Stillwater boys’ basketball rides strong start to win over Greenwich in Class CC title game

Stillwater’s CJ McNeil makes a pass against Greenwich’s Jacob Ziehm and Ryan Alling during Class CC finals at Cool Insuring Arena in Glens Falls on Friday, March 4, 2022.

Stillwater’s CJ McNeil makes a pass against Greenwich’s Jacob Ziehm and Ryan Alling during Class CC finals at Cool Insuring Arena in Glens Falls on Friday, March 4, 2022.

GLENS FALLS – The road to a Section II title was full of familiar foes for the Stillwater boys’ basketball team.

For the second straight game, the top-seeded Warriors knocked off a Wasaren League rival, posting a 73-61 victory over sixth-seeded Greenwich in Friday’s Section II Class CC championship game at Cool Insuring Arena.

“It feels amazing,” Stillwater coach Bruce Lilac said. “I’m happy for our guys. They’ve put in such hard work all season. I couldn’t be happier for them.”

It was Stillwater’s third win of the season over Greenwich. The Warriors also posted a third win over Wasaren League rival Hoosic Valley in Tuesday’s semifinals.

C.J. McNeil scored a game-high 31 points for Stillwater, while Jaxon Mueller added 24 points and 10 rebounds.

“It feels great,” McNeil said. “I love playing with these guys. We executed to perfection tonight.”

Jesse Kuzmich scored 19 points and pulled down 10 rebounds to lead Greenwich, while Joseph Skiff (14 points) and Jayden Hughes (13) also hit double figures. Skiff also had 10 rebounds for the Witches.

The title is the first for Stillwater since it won the 2006 Class CC crown, and it was the Warriors first trip to the championship game since they lost to Lake George in the 2017 Class C title game.

Greenwich won the 2011 Class C title in its last trip to the championship game.

Stillwater put the Witches on their heels from the start Friday, jumping out to a 10-0 lead in the first 2:13 of the game.

McNeil bookended the opening run with 3-pointers for the Warriors.

“We got ourselves in a hole right at the beginning of the game,” Greenwich coach Tyler Herrington said. “We gave ourselves a shot. We did what we had to do to stay in it, but it’s tough when you’re playing from behind the whole way.”

The Witches responded with back-to-back 3-pointers by Hughes and Kuzmich to make it 10-6. Stillwater closed the quarter by outscoring Greenwich 10-6 to take a 20-12 lead.

“They came out and shot the ball well, really well,” Herrington said.

The second quarter saw the Witches pull to within five points early, only to have the Warriors stretch the lead out late in the first half to take a 36-25 halftime lead as Stillwater scored the final five points of the half.

Stillwater was able to keep Greenwich at bay throughout the second half, not letting the Witches get closer than 10 points the rest of the way.

“We were able to get a lead early and hold on to it,” Lilac said.

McNeil helped seal the victory by converting 12 of 14 free throws in the fourth quarter.

“I thought it would be a closer game,” Lilac said. “We got off to a good start though, and the kids are executing at such a high level right now.”

McNeil was named the Class CC tournament’s most valuable player, while Jaxon Mueller was named to the all-tourney team.

Kuzmich and Skiff were named to the all-tourney team for Greenwich. Hoosick Falls’ Jake Sparks and Hoosic Valley’s Isaiah Eckler also earned all-tournament honors.

Stillwater (20-3 overall) advances to Monday’s Class C/CC playoff game at Cohoes High School at 6 p.m. The Warriors, who are 12th in the latest state Class C rankings, will face Class CC champion Maple Hill (18-5 overall). The Wildcats posted a 64-60 win over Fort Plain in Friday’s Class C title game. It’s the first time since 2009 that Section II has split Class C into two brackets, requiring a playoff to advance to the state tournament.

Maple Hill and Stillwater split a pair of regular-season meetings. The Wildcats won at Stillwater, 50-31, on Dec. 20 and the Warriors posted a 45-42 win at Maple Hill on Jan. 25.

“We’ll be ready to play Monday. Maple Hill is a great team and we’ve played them twice this season,” Lilac said.

Greenwich finished its season with a 16-8 overall record.

“Kudos to our seniors,” Herrington said. “We’ve had a good season and they set the tone for the underclassmen for the future.”

Greenwich 12 13 11 15 – 61

Stillwater 20 16 15 22 – 73

Greenwich scoring: Kuzmich 7-2-19, Bennett 3-1-8, Ziehm 2-0-5, Saunders 0-0-0, Brophy 0-0-0, Barnes 1-0-2, Skiff 4-4-14, Hughes 6-0-13, Cederstrom 0-0-0, Blair 0-0-0, Alling 0-0-0. TStillwater scoring: McNeil 7-14-31, T. McDonough 0-4-4, Hotaling 0-0-0, Lilac 3-0-7, . McDonough 0-0-0, Lemerande 0-0-0, Steckler 0-0-0, Burdo 0-0-0, Cocozzo 0-0-0, Gannon 0-0-0, Brown 0-0-0, Niznik 0-0-0, Mueller 12-0-24, Wichelns 1-5-7. Scoring totals: Greenwich 23-7-61, Stillwater 23-23-73.

Categories: -Sports, High School Sports

Leave a Reply