When no one was watching, Dom LeMorta did it again.
With Lansingburgh focused on scoring machine Joe Cremo, LeMorta found chances to slip free from the Knights’ man-to-man defense. His teammates found him, and he popped in a season-high 21 points to lead the Tartans to a 72-40 Section II Class A quarterfinal win Sunday at Hudson Valley Community College.
The top-seeded Tartans (19-0) will play No. 5 Amsterdam in the semifinals Thursday in the Glens Falls Civic Center.
“Dom had opportunities, he took full advantage of what he had out there,” Scotia coach Jim Giammattei said. “We found him, and he was able to knock down that open shot. I thought he was real active on the boards, as well. A couple tip-ins and the runner, as well. For whatever reason, they seemed to leave a lot of openings for Dom.”
Part of the reason was the focus on Cremo, who averaged 27 points in the regular season. LeMorta, meanwhile, averaged 8.3.
So the Knights put Anthony Walker on Cremo, and Walker kept him quiet through the first half, allowing him just one point. Cremo had 10 more in the second half, though, and finished with 14 rebounds to make sure he was always contributing in some way.
Last year in the Section II tournament, LeMorta was 6-for-6 from three-point range, scoring 20 points in an 81-41 Tartans win over the Knights.
“Last year, it was the same thing. It was the same kid that killed us,” Lansingburgh coach Gary Pascucci said. “He has our number. Anthony Walker did a terrific job on Cremo. He’s a serious athlete.”
The Knights started the game with an 8-2 lead, thanks to a pair of offensive rebounds by Nick Foster and five second-chance points. As the quarter wore on, the Tartans worked their way into form. They scored the last five points of the quarter and the first five of the second to take a 19-12 lead.
LeMorta said he could feel the momentum shifting, thanks to a new approach on defense.
“We started to pick it up in that second quarter on defense,” he said. “We got a lot more active and were getting tips and finally started rebounding. In the first quarter, we kind of started out slow on defense, but once we got into the second quarter, we got our energy going and started running the floor.”
Giammattei spotted the problem in the first quarter. Lansingburgh was using most of the shot clock on offense, and the Tartans’ zone defense was being lulled to sleep.
“If they’re going to hold the ball for 30 seconds at a time, that means you really only have to dig in for five seconds,” he said. “I thought the first quarter, we were defending all 35 seconds the same, and I’ll call it in a dormant mode. Once we figured out, ‘OK, wait a minute. We only have to play defense for 10 seconds,’ I thought the tables turned right at that point.”
As the Scotia defense started working more efficiently, opportunities to run opened up, and that energetic momentum coursed through everything they did.
In the second quarter, LeMorta scored 10 of his 21 points, including seven straight.
“They know Joe’s a great player,” LeMorta said. “Everybody knows and they’re going to stay on him the whole time. So if you get an open shot, you’ve got to knock it down. They’re not going to guard you, sometimes, and you’ve got to look for your shot. The other starters, we have to hit our open shots.”
Cremo hit his first bucket of the night 35 seconds into the second half. He had his second 23 seconds later.
It was part of a 10-2 run to open the third quarter and put the Tartans up, 44-23, with 3:49 left in the period.
They didn’t look back. They were up 25 when LeMorta left the game with 4:36 still to play, and led by 29 when Cremo and Scott Stopera took a seat.
Stopera finished with 11 points and six assists, and Alex Sausville added 14 points.
Lansingburgh was led by Darnell Sutton with 14 points.
Only Schenectady, a Class AA team, has stayed within 10 points of Scotia this season, dropping a 75-68 decision on Dec. 28. LeMorta said, though, the Tartans are expecting
every team they face from now on to bring that level of competition, starting with Thursday’s semifinal.
“Amsterdam is going to be a great team,” LeMorta said. “They beat Troy a couple weeks ago. We’re going to get ready for them right away, and we’ll be ready to go up in the Civic Center. We’re excited.”
Amsterdam went 7-for-8 from the free-throw line in overtime to defeat Averill Park, 64-61. Kory Bergh scored 18 points, and Marcus Pritcherd added 15 to lead the fifth-seeded Rams.
Myles Joyce finished with 18 points for Averill Park, which shot just 18-for-34 from the free-throw line.
Gloversville breezed into the semifinals with a 68-48 win over Foothills Council
rival Queensbury. Asa Barnhill had a game-high 23 points for the Dragons, and Keyshawn Arnold chipped in with 17.
Troy, the No. 2 seed, ran its record to 16-3 with a 62-48 victory over Mohonasen. Dyaire Holt led the Flying Horses with 19 points.
Foster 2-0-4, Carr 4-1-10, Jones 2-0-6, Sutton 6-0-14, Walker 1-0-2, McDonough 1-0-2, Barker 0-1-1, Miller 0-1-1. Totals: 16-3-40.
LeMorta 9-0-21, Sausville 5-3-14, Cremo 4-3-11, Palleschi 3-2-8, Stopera 4-0-11, Sayles 1-0-2, TenEyke 1-0-3, Clune 1-0-2. Totals: 28-8-72.
Lansingburgh 12 9 9 10 — 40
Scotia-Glenville 14 20 17 21 — 72
Three-point goals: Carr, Jones 2, Sutton 2, LeMorta 3, Sausville, Stopera 3, TenEyke.
AMSTERDAM 64, AVERILL PARK 61
Rouse 2-3-8, Druziak 1-4-6, Bergh 7-0-28, Martin 2-0-5, Valentin 2-2-6, Pritchard 5-5-15, Stanavich 1-4-6. Totals: 20-18-64.
Fahrenkopf 4-2-11, Moak 2-5-10, Coffey 2-1-5, Ernest 1-2-4, Rollins 1-0-2, Joyce 5-5-18, Yetto 2-2-6, Sears 2-0-4, Radzminsky 0-1-1. Totals: 19-18-61.
Amsterdam 14 10 12 19 9 — 64
Averill Parl 11 15 17 12 6 — 61
Three-point goals: Rouse, Bergh 4, Martin, Fahrenkopf, Moak, Joyce 3.
GLOVERSVILLE 68, QUEENSBURY 48
Voorhis 0-5-5, Daley 1-0-2, Minott 3-1-9, Troelstra 2-0-5, Rodriguez 3-0-6, O’Leary 5-8-19, Dennett 1-0-2. Totals: 15-14-48.
Scholl 3-0-9, Barnhill 9-2-23, Dukes 5-0-10, Goodwin 4-1-9, Arnold 6-2-17. Totals: 27-5-68.
Queensbury 9 6 9 24 — 48
Gloversville 15 14 14 25 — 68
Three-point goals: Minott 2, Troelstra, O’Leary, Scholl 3, Barnhill 3, Arnold 3.
TROY 62, MOHONASEN 48
Jones 0-1-1, Carter 0-3-3, Fusco 0-5-5,Richardson 7-2-16, Tallman 1-0-3, Wicks 4-2-12, Walker 3-0-8. Totals: 15-13-48.
Carmello 0-1-1, Holt 8-3-19, McLaren 3-2-11, Watson 2-2-6, Radz 5-0-15, Walston 2-2-6, Nicoll 1-0-2, Kempster 1-0-2. Totals: 23-10-62.
Mohonasen 9 12 17 10 — 48
Troy 14 18 19 11 — 62
Three-point goals: Tallman, Wicks 2, Walker 2, McLaren, Radz 5.