GLENS FALLS -- Mekeel Christian Academy was already in an offensive groove when its defensive specialist, Dan McCarty, decided to get in on the act with a 3-point hoist.
"We were running one of our plays, and although I was open the first time, I passed the ball off," McCarty said. "I thought if I get it again and they don't come out, I'm going to shoot."
McCarty's banker from the top of the circle came in the middle of a 13-0 second-quarter run, and was part of an everything-went-right performance for the Lions in their 76-50 Class B semifinal win over Regis Saturday at the New York State Federation Tournament of Champions at Cool Insuring Arena.
The Lions opened with a 12-0 flurry, and their 13-0 spurt soonafter had the New York State Public High School Athletic Association champs aiming toward one more title.
They'll be joined Sunday by Albany Academy, which notched a Class A semifinal win after Mekeel's end-to-end triumph.
"We've already made history," Mekeel senior Jordan Jackson said after scoring 22 points on 9-for-12 shooting from the field. "It would be amazing to get one more."
Mekeel (25-3) tied the program record for wins in a season Saturday after grinding its way to regional and NYSPHSAA titles. Mekeel led after the first quarter 17-6, and followed with a 26-16 burst that included McCarty's first successful 3 this season.
"I shot one earlier in the year and air-balled it," McCarty said. "I didn't shoot another one until today."
"That gave us so much energy," said Jackson, who nailed a 3 right after McCarty's dropped in. "We're used to him taking charges and playing great defense. That 3 really got us going."
McCarty added a layup in the second half, and his 2-for-2 shooting was part of a 53 percent effort by the Lions (27-for-51). In their first-half blitz, they hit at a 57 percent (16-for-28) clip.
"The key today was getting out to a quick start," Mekeel coach Chad Bowman said. "We hit shots. We hadn't been doing that."
The Lions' 43 first-half points were one more than they managed when they beat Seton Catholic (42-37) for the school's first NYSPHSAA title in any sport.
"We came out with a full head of steam," said Jackson, who collected 18 first-half points. "Everyone was playing great defense. Our passing was great. We were finishing. That was Mekeel basketball."
Deonte Holder had 24 points for the state's No. 1 team, and Gideon Agbo had 12 points and 10 rebounds. Jackson and Carter Stewart both had five assists.
"It was nice to finally play a game where everything is working," McCarty said. "When we're hitting shots, it makes everything easier for us."
Holder made two 3s and a short jumper in the 12-0 game-starting run which coincided with the staunch defense Mekeel has featured in its postseason run. Regis, of Manhattan (19-9, Catholic High School Athletic Association), got its first points on a Charlie Bostwick layup with 1:55 left in the first quarter.
Holder hit another of his five 3s in the 13-0 second-quarter run - just before McCarty connected off glass - when the Lions opened up a 32-11 advantage.
"Briarcliff hit a banker against us [state semifinals], and Seton Catholic had one, too," Bowman said of McCarty's 3. "We're not going to make any apologies.
Mekeel and Fannie Lou Hamer play Sunday at 2 p.m. Fannie Lou Hamer of the Bronx (28-4, Public Schools Athletic League) beat Long Island's Lawrence Woodmere (20-6, Association of Independent Schools) in the first semifinal 42-39 behind Charles Davis' 16 points and Frankie Williams' 12 points and 10 rebounds.
"That will probably be a little different," Bowman said. "The have super athletes."
Mekeel has not lost to a Class B team this season. One of its setbacks came against Albany Academy 76-54 in mid-December, and the Lions point to that game as the impetus for their improved defense.
August Mahoney went 7-for-8 from beyond the arc and totaled 31 points, and Marcus Filien had 18 points and 10 boards as Albany Academy (15-6, AIS) rolled to an 83-61 win over Brooklyn Law and Tech (27-4, PSAL).
Mahoney was 6-for-6 on 3s in the first half, and the Cadets were 7-for-9, in building a 49-30 lead.
"It was one of those days where I felt anything I put up is going to go in," said Mahoney, a junior from Saratoga Springs. "Credit to my teammates for getting me the ball in good spots."
Mahoney's first half was part of a 64 percent (18-for-28) shooting performance by the Cadets.
"Some of you may be surprised, but that's the way he plays every single day," Academy coach Brian Fruscio said of Mahoney. "He's really good player. He makes shots in bunches."
Academy will go after its third straight Federation title and fourth overall Sunday at 4 p.m. against Park School of Buffalo (24-5, CHSAA), which posted an 86-61 win over Amityville (27-2, NYSPHSAA).
"These kids seem to come together every year," Fruscio said. "We're really excited to have the opportunity to play that second game."
MEKEEL CHRISTIAN ACADEMY 76, REGIS 50
Manfredi 3-0-7, Gallagher 4-1-9, Rosowicz 1-0-2, Nicholson 2-0-4, Hoopes 1-0-2, Bostwick 4-0-10, Eastwick 3-2-11, McGoldrick 0-2-2, Vittoria 1-1-3. Totals: 19-6-50.
MEKEEL CHRISTIAN ACADEMY
Jackson 9-2-22, Holder 7-5-24, Car. Stewart 2-0-5, Barnhill 2-1-5, Cam. Stewart 1-0-3, McCarty 2-0-5, Agbo 4-4-12. Totals: 27-12-76.
Regis 6 16 18 10 - 50
Mekeel 17 26 18 15 - 76
Three-point goals: Manfredi, Bostwick 2, Eastwick 3, Jackson 2, Holder 5, Car. Stewart, Cam. Stewart, McCarty.
ALBANY ACADEMY 83, BROOKLYN AND TECH 61
Filien 7-4-18, Mahoney 11-2-31, Young 2-0-5, Decker 1-0-3, Jackson 3-1-7, Brown 4-2-12. Totals: 31-10-83.
BROOKLYN LAW AND TECH
Folk 0-2-2, Cuero 2-0-6, Moreno 7-0-17, Desmae 1-02, Kenneki 1-0-2, Pena 1-0-3, Ogbo 6-0-12, Cook 6-0-14, Williams 1-0-3. Totals: 25-2-61.
Albany Academy 23 26 18 16 - 83
Brooklyn LT 19 11 15 16 - 61
Three-point goals: Mahoney 7, Young, Decker, Brown 2, Cuero 2, Moreno 3, Pena, Cook 2, Williams.