That was Green Tech’s battle cry heading into Monday night’s Section II Class AA championship game with Guilderland at the Times Union Center.
“When we played Shenendehowa in the semifinals, there was no celebration,” said Green Tech coach Jamil Hood. “The guys knew what they wanted. They were not satisfied with just getting back.”
Jamil Hood Jr. sank a pair of three-point baskets in a closing fourth-quarter run as the Eagles toppled the Dutchmen, 65-56, after falling to Troy in the large-school final a year ago.
“Last year, we broke down a little bit near the end,” said Hood Jr., the Class AA MVP. “We had to stay mentally tough. When the game was close at the end, we had to stick to it.”
Hood Jr.’s long distance hoist with 38 seconds left gave Green Tech a 61-56 advantage, and all but clinched the school’s first Section II title in any sport before a crowd of 4,868. The basket gave Hood Jr., who grew up in Guilderland, 27 points to go with six rebounds and four assists.
“Step back. Hit it. That’s his shot,” Hood said of his son’s fourth three, from the left baseline. “He works on that shot before practice and after practice.”
Andrew Platek’s drive had Guilderland trailing, 58-56, when Hood Jr. delivered the game’s most crucial basket. The 12th-grader had missed a short jumper and grabbed his own rebound just before, and made his clutch hoop following an Eagles’ timeout.
“It felt good when I released it. I knew it was going to go in,” said Hood Jr. “That was the dagger.”
Hood Jr. scored 14 second-half points, his last six coming in a 15-4 charge to close out the game. The senior guard assisted on a layup by Ramion Burt to begin the late burst and then nailed a three before Burt’s hook shot stretched the Eagles’ lead to 57-52.
Burt had 10 points and nine rebounds for Green Tech, a Section II tournament participant for only the fourth time, and Isiah Dobhere scored all 12 of his points in the first half.
“They made some shots late, and we didn’t,” said Guilderland coach Ron Osinski.
Platek led Guilderland (SC No. 2, 19-3) with 17 points, Billy Floyd had 12 points, Marc du Moulin added 10 and Matt Cerutti contributed 15 rebounds and five assists.
Platek’s three-point hoop had Guilderland on top, 52-50, before Burt began Green Tech’s answering flurry with 4:45 remaining.
“We challenged them the whole game,” said Osinski. “It’s hard to get here, and when you get here, it’s tough when you don’t get it done.”
Green Tech (B10 No. 2, 16-5) didn’t get it done last year in the title tilt as Troy surged late for a 70-55 victory.
“Right after we lost, we took a day or two off, and then we went back to work,” said Hood Jr. “We kept going and going. It’s not easy getting back, and the hours and hours paid off for us.”
Du Moulin tied the game at 19-19 on a drive early in the second quarter, and Green Tech went on a 15-6 run to build its largest advantage at 34-25. Dobhere scored eight of those 15 points, and Hood Jr. netted the other seven.
Vin Simeone hit a three and set up Platek for a layup to help Guilderland get within 35-32 at the break.
Hood Jr. put down a slam dunk on an alley-oop pass from Jizziah Carr to begin the second half, and he sank a pair from the line to give the Eagles a 48-44 lead with one frame to go.
Green Tech will take on Section III champ Utica Proctor (18-3) Saturday at 7:30 in a regional game at Hudson Valley Community College. Proctor advanced with an 83-79 win over Cicero-North Syracuse.
GREEN TECH 65, GUILDERLAND 56
Floyd 4-4-12, V,Simeone 2-4-9, Platek 7-1-17, R.Simeone 0-2-2, Bruni 1-0-2, DuMoulin 3-4-10, Cerutti 2-0-4. Totals: 19-15-56.
Ward 2-0-5, Clark 1-0-3, Carr 2-0-4, Hood 10-3-27, McLean 2-0-4, Burt 5-0-10, Dobhere 3-5-12. Totals: 25-9-65.
Guilderland 17 15 12 12 — 56
Green Tech 12 18 13 17 — 65
Three-point goals: V.Simeone, Platek 2, Clark, Hood 4, Dobhere.