Just what do you say to your basketball players when they haven’t had a close game yet and are overwhelming favorites to win a sectional championship?
“I congratulated them on being 18-0 and Foothills champs, and then I told them, ‘You can’t be satisfied,’ ” Scotia-Glenville coach Jim Giammattei said Wednesday after the Section II tournament pairings were released. “I don’t think they will be. They’ll try to do everything they can.”
The Tartans have done so much already, winning each game by double digits, including the 300th in Giammattei’s career, while climbing to No. 7 in the state rankings. They’ll take a No. 1 seed into the Class A tournament they swept last winter with wins over Queensbury, Mohonasen and Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons.
“This is a team that’s done everything they’ve had to do to get in this position,” said Giammattei. “As long as we defend, rebound and share the basketball, I like our chances. That’s been our formula.”
Scotia-Glenville capped its 14-0 run through the league Monday with a 75-57 win over Queensbury. Senior Andrew Tabbert scored a career-high 39 points, and sophomore Joe Cremo recorded a triple-double with 11 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.
“My only concern is the layoff of 13 days, but we can’t use that as an excuse,” said Giammattei, who has scrimmages lined up with Watervliet, Green Tech and Albany Academy. “We were in the same situation last year, and we ended up doing OK.”
Scotia-Glenville will begin its bid for a third title since 2009 one week from Sunday at Hudson Valley Community College against the winner of Wednesday’s first-round game between No. 9 Mohonasen (3-13, 4-14) and No. 8 Gloversville (6-8, 7-11).
The Section II tournament begins Friday with five play-in games, including a Class AA matchup between Suburban Council foes No. 9 Niskayuna (3-13, 3-15) and No. 8 Ballston Spa (6-10, 7-10).
“It’s cliche, but it’s 0-0,” said Giammattei. “That’s the way we’re approaching it. We need to focus and play hard.”
Scotia-Glenville reached the 2011 Class A title game before losing to Mohonasen. The year before, the Tartans were ousted in the quarterfinals by Ichabod Crane.
Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake (6-10, 7-11) got the No. 2 Class A seed ahead of Foothills runner-up Glens Falls (11-3, 12-6).
Watervliet (10-3, 10-8), which forfeited five early-season wins due to an ineligible player, got the No. 1 Class B seed over Schuylerville (14-0, 16-1). Watervliet used its Section II title run a year ago as a springboard toward the state final.
“Schuylerville has a better record, but overall strength of schedule was a big criteria,” said Mike Lilac, the Section II basketball chairman. “Three of Watervliet’s losses outside of the forfeits came against state-ranked teams above the Class B level.”
Since the new year, the Cannoneers have gone 10-1 with only a loss to Albany Academy.
“Based on past precedent, we didn’t use forfeits against them,” said Lilac. “Cohoes had an ineligible player several years ago and had to forfeit 18 wins. We weren’t going to seed them last. That would not have been fair to the other schools.”
Mekeel Christian Academy (10-0, 15-2) is the No. 3 seed in Class B ahead of No. 4 Catskill (15-1, 17-1). Mekeel is eyeing a breakthrough after three consecutive semifinal setbacks.
Big 10 champion Christian Brothers Academy (15-1, 16-2) and Suburban Council champion Shaker (14-2, 16-2) are the No. 1 Class AA seeds. CBA made a title-game appearance in each of the last 10 seasons and captured seven banners, including the last four.
Independent Green Tech (13-3) is seeded No. 3 on the Big 10 side behind No. 2 Troy (14-2, 15-3) and ahead of No. 4 LaSalle (12-4, 12-6).
“We looked at a lot of things. Green Tech is obviously a very impressive team, and so is Troy,” said Mark Treanor, a former Niskayuna coach and member of the Class AA committee. “A couple of things that came into play were common opponents and the fact that Troy had more Class AA wins and total wins.”
Green Tech opens against No. 6 Colonie (6-10, 7-11), which was the last Suburban Council school to win the large-school championship, in 2000. Green Tech made its first sectional appearance last year and lost a one-point Class A first-rounder to Amsterdam.
The top seeds in Class C are Hoosic Valley (12-2, 16-2), Lake George (15-1, 16-1), Greenwich (9-5, 13-5) and Canajoharie (12-0, 15-2).