A game-by-game look at Schenectady’s run to its 1998 state championship:
NOV. 28, 1997: SCHENECTADY 74, COLUMBIA 55
Willie Deane scores 32 points, and Schenectady takes the first step toward a perfect regular season with a victory over Columbia in an opening-round game of the Crusader Roundball Classic at Catholic Central.
NOV. 29, 1997: SCHENECTADY 82, TROY 60
Justin Hoffman has a career night, hitting four 3-pointers and finishing with 26 points as the Patriots capture their second straight Crusader Classic championship. Hoffman is named the tournament most valuable player.
DEC. 2, 1997: SCHENECTADY 61, CBA 39
Schenectady puts four players in double-figure scoring, and shuts down CBA at the defensive end to open its Big 10 schedule.
DEC. 9, 1997: SCHENECTADY 71, LA SALLE 64
Deane delivers from deep, netting five 3-pointers and leading four double-digit scorers with 22 points as Schenectady holds off the Cadets. The 4-0 start equals the best for the Patriots since the merger between Linton and Mont Pleasant.
DEC. 12, 1997: SCHENECTADY 91, CCHS 55
Deane pours in a career-high 33 points, and James Thomas and Hoffman combine for 37 in another balanced offensive effort.
DEC. 16, 1997: SCHENECTADY 70, AMSTERDAM 24
Leading 31-17 at the half, Schenectady holds Amsterdam to two points in the third quarter and five in the fourth for its finest defensive performance ever.
DEC. 19, 1997: SCHENECTADY 79, TROY 55
A 21-0 first-quarter run turns a 4-4 game into a rout. All five Schenectady starters reach double figures in scoring.
DEC. 27, 1997: SCHENECTADY 78, NISKAYUNA 54
Deane’s breakaway slam dunk triggers a 29-13 third-quarter surge as the host Patriots pull away in an opening-round game of the Arthur Hilliard Memorial Basketball Tournament. Deane’s slam gives Schenectady its first lead at 28-26, and gives the senior guard his 1,000th and 1,001st career points.
DEC. 28, 1997: SCHENECTADY 85, KINGSTON 57
Jamaar Sims scores a career-high 15 points, seven coming in a 12-0, third-quarter run which finally puts Kingston away in the Hilliard title game. MVP Deane and all-tournament selection Thomas score 18 points apiece.
JAN. 6, 1998: SCHENECTADY 76, BISHOP GIBBONS 58
Pat O’Connor strikes for a season-high 21 points and Deane continues to score big, netting 28, as the Patriots get the best of their city rival.
JAN. 9, 1998: SCHENECTADY 65, ALBANY 57
In its closest regular season game, Schenectady leads 52-48 with 5:10 to play before using a 9-0 run to avenge last season’s loss to the Falcons in the Section II Class A championship game. Freshman Jason McKrieth scored five points in the late burst, and Deane leads the Patriots with 22.
JAN. 13, 1998: SCHENECTADY 70, BISHOP MAGINN 48
The battle of unbeaten state-ranked teams is over early, with Schenectady unleashing a 26-9 second-quarter barrage on the Griffins. In solidifying its status as the top team in Section II, Deane piles up 20 points and seven assists, and Thomas finishes with 19 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks.
Thomas, O’Connor and Deane put down flying slam dunks in a 30-second span in the fourth quarter for one of the season’s more memorable moments.
JAN. 20, 1998: SCHENECTADY 71, LA SALLE 45
Schenectady forwards double their pleasure, with O’Connor collecting 14 points and 12 rebounds, and Hoffman gaining 10 points and 12 boards.
JAN. 28, 1998: SCHENECTADY 63, CBA 28
The Patriots once again show their defensive prowess, and Deane has another big game against the Brothers, delivering 23 points.
JAN. 30, 1998: SCHENECTADY 68, AMSTERDAM 41
Amsterdam kept fouling, and Schenectady kept going to the line, making 29 of 37 free throws in its second lopsided win against the Rams. Deane makes 20 of 23 free throws and finishes with 28 points.
FEB. 2, 1998: SCHENECTADY 79, TROY 57
Schenectady takes charge in the first quarter and defeats the Flying Horses for the third time in the season. Deane scores 18 of his 29 points in a 28-17 first-quarter run.
FEB. 5, 1998: SCHENECTADY 77, CCHS 47
Assistant coach Mark Sausville and the Patriots have their hands full against Catholic Central and its effective slowdown tactic for a half, but deny the Crusaders’ upset bid with scoring bursts of 25-11 and 26-15 over the final two quarters.
Sausville fills in for head coach Gary DiNola, who is tending to his ill father in Cleveland. The win leaves Schenectady with a 13-0 Big 10 record, a school record for league wins.
FEB. 10, 1998: SCHENECTADY 98, BISHOP GIBBONS 51
Schenectady builds a 40-point, first-half lead and clinches its first Big 10 championship, and the first for the city since DiNola’s Mont Pleasant team won the crown in 1988.
Ben Wiles comes off the bench and hits for a career-high 16 points, which includes four 3-pointers, and for the second time during the regular season, five Schenectady players reach double-figure scoring. The 98 points is a single-game Schenectady record.
