Scotia-Glenville dug in at one end and went deep at the other in a Class A semifinal game of the New York State Federation Tournament of Champions late Friday night.
The Tartans tightened up their 3-2 zone after a lackluster start, and used the longball in a turnaround second quarter to build a lead it never surrendered in a 70-57 win over Albany Academy before a large crowd at the Times Union Center.
The Cadets didn’t go down easy in their bid to get back to the Federation final, slicing a nine-point halftime deficit to two in the third frame before the Tartans (26-0, New York State Public High School Athletic Association) answered again.
“We got off to a slow start. We weathered the storm, which is something we often talk about,” said Tartans junior Joe Cremo, who had 22 points and 11 rebounds. “I was talking to Scotty [Stopera] and Dom [LeMorta] and wanted to get some consecutive stops because when we do that, the numbers usually go up.”
LeMorta fired in 20 points, Alex Sausville netted 10 and Stopera contributed eight points and eight assists.
Scotia-Glenville will take on Holy Trinity (25-4, Catholic High School Athletic Association) in today’s final at 5 p.m. The Titans of Long Island ralled in the fourth quarter for a 71-65 win over Washington Heights (29-4, Public School Athletic League) earlier Friday.
“We’ve got one to go, and we’re going to play our heart out for our school and our community,” LeMorta said. “They’ve been so supportive, and we want to get for them.”
Scotia-Glenville turned the game pitting the state’s top-ranked teams in its favor with a 26-12 second-quarter run that included a 5-for-6 three-point shooting effort. Sausville and LeMorta both nailed two of them, and Stopera sank the last just before the buzzer sounded for a 36-27 Tartans’ advantage.
“We had to adjust and see where the shots were going to come from,” said S-G coach Jim Giammattei. “Academy knows us as well as anyone. It took us a while to find the gaps.”
Academy (14-5, Association of Independent Schools) got within 39-37 midway through the third on two foul shots by John Moutopoulos. Cremo delivered six points in an 8-4 Scotia-Glenville push to close the frame. LeMorta and Schuyler Sayles both made two free throws, LeMorta dropped in a floater and Sausville made good on a drive to start the final quarter as the Tartans’ lead grew to 55-41.
All of Scotia-Glenville’s state playoff games have included a significant run. The Tartans jumped on Peru, Bishop Ludden and John Glenn early before their 21-2 fourth-quarter charge subdued East High of Rochester in the game that sent them to the Federation event.
Albany Academy became just the second Capital Region boys’ team to win a Federation title last year when the Cadets edged Nazareth on a buzzer-beating three and then shut down John Adams with a superb defensive effort. Watervliet was the first area champ in 1991 (Class C).
Palleschi 1-3-5, Cremo 10-2-22, LeMorta 6-6-20, Stopera 2-3-8, Sausville 3-2-10, Sayles 1-3-5. Totals: 23-19-70.
Knezovic 3-0-7, Donohoe 1-0-2, Jackson 3-2-8, Jerome 6-1-17, Moutopoulos 3-10-16, Flaherty 2-0-5, Signor 1-0-2. Totals: 19-13-57.
S-G 10 26 11 23 — 70
AA 15 12 14 16 — 57
Three-point goals: LeMorta 2, Stopera, Sausville 2, Knezovic, Jerome 4, Flaherty.