Last season, Troy fell in a hotly contested Class AA final to CBA.
Green Tech was not even playing at the “AA” level a year ago, losing an opening-round Class A playoff game to Amsterdam.
The Flying Horses and Eagles meet for the Section II large-school championship tonight at 8:30 at the Times Union Center.
Troy shut down Shaker in the second half of their semifinal, 52-36, to get another shot at a title.
“I’m very happy to be back in the final,” said Troy coach Rich Hurley, whose 18-3 team has lost once in this calendar year. “It’s tough to play in this environment. The shooting environment is different.”
That didn’t seem to matter to junior guard Jamil Hood Jr. of Green Tech, who burned CBA for 31 points in a 64-60 win that put the young program into the first sectional championship game in school history.
“We’ll certainly have our hands full,” said Hurley of trying to slow Hood. “We’ve got to find a way to slow down that Green Tech juggernaut. Coach [Jamil] Hood is doing a great job with those guys.”
“This is a dream come true,” said coach Hood, the father of the team’s top player. “It means a lot for our community and our school. “
Troy will have a decided height advantage, with 6-foot-9 senior Javion Ogunyemi and 6-foot-7 Jerrell Reid. Reid had 13 points and 11 rebounds in last year’s final.
“We’re going to be relying on guys like Javion and Jerrell to carry us,” said Hurley, who got 16 points from freshman guard Dyaire Holt in the semifinal win.
“We know what we are. We work hard. We had some things we had to deal with this year as a team,” said Hurley. “Some kids are in different roles . It’s not always pretty, but we have a resilient team.”
Troy went 14-2 in the Big 10 this season, and used its two non-league games to play Long Island Lutheran (losing, 75-71) and Newburgh Free Academy (a 68-61 win).
Green Tech is not a member of any Section II league, and went 15-3 during the regular season against competition from both inside and outside the section.
Though his team will be experiencing a sectional championship game for the first time, the younger Hood expressed confidence the Eagles can win.
“This is pretty big for us,” he said. “Every team is beatable. We just have to work hard and keep up the pressure. Teams like Shaker and Troy are established teams, but we can beat them.”