Connor Farrington was standing in his favorite spot in the far corner of the court, where he caught a pass from teammate Evan Pescetti and drilled a three-pointer to give Saratoga Central Catholic its first lead moments into the game.
From that point on, the Saints never let Middleburgh back out in front in their 81-71 win in the Section II Class C semifinal matchup at Glens Falls Civic Center Tuesday night.
The junior Farrington had the hot hand, nailing eight of 11 three-pointers and finishing with 34 points for Saratoga Catholic (No. 10, 12-11).
Farrington attributed his shooting to extra reps in practice this week.
“I was shooting a lot of extra shots in practice and got comfortable early,” Farrington said.
Senior Evan Pescetti played a strong game for the Saints on both ends of the floor, from making a spinning layup to dishing out assists, grabbing boards and coming up with defensive stops.
“We like the ball in his hands,” Saratoga Catholic head coach Ken Mantia said. “He can make big shots, but he’s very unselfish.”
Pescetti, who finished with 11 points, opened up the third quarter with a nice drive to the hoop drawing multiple defenders his way. He then kicked it out a quick pass to Farrington, who hit the wide open three-pointer from the corner.
Despite being down double-digits multiple times throughout the game, Middleburgh (No. 3, 14-9) kept it a ballgame.
“My guys fight; they got that little edge to them,” Middleburgh coach Andrew Wright said.
Every time it seemed that Saratoga Catholic was going to run away with the game, sophomore Peyton Olsen would respond with a big play. At 6:05 in the fourth quarter down 14 points, Olsen came out on fire. He went coast-to-coast for a layup, and followed with a pair of three-pointers to spark the Knights. Olsen drove to the lane and hit a tough layup with 58 seconds remaining to cut Saints lead to five, the smallest since the first half.
“He’s tough” said Wright talking about Olsen. “He’s never going to give up.”
Olsen finished with a team-high 30 points.
Despite the fourth-quarter surge, it was too little, too late for the Knights.
Tyler Haraden was a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line during the final minute to not let the Knights pull in any closer.
“Teams always leave him open because he’s a big, but he always makes them all,” Mantia said.
This was Saratoga Catholic’s first semifinal win since 2014, when it beat Lake George 51-49. Saratoga Catholic will face Lake George again, but this time in the Class C championship game.
“It’ll be a big task, but the kids are looking forward to it,” Mantia said.
The Class C championship game will be played at 5 p.m. Friday at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
Brady 4-0-10, Sweer 1-0-2, Boyles 3-2-9, Weaver 1-0-2, Olsen 8-10-30, Coso 7-0-14, Wood 1-2-4. Totals: 25-19-71.
Farrington 11-4-34, Pescetti 3-5-11, Haraden 6-6-20, Bradley 4-0-8, Francomano 2-2-6, Conrad 1-0-2. Totals: 27-26-81.
Middleburgh 12 17 19 23 — 71
Saratoga Catholic 20 14 28 19 — 81
Three-point goals: Brady 2, Boyles, Olsen 4, Farrington 8, Haraden 2.