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Waterford basketball halted in title bid

Waterford basketball halted in title bid

Lake George wins fourth straight Class C crown
Waterford basketball halted in title bid
TJ Kelley of Waterford-Halfmoon made the all-tournament team after scoring 23 points in the Class C final.
Photographer: Erica Miller

GLENS FALLS —  Make that four in a row for Lake George, but it took a big comeback to get it done.

Down by nine early in the second half and trailing by six with a quarter to go, the Warriors rallied to upend Section II boys' basketball tournament surprise Waterford-Halfmoon 52-48 in the Class C championship game Friday at Cool Insuring Arena.
 
Luke Pelchar and Cameron Orr both sank two free throws in the closing seconds to finish off a 16-6 fourth-quarter run by the Warriors.
 
"We couldn't have any doubts," Pelchar, a 6-foot-6 junior, said after earning the Class C MVP award. "We stayed strong. We kept playing and did our thing."
 
Not only did Friday's win give Lake George four straight Section II flags, but six gong back to the 2013 tournament. Three Lake George teams in that span went on to claim state titles.
 
"It's extra special," Lake George coach Blake White said. "Last year's group was established. This year, we did it with a whole new group."
 
Pelchar had 19 points and seven rebounds to lead Lake George, Juan Garcia added 10 points and the Warriors limited Waterford to 17 in the second half.
 
"Even though our offense was struggling, we gave up 17 points in the second half," White said. "Great effort. Defense kept us in the game."
 
Waterford (No. 11, 16-7) had beaten three higher-seeded teams to reach the final, previously topping No. 7 Fort Plain, No. 3 Granville and No. 6 Schoharie, before its title bid was halted by Lake George (No. 