lake George (No. 4, 18-5) kept its hopes of a fourth straight area championship alive with a 62-45 win over Rensselaer. Luke Pelchar and Juan Garcia scored 14 points apiece for Lake George, while Cameron Orr and Cole Clarke each scored 13. Samir Lockhart scored a game-high 22 for Rensselaer (No. 9, 13-10).
Lake George will face the winner of Tuesday’s semifinal between No. 7 Fort Plain and No. 11 Waterford in the championship game Friday at 5 p.m.
SCHALMONT 52, GLENS FALLS 43
Glens Falls 6 13 15 9—43
Schalmont 10 17 7 18—52
Glens Falls scoring: Girard 6-3-16, Barclay 1-0-2, Woodell 5-2-12, Wiggins 3-0-6, Barrett 0-3-3, Danahy 2-0-4. Schalmont scoring: Sanford 1-0-3, Metzold 1-0-2m Redmond 4-1-9, Randle 6-0-14, Brown 1-0-2, O’Dell 6-10-22. Scoring totals: Glens Falls 17-8-43, Schalmont 19-11-52.
MECHANICVILLE 66, HOOSICK FALLS 58
Mechanicville 14 22 11 19—66
Hoosick Falls 10 21 13 14—58
Mechanicville scoring: Attala 2-3-8, Dion 5-1-11, Germain 5-9-21, D’Ambro 4-2-10, Eiseman 6-0-12, Garland 1-0-3. Hoosick Falls scoring: Kempf 5-8-19, Burnett 3-0-8, Kipp 1-0-3, Williams 6-9-21, Sparks 1-0-2, Rose 1-2-5. Scoring totals: Mechanicville 23-16-66, Hoosick Falls 17-19-58.
LAKE GEORGE 62, RENSSELAER 45
Lake George 13 13 15 21—62
Rensselaer 14 7 9 15—45
Lake George scoring: Pelchar 6-2-14, C. Clarke 4-5-13, S. Clarke 1-6-8, Garcia 4-4-14, Orr 4-3-13. Rensselaer scoring: Lockhart 7-2-22, Wright 3-0-7, Johnson 2-4-9, Nixon 2-0-5, Sullivan 1-0-2. Scoring totals: Lake George 19-20-62, Rensselaer 15-9-45.
Reach Adam Shinder at [email protected] or @Adam_Shinder on Twitter.