Collapse on the drive and get a hand up on every outside shooter. Play physical and aggressive.
Hoosic Valley did that from start to finish in a defensive mauling of Canajoharie Wednesday night in the Class C semifinals of the Section II basketball tournament at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
“There’s nothing to be said. We got outplayed,” Canajoharie senior guard Kevin Shannon said after his team’s 55-30 loss. “It’s stinks, but you’ve got to look at the positives. We had an absolutely great year.”
The Cougars did, but with a big hiccup at the end.
Canajoharie (No. 4, 17-4) scored off the opening tip when Dillon Veeder dropped in a layup and Josh Gonzalez’s hook shot gave the Cougars a 4-0 lead. A pair of threes by Zach Bowerman later in the first quarter and Logan Sala’s reverse layup with 1:45 left in the second was all the offense Canajoharie could manage before the break.
“You never go up here and get to this venue thinking you’ll win by 25. You’re thinking it’s going to be close,” said Hoosic Valley coach Dan Calhoun. “They had a couple of tough breaks, and we got a couple of breaks.”
Canajoharie was the second Western Athletic Conference team that felt the weight of Hoosic Valley’s defense. The tall and mobile Indians (18-2) pinned down Duanesburg in the first round,
55-29, before turning back Rensselaer, 50-45.
“We have our offense, but it’s defense that wins games,” said
6-foot-4 Hoosic Valley forward John Rooney. “Defense wins championships. That’s something coach always stresses.”
“We always start every year with that as a focus,” said Calhoun. “We take a lot of pride as a team in our defense.”
Canajoharie turned the ball over 11 times to go with its 5-for-19 shooting effort in the first half. Rooney had the last of Hoosic Valley’s seven first-half steals with seconds left and knocked down a hurried three-pointer to give the top-seeded Indians a 27-12 advantage.
“I’ve played in sectionals, and I played at LeMoyne. I’ve been in those situations. Teams are going to go through cold spells, but I’ve never experienced one that went so long,” said Canajoharie coach Phil Schoff. “We couldn’t get a rhythm going.”
Bowerman led Canajoharie with 13 points, and Veeder added seven for the WAC Northern Division champs.
“Hoosic Valley is known for defense. We were ready for their man-to-man. We just didn’t execute,” said Schoff.
Rooney scored 20 points, with a monster one-handed dunk part of the sophomore’s nine in a 13-1 surge to begin the third quarter.
“We figured the offense would take care of itself if we could slow them down. That was the game plan,” said Calhoun. “It all comes down to defense.”
Lake George knocked off Greenwich earlier Wednesday, 57-31, and will test Hoosic Valley in Saturday’s 3:45 Class C title game at the Glens Falls Civic Center. Hoosic Valley made its last title-game appearance in 2008 (Class B) and defeated Broadalbin-Perth.
Lake George (No. 2, 19-2) put together a 13-0 third-quarter run to take command in a rematch of the 2011 Class C final that was won by Greenwich.
The Warriors were up, 30-26, before Greg Rosenthal and Joel Wincowski nailed threes to begin the key spurt, and Ethan Wincowski drilled another long ball. Wincowski finished with 27 points.
Joey Lufkin scored 13 of his 15 points in the first half, Delsharay Pryce had 15 points and 12 rebounds, and Argyle earned an opportunity to defend its Class D championship with a 63-47 semifinal win over Germantown.
HOOSIC VALLEY 55, CANAJOHARIE 30
Bowerman 4-3-13, Sala 1-1-3, Veeder 2-3-7, Kane 0-4-4, Gonzalez 1-1-3. Totals: 8-12-30.
Schoonmaker 1-0-2, Sawyer 3-0-9, Gillespie 0-1-1, Ross-Hixson 3-3-9, Rooney 7-5-20, Acker 2-0-4, Pierre 3-4-10. Totals: 19-13-55.
Canajoharie 10 2 9 9 — 30
Hoosic Valley 14 13 16 12 — 55
Three-point goals: Bowerman 2, Sawyer 3, Rooney.
LAKE GEORGE 57, GREENWICH 31
Carruthers 3-2-8, Oswald 5-0-13, Winch 2-0-4, Barnes 1-2-4, Scott 1-0-2. Totals: 12-4-31.
Brown 2-0-4, J. Wincowski 10-4-27, Zibro 1-0-2, McCoy 2-5-10, Rosenthal 1-1-4, E. Wincowski 4-1-10. Totals: 20-11-57.
Greenwich 6 16 6 3 — 31
Lake George 13 7 27 10 — 57
Three-point goals: Oswald 3, J. Wincowski 3, McCoy, Rosenthal, E. Wincowski.
ARGYLE 63, GERMANTOWN 47
Lewis 11-0-23, Hines 0-1-1, T. Fuchs 2-0-4, Rathjen 3-0-8, A. Fuchs 4-2-11. Totals: 20-3-47.
Haskins 2-1-6, Lufkin 6-2-15, Bristol 1-2-4, Liddle 1-0-2, B. Schmaler 1-0-2, Rosati 6-0-12, R. Schmaler 3-1-7, Pryce 6-3-15. Totals: 26-9-63.
Germantown 8 6 18 15 — 47
Argyle 19 20 12 12 — 63
Three-point goals: Lewis, Rathjen 2, A. Fuchs, Haskins, Lufkin.