Scotia-Glenville and Troy will meet for the Section II Class A basketball championship tonight. It’s a game that’s been anticipated and talked about for months. It’s a game that almost didn’t happen.
“We found a way to stick to it,” Troy coach Rich Hurley said after his Flying Horses escaped Gloversville’s upset bid Thursday night. “We’re here. We’re surviving, and I think we have a chance in the next one.”
Gloversville erased all of a 17-point third-quarter deficit to take a 50-49 lead before Zach Radz-led Troy (No. 2 seed, 17-3) recovered for a 59-55 win. It was just one more example that there are no foregone conclusions in tournament play. The players from Saratoga Central Catholic and Broadalbin-Perth can tell you all about that after earning their way into finals that will take place earlier today at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
“We just didn’t match their intensity in the second half,” Hurley said of gritty Gloversville (No. 3, 15-5). “Fortunately, we have arguably one of the best players in the area in Zach, and he made big shots.”
Radz scored 10 of Troy’s final 13 points, including a three-pointer that put the Flying Horses ahead for good at 55-52 with 1:40 left. The junior guard finished with 23 points after sealing the contest on two free throws with 2.9 seconds to go.
Scotia-Glenville (No. 1, 20-0) followed with a 71-45 win over Amsterdam (No. 5, 9-11), taking a 42-22 halftime lead on the way to its fourth straight title game, and 47th straight victory against Section II competition. Troy will be appearing in its third consecutive title game.
“We know as much about them as they know about us, which is everything,” Scotia-Glenville coach Jim Giammattei said of Troy.
Troy defeated Green Tech in last year’s Class AA final and lost to Christian Brothers Academy in the 2012 title game. Scotia-Glenville bounced back from a 2011 Class A championship-game loss to Mohonasen by beating Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons in 2012 and Glens Falls last year.
“We’re excited. When we heard Troy was going to play Class A this year, we knew they would be in contention,” said Tartans senior Dom LeMorta, who fired in 18 points against Amsterdam and had season-high 21 in a 72-40 quarterfinal win against Lansingburgh. “This is a game we’ve been looking to.”
Troy features a superb backcourt with Dyaire Holt joining Radz, and a capable front line. Jack McLaren, a 6-foot-8 sophomore, had 10 points and six rebounds Thursday.
“You’ve got to chain together a couple of good halves,” Giammattei said. “We’ve got to do the things every coach talks about — play defense, limit them to one shot.”
Scotia-Glenville turned in another solid defensive effort Thursday, holding its eighth opponent in nine games under 50 points. Mike Palleschi blocked seven shots to go with 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Joe Cremo had 21 points and 13 rebounds. LeMorta went 4-for-5 from three-point range, and his long basket gave the Tartans their big edge at the half.
“We felt pretty good,” said Cremo, a junior who has committed to the University at Albany. “Going into halftime, with that last pass that Alex [Sausville] made to Dom, that was a great pass, unselfish basketball and that’s the way we play at Scotia. Moving the ball and making the extra pass.”
Sausville scored six of his seven points in an 11-2 second-quarter run that gave Scotia-Glenville a 25-11 lead. Scott Stopera finished with eight points and five assists.
“I’ve seen them four, five times. Super coach, super players,” Hurley said of Scotia-Glenville, the state’s top-ranked and only unbeaten Class A team. “There are some things we have to try to take away.”
Troy will bring a No. 3 state ranking into the 7:15 game.
Defending state champ Argyle (No. 1, 17-3) meets Germantown (No. 2, 16-5) in today’s Class D final at 2. Saratoga Catholic (No. 3, 18-3) and Hoosic Valley (No. 1, 18-3) play for the Class C title at 3:45, and Broadalbin-Perth (No. 6, 16-5) and Voorheesville (No. 1, 20-1) play for the Class B crown at 5:30.
Saratoga Catholic went on a 12-4 fourth-quarter run to overhaul 2013 state champ Lake George (No. 2, 19-2) in Wednesday’s semifinal, 51-49. Broadalbin-Perth held off a late charge to deal Hoosick Falls (No. 2, 19-2) its first loss inside Section II, 44-42, in Tuesday’s semifinal.
Guilderland (SC No. 2, 19-2) and Green Tech (B10 No. 2, 15-5) play for the Class AA title Monday at 7:30 at the Times Union Center. Guilderland beat Columbia (SC No. 4, 13-8) Wednesday in five overtimes, 102-100, in what is believed to be the longest game in Section II history.