Final four appearances are becoming a common thing for boys' basketball teams coached by Eric Loudis.
The former Schenectady coach took his last team there to one, and he has his Lansingburgh squad in a semifinal for a second time in three years after Saturday's 83-48 Section II Class A win against Hudson Falls at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy.
"This group has been with me the last couple of years," Loudis said after his Knights (No. 3, 18-3) ended a 16-day layoff with a 46-point opening half against the Tigers. "It's a fun bunch. They love coming to the gym."
Loudis does, too, and he's hoping to get more opportunities after Thursday's 5 p.m. semifinal with Averill Park (No. 2, 14-7) at Cool Insuring Arena in Glens Falls. Gloversville (No. 4, 19-3) and Mekeel Christian Academy (No. 1, 18-2) meet in the second semifinal at 6:30 p.m.
"Our defense and energy are leading us," Loudis said. "We're causing so many turnovers for the other team. If we stay focused, we can keep it rolling."
Neither of Loudis' previous teams were able to clear the semifinal hurdle.
Loudis' best run in his seven-season stint at Schenectady ended with a Class AA semifinal loss to Colonie in 2017. His 2018 Lansingburgh group lost to eventual champion Mohonasen in overtime in the Class A semifinals. Mekeel beat Lansingburgh last year in the Class A quarterfinals.
"You can argue that the As have been a little tougher than the AAs the last few years," Loudis said. "We've shown over the years that we can play with those teams. We've had some tough draws."
Loudis sensed his team led by Isaiah Knight, Scott Teta and Vinny Tario was tournament-ready late in the regular season when it defeated La Salle, Schalmont and Mohonasen in a span of four days. Saturday's victory confirmed his thought.
"We don't have a big man, but we're quick," Loudis said. "We might not be tall, but we've got some guys with stature. We're showing what hard work and determination can do."
Averill Park knocked off 2019 Class A champion Troy 48-44 in its quarterfinal Saturday, while Gloversville edged Queensbury 59-55 and Mekeel beat Amsterdam 84-49. The Class A title game is Saturday at 12:45 p.m.