Scotia-Glenville had its opportunities down the stretch, chances to cut into Bishop Ludden’s lead.
“We were right there,” coach Jim Giammatei said after the Tartans’ perfect season was halted Saturday night in a state Class A quarterfinal game. “We knew we would have to make shots to beat them. We had looks. We didn’t get it done.”
Scotia-Glenville came up empty on five consecutive possessions after mounting a gritty comeback and fell short, 58-53, in a tense and physical regional final at the SRC Center at Onondaga Community College.
“We battled and stayed together as a team,” said Scotia-Glenville senior Andrew Tabbert, who closed out his career with a nine-point, seven-rebound, six-assist effort. “A couple of times, I lost my head, and Joe [Cremo] and Alex [Sausville] grabbed me, and I got it back. We held together.”
Scotia-Glenville (22-1) was within one after Dom LeMorta’s three-pointer, 45-44, and again after a layup by Cremo, 47-46. Two foul shots by Zach Walser and Ben Hackett’s layup after a steal gave Bishop Ludden (Section III, 20-2) a slight gap it would nurse over the final five minutes.
“We knew to offset their size, we’d have to shoot incredibly well,” said Giammattei. “We didn’t do that. Sure, I’m proud of the way we battled, but we had to make more shots.”
Scotia-Glenville made only 20 of 52 shots from the field and missed 10 of 17 free throws in by far its biggest offensive struggle this season.
“We held them to 58 points. That’s a good defensive task. They have so many good players,” said Giammattei. “We needed more than 58.”
Cremo paced the Tartans with 19 points and nine rebounds, Sausville netted 11 points and LeMorta had 10.
LeMorta hit his second three of the final quarter and dropped in a foul shot after two of them by Hackett to get the Tartans within 55-51 with 1:26 left. Their next five trips down the floor ended on two missed threes, two steals by Cameron Littlejohn and a shot block by 6-foot-6 Dan Kaigler.
Bishop Ludden kept it close in the end by making just three of 10 foul shots.
“Dom’s three was a huge shot,” Tabbert said. “Everyone was fired up. You could feel the energy. We kept battling, but we couldn’t quite get it done.”
Hackett scored nine of his 19 points in the third quarter, including a three-point play and two foul shots afterward to give Bishop Ludden its biggest lead of the game at 42-34. A layup by Hackett and Antoine Montgomery’s foul shot gave the state’s No. 3-ranked team a 45-38 lead entering the final period.
The game was tied five times in a tight, halfcourt-dominated first half, and there were six lead changes, the last when Hackett’s layup gave the Gaelic Knights a 26-25 edge.
Bishop Ludden was up at the half, 30-27, after 6-5 Jack Rauch and Hackett sandwiched layups around a putback basket by Tabbert.
Cremo scored 11 first-half points, which was offset by Kaigler and Littlejohn, who both had 10 for Bishop Ludden, the 2012 state Class B champion. Kaigler finished with 14 points and six rebounds, and Littlejohn closed with 11 points and four steals.
Scotia-Glenville also lost in regional finals last year and in 2009 against Section III’s Jamesville-DeWitt.
“Our season started one year ago almost to the day, when we lost to Jamesville-DeWitt,” said Giammatei, whose Tartans had climbed to No. 5 in the state rankings. “I can’t emphasize how much work they put in and how much they accomplished. It’s been amazing.”
Bishop Ludden will see state semifinal action Saturday morning at 10:45 at the Glens Falls Civic Center against Rochester Aquinas (Section V, 18-4) or Buffalo McKinley (Section VI, 18-3).
Glens Falls, behind Jimmer Fredette, was the last Section Section II Class A team to win a regional championship in 2007.
Tabbert 2-5-9, LeMorta 3-1-10, Sausville 4-0-11, Cremo 9-1-19, Stopera 0-0-0, Palleschi 2-0-4. Totals: 20-7-53.
Montgomery 0-1-1, Littlejohn 4-1-11, Hackett 7-5-19, Hawk 1-0-3, Rauch 1-4-6, Kaigler 6-2-14, Walser 1-2-4. Totals: 20-15-58.
Scotia-Glenville 16 11 11 15 — 53
Bishop Ludden 16 14 15 13 — 58
Three-point goals: LeMorta 3, Sausville 3, Littlejohn 2, Hawk.