CLIFTON PARK – After four quarters and two overtime sessions, Mechanicville boys' basketball coach Rian Richardson walked off the Shenendehowa High School floor on Friday night with a wide grin accompanied by an obvious look of relief.
His Raiders had just posted a dramatic 46-45 double-overtime victory over Broadalbin-Perth in a Section II Class B quarterfinal game and Richardson will be the first to admit that his squad could have easily been on the outside looking in as sectional play now moves up north to the Cool Insuring Arena. B-P missed a short driving layup with one second remaining that would have won the game.
“I think I should check myself into the hospital,” Richardson said. “It was a great basketball game, and the kids will remember this game for the rest of their lives. It was like watching a wrestling match, football game and basketball game in between.”
B-P, seeded fifth, nearly won the game when Jaden Wert took an inbounds pass under the basket with one second left, but his shot failed to go in.
“He [Wert] just overshot it a bit,” Patriots' head coach Tucker Gifford said. “I’ll take that shot anytime. Nine out of 10 times, he makes that shot.”
Fourth-seeded Mechanicville, winner of 15 straight games, will play Hoosick Falls in the Section II Class B semifinals on Monday. The Raiders (21-1) lost their only game to Class AA Niskayuna 67-44 on Jan. 3, and the Wasaren League champions entered quarterfinal play coming off a 66-63 overtime win over Greenville.
“Playing in Glens Falls is our Madison Square Garden,” Richardson said. “This is what we work for all year.”
The game was a back-and-forth affair, with both teams giving the capacity crowd something to remember. Points weren’t plentiful, but turnovers, steals and contested shots certainly were.
“It was two different styles of play going at one another,” Gifford said. “They play a 3-2 zone and we play a hard-nosed man-to-man and honestly both defenses stifled each other. I mean, look at the board. It was ugly at times and they play their style really well. They’re a very good basketball team.”
B-P had a 17-14 halftime lead, and it was tied 28-28 after three quarters. The Patriots suffered a big blow with 2:07 left in regulation when Jackson Sassanella fouled out. Sassanella, who scored 18 points in B-P’s 60-52 second-round overtime victory over Cohoes on Tuesday night, finished with 11 points.
“For us to lose Jackson was tough because he’s our leader on the floor,” Gifford said. “He averages 32 minutes a night. He rarely sits, and for him to foul out with what turned out to be about 10 minutes left in the game was huge. But give the rest of the guys credit. They stepped in and played well.”
The Patriots also had a chance to win in regulation, but Dante Calderone’s desperation 3-point attempt fell short. Calderone, a senior, finished with seven points.
“Honestly, I’m mad at myself for not giving Dante a chance to the play at the Glens Falls Civic Center,” Gifford said.
Tyler Dion led Mechanicville with 10 points, and Anthony Attala and Luci D’Ambro chipped in with nine points apiece.
“This was worth the $6 to get in,” Richardson said. “Not one player stood out, and I can’t remember one play. We have 14 great kids on our team.”
Wert led B-P with 18 points, and Mariano DiCaterino chipped in with 10 points.
“I never question what we bring to the table,” Gifford said. “I just get to coach basketball and they bring everything else. These kids worked hard all season and they made great strides.”
Broadalbin- Perth 9 8 11 8 5 4 – 45
Mechanicville 6 8 14 8 5 5 – 46
Broadalbin-Perth scoring: DiCaterino 3-3-10, Sassanella 5-1-11, Wert 5-3-16, Visco 0-1-1, Calderon 3-1-7. Mechanicville scoring: Attala 3-3-9, Dion 4-1-10, Germain 3-0-8, D’Ambrio 4-1-9, Eiseman 0-5-5, Garland 1-3-5. Scoring totals: Broadalbin-Perth 16-9-45, Mechanicville 15-13-46.
Reach Paul Antonelli at [email protected] or @bypaulantonelli on Twitter.