With its rapid ball movement and open looks, Scotia-Glenville built a big lead early in Saturday night’s championship game of the Arthur Hilliard Memorial Basketball Tournament.
“The quick start actually hurt us. We thought it was going to be too easy,” Scotia-Glenville coach Jim Giammattei said. “We got away from the way we play. Our standard operating procedure is pass, pass, pass, pass and then attack.”
Schenectady took advantage of a lull by the state’s No. 3-ranked Class A team and rallied to take the lead before Scotia-Glenville answered with its own comeback in a hard-earned 75-68 triumph at the Pat Riley Sports Center.
The Patriots led by 11 twice in the third quarter, after trailing by 13 in the opening frame.
“We started off moving the ball real well, and we got away from that,” said Scotia-Glenville junior Joe Cremo, the tournament most valuable player. “At the same time, Schenectady was playing some great basketball.”
Cremo played great down the stretch, scoring 13 fourth-quarter points including a three-point play that gave the Tartans a 71-65 lead with 1:20 left and began a 7-0 run.
Cremo finished with 31 points, 18 rebounds and seven assists, three of those feeds coming in the first five minutes, when his team raced to a 17-4 advantage. Alex Sausville scored six points in the flurry, part of the tourney all-star’s 22-point effort.
“Cremo is very tough,” said Schenectady coach Eric Loudis. “He gets the ball and finds the open man, and on the boards, he’s a bull.”
Cremo started a 13-0 third-quarter run by the Tartans (7-0) with a putback basket, and had another as part of his big fourth quarter.
“What hurt us was second-chance opportunities. We didn’t get the rebounds, the one-and-dones,” said Loudis. “They fought and got rebounds.”
Sausville notched the game’s first basket on a putback, and the senior’s layup had the Tartans on top, 17-4.
“I called a timeout and told the guys to chill out and relax. They regrouped, and they answered the call,” said Loudis. “They played a super first half. We were moving the ball inside and outside. Hitting free throws. We got out in transition. After that start, we were firing on all cylinders.”
Schenectady crept within 21-19 at the end of one quarter, with Brandon Langston starting and finishing a 15-4 spurt with three-point hoops. Randall Symes delivered eight of his 18 points, and Keenan Chandler netted seven of his 15 in the second quarter, when the Pats outscored the Tartans, 19-10.
A three by Tobias Holmes boosted Schenectady’s lead to 46-35 in the third frame, and two free throws by Symes made it 48-37.
“There was a little bit, a ‘Wow, what’s going on,’ ” said Sausville. “When we got in the locker room, we calmed down and talked about what we needed to do.”
Giammattei knew the answer.
“We got back to five, six passes and found openings,” he said. “I thought our guys showed resiliance the way they chipped away.”
Scotia-Glenville used its 13-0 run to go up, 50-48, with Sausville turning a steal into a layup and nailing a three Mike Palleschi capped the flurry with an alley-oop basket off an inbound feed from Scott Stopera, one of his six assists.
Shani Moses hit a three to give the Pats a 51-50 lead, and the Tartans went ahead for good on a three by reserve Schuyler Sayles before Sausville dropped in another. Sayles also had an assist and a layup during the 13-0 run earlier on.
“Sayles didn’t play yesterday [in a 79-65 win over Newburgh Free Academy], but he didn’t complain,” said Cremo. “He came in and stepped up.”
“Their kid off the bench hurt us,” said Loudis.
Palleschi had 11 points for the first-time Hilliard participants, including a layup that gave the Tartans a 64-56 fourth-quarter lead. Schenectady got as close as 68-65 with 1:52 left on a three by Langston, who totaled 11 points, six rebounds and six assists.
“We weren’t able to hit big shots to answer,” said Loudis. “We couldn’t match them like we did last night [in a 81-78 win against Columbia].”
Schenectady (4-4) lost in its third straight Hilliard title game after claiming 11 championships in 12 years from 1996-2007. Holmes, who scored 13, and Sayles were named to the all-tournament team, along with Donovan Fields of NFA (5-1) and Jahlil Nails of Columbia (3-4).
Fields scored 20 points, and Ja’kwan Jones added 17 in NFA’s 71-54 consolation-game win over the Blue Devils.
SCOTIA-GLENVILLE 75, SCHENECTADY 68
LeMorta 1-0-3, Sausville 9-2-22, Sayles 2-0-5, Cremo 13-5-31, Palleschi 5-1-11, Stopera 1-0-3. Totals: 31-8-75.
Chandler 5-2-15, Holmes 4-2-13, Langston 4-0-11, Moses 1-0-3, Spottswood 1-0-2, Symes 7-4-18, Wheelings 3-0-6. Totals: 25-8-68.
Scotia-Glenville 21 10 25 19 — 75
Schenectady 19 19 16 14 — 68
Three-point goals: LeMorta, Sausville 2, Sayles, Stopera, Chandler 3, Holmes 3, Langston 3, Moses.
NEWBURGH FREE ACADEMY 71, COLUMBIA 54
NEWBURGH FREE ACADEMY
Fields 8-3-20, Nugent 2-0-5, Dubose 1-0-2, Williams 0-1-1, Mitchell 4-2-10, Velez 1-2-4, Davis 1-0-2, Borden 4-1-10, Jones 8-1-17. Totals: 29-10-71.
Nails 6-9-24, Lott 4-6-15, Luther 2-0-4, Hart 0-5-5, J. Palmer 0-1-1, Scott 0-1-1, Schwenzfeier 1-0-2, Janowski 1-0-2. Totals: 14-22-54.
NFA 17 15 23 16 — 71
Columbia 14 13 9 18 — 54
Three-point goals: Fields, Nugent, Borden, Nails 3, Lott.