Guilderland shot nearly 50 percent from the field, but struggled mightly from the foul line in Wednesday night’s Section II Class AA semifinal game with Columbia at the Times Union Center.
“I don’t know what it was,” coach Ron Osinski said after his Dutchmen outlasted the Blue Devils in a five-overtime thriller, 102-100. “Maybe it was the background. I really don’t know. I think it became contagious.”
Billy Floyd was the lone Dutchmen immune to the bug, starting the fifth overtime with a three-point basket and then going 7-for-8 from the line to lift his team to a third win over the Blue Devils, and by far the most difficult to attain.
“I just tried to stay with it,” said Floyd, a senior guard who finished with a career-high 22 points. “Everyone was down. Everyone was hurt. Everyone was tired.”
Floyd went 9-for-11 from the line while the rest of the Dutchmen were a combined 8-for-32 in a game that was full of frustration, but ended in a trip to the title game for the first time since a 2004 loss to Christian Brothers Academy.
“We missed some free throws. We missed some easy shots, and we’ll address that in practice,” said Osinski. “The bottom line is that we didn’t play our best game, but the guys were resilient.”
Columbia (SC No. 4 seed, 13-8) was, too. The Blue Devils led only once early in regulation, and trailed by as many as 10 in the second quarter before chipping away.
“Columbia stuck some big shots when they had to,” said Osinski.
Jahlil Nails poured in 41 points for Columbia, including a runner that tied the game at 63-63 and brought on the first overtime.
“To get back to the final four and go down swinging like this, I’m so proud of my guys,” said retiring Columbia coach Jim Obermayer. “Guilderland is a great team and they got us good two times, but we made some adjustments and our guys believed.”
Matt Cerutti piled up 29 points and 26 rebounds for Guilderland (SC No. 2, 19-2), Marc duMoulin had 28 points and 10 rebounds, Andrew Platek fouled out with 11 points and 10 rebounds and Vin Simeone had nine points and seven assists. DuMoulin’s late layups tied the game at 67-67 and 89-89 and forced second and fifth OTs.
Elijah Lott collected 26 points and 21 rebounds for Columbia, and Austin Miller came off the bench to generate 16 points.
Miller’s three tied the contest at 74-74 at the end of the second overtime, just after Floyd made a pair from the line. Miller also sank a pair of jumpers in the third and fourth OTs.
“I’ve never been through anything like this,” said Floyd. “Two-and-a-half-hour game. Five overtimes. It was a crazy experience.”
The most unheralded of Guilderland’s starting five, Floyd’s final foul shots with 26.4 seconds left gave the Dutchmen a 101-95 lead.
“I was confident. I work at it every day,” said Floyd. “I knew if I got my chance, I had a good shot at making them.”
Guilderland and Green Tech (B10 No. 2, 15-5) will play for the title Monday at 7:30.
Najee Ward scored 15 points in Green Tech’s 58-52 win over Shenendehowa (SC No. 1, 18-3). Kevin Huerter led the Plainsmen with 16.
GUILDERLAND 102, COLUMBIA 100
Floyd 5-9-22, V. Simeone 4-0-9, Platek 5-0-11, R. Simeone 0-1-1, Bruni 1-0-2, duMoulin 13-2-28, Cerutti 12-5-29. Totals: 40-17-102.
Nails 16-7-41, Lott 11-4-26, Luther 2-0-5, Briggs 1-0-2, Miller 6-2-16, Hart 0-2-2, Janowski 3-1-8. Totals: 39-16-100.
Guilderland 20 17 14 12 4 7 7 8 13 — 102
Columbia 12 17 19 15 4 7 7 8 11 — 100
Three-point goals: Floyd, V. Simeone, Platek, Nails 2, Luther, Miller 2, Janowski.
GREEN TECH 58, SHENENDEHOWA 52
Ward 6-0-15, Clark 1-3-6, Carr 3-0-7, Hood 3-8-14, McLean 4-0-8, Burt 3-2-8. Totals: 20-13-58.
K. Huerter 6-2-16, Lewis 1-0-3, T. Huerter 4-2-12, Hicks 3-2-8, Fischer 4-4-13. Totals: 18-10-52.
Green Tech 15 14 11 18 — 58
Shenendehowa 12 6 17 17 — 52
Three-point goals: Ward 3, Clark, Carr, K. Huerter 2, Lewis, T. Huerter 2.