FEB. 13, 1998: SCHENECTADY 63, ALBANY 50
With Sausville running the show for the second time in three games, Schenectady completes its first regular season sweep of the Falcons.
Albany trails in the second quarter 16-15, and Schenectady closes the half with a 13-3 run in which Deane nets eight of his game-high 29 points. Hoffman has a superb all-around game with eight points, eight rebounds, four assists and three blocked shots.
FEB. 17, 1998: SCHENECTADY 59, BISHOP MAGINN 44
In a display of power basketball, Schenectady scores all but four points from the lane of the foul line, and outrebounds the Griffins 40-28, to complete a perfect 20-0 regular season. Deane scored 21 points, and Thomas records a double-double with 15 points and 15 rebounds.
The game is a historic one, giving the city its first unbeaten regular season team since Linton went 18-0 in 1969-70. Schenectady becomes the first Big 10 team to go 20-0 in the regular season since Albany in 1986-87, and the first Section II Class A team to go 20-0 in the regular season since Shenendehowa in 1989-90.
FEB. 25, 1998: SCHENECTADY 68, SARATOGA 54
Thomas proves to be too much for the Blue Streaks to handle, scoring a career-high 22 points and grabbing 20 rebounds as the Patriots begin Section II tournament play with a win.
FEB. 28, 1998: SCHENECTADY 64, COLUMBIA 38
Deane lead four double-digit scorers with 16 points, and Hoffman excels at the defensive end as Schenectady earns its third sectional semifinal berth since 1993.
MARCH 7, 1998: SCHENECTADY 69, BURNT HILLS-BALLSTON LAKE 42
The Sparftans hang in for a half in the sectional semifinal, trailing by only three 26-23, but can’t contain Schenectady’s inside trio of Thomas, Hoffman and O’Connor over the final two quarters. Thomas scores 12 of his 15 points in the second half, Hoffman generates eight of his 15 and O’Connor nets seven of his eight as the Patriots go on runs of 15-7 in the third quarter and 28-12 in the fourth.
Schenectady becomes the first city team to win 23 consecutive games in a single season, topping the 22-0 mark of Walt Przybylo’s 1969-70 Linton edition.
MARCH 10, 1998: SCHENECTADY 71, COLONIE 37
The Patriots call upon their entire arsenal and roar to their first Section II championship, the first for a city school district team since Mont Pleasant claimed the Class B crown in 1987, and the first for the city since Bishop Gibbons won the Class B banner in 1994.
Schenectady outshoots and outrebounds Colonie, and forces the Garnet Raiders into 26 turnovers. Deane earns Class A most valuable player honors after collecting 28 points, seven of the Patriots 13 steals and six assists.
O’Connor has his finest game of the Section II tournament, scoring 15 points with a team-best nine rebounds. Sims hits for 12 points, his fourth tournament game with 10 or more.
MARCH 13, 1998: SCHENECTADY 81, MASSENA 43
The Patriots’ first venture into regional play is a complete success. Thomas and Hoffman sparkle with 17 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks, and 16 points, 14 rebounds and five assists, respectively.
MARCH 14, 1998: SCHENECTADY 53, CORCORAN 38
Trailing in the fourth quarter for the first time during the season 38-36, the Patriots respond with a 17-0 run over the final 6:30 to capture the Region 2 title before 3,943 at HVCC.
Schenectady becomes the first Section II Class A team to beat a Section III team in the regionals since Albany topped West Genesee in 1993.
MARCH 21, 1998: SCHENECTADY 85, NEWBURGH FREE ACADEMY 72
Schenectady overcomes 26 turnovers with 54.9 percent shooting from the field and a 48-36 rebounding advantage in a state semifinal win. Deane and Hoffman combine for 26 first-half points as the Patriots open up a 41-32 lead in a matchup of the state’s third and fifth-ranked teams.
Deane leads Schenectady with 23 points, and Thomas has 20 points and 13 rebounds in front of 6,878 fans at the Glens Fall Civic Center, the most ever to watch a Patriots’ game.
MARCH 22, 1998: SCHENECTADY 61, HEMPSTEAD 51
Locked in a 48-48 fourth-quarter tie, Schenectady responds with a closing 13-3 flurry in which Thomas scores six of his 18 points to claim the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class A championship. It is the first state title for a Section II Class A team since Shenendehowa won in 1987.
Deane wins the MVP award following his 28-point performance, and Thomas is named to the all-tournament team. Schenectady ties a Section II single-season record with its 28th win.
MARCH 27, 1998: RICE 66, SCHENECTADY 56
After shooting 52.3 percent against Hempstead, Schenectady struggles to find the mark, hitting 35.4 percent of its shots in a loss to the state’s top-ranked team in the Federation tournament semifinals.
Despite its shooting woes, Schenectady is never out of the game, and uses a 13-5 fourth-quarter charge to get within 60-56. Deane tops Schenectady with 20 points. Rice, ranked 11th nationally by USA Today, goes on to win its third Federation title with an 80-65 victory over Long Island Lutheran.
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