Scotia-Glenville didn’t have any cheerleaders on Saturday night.
Well, they had one.
But not a pretty one.
Blood still trickling from under a bandage over his left eye, Dom LeMorta freely let tears join the mix in front of the TV cameras after the Tartans survived double overtime and tenacious Troy for a 77-75 Section II Class A championship victory at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
LeMorta missed most of the second quarter after catching an elbow in the face and missed the last 3:40 of regulation and overtime after fouling out.
He contributed as much as anyone to the victory, though, and served as a symbol of the Tartans’ undefeated championship season.
Scotia got production from everyone, including LeMorta and the player who replaced him, Schuyler Sayles, who hit a big three-pointer in each of the overtime periods.
By then, all LeMorta could do was watch and exhort his team to keep plugging away. Based on the result, that ended up being plenty.
“This is a team, a family …” he said, his voice cracking in front of the cameras.
“I just wanted to get back out there so bad. But I know those guys on the bench, I trust them so much. Schuyler and I worked so hard over the summer getting countless shots up in the gym, and I knew he would come up clutch. I believe in him and the team so much.”
“Schuyler Sayles picked up where he left off,” head coach Jim Giammattei said. “We have Joe Cremo, but the little parts on this team are what makes it. They all have to fit together, and they really do.”
The LeMorta puzzle piece was disfigured in the first half, then removed from the box entirely in the second, but he still found a way to fit in.
He was hurt in the second quarter trying to cut off a driving lane for Troy’s Maurice Watson.
Watson got the call, and LeMorta, who needed a few minutes to pick himself up, got the heave-ho to the locker room for repairs.
“I thought I was fine. I saw the lights and got a little dizzy,” he said. “You can ask the trainer. I was shaking my brains out. The guy kept telling me, ‘You’ve got to stop shaking.’ I was like, ‘I’ve got to get back out there. I don’t care what it is.’ I didn’t care what I had, I had to get back on the floor, because I love those guys so much and I didn’t want to let those guys down.”
Wearing a band of white tape around his head to keep the bandage in place, LeMorta hit two of the biggest shots of the second half, a pair of threes on kickout passes from Cremo as Scotia built a 56-46 lead.
Then he promptly fouled out.
After the game, LeMorta looked like he wasn’t going to let go of Sayles in a bearhug.
He looked like someone who didn’t want to let go of the season, either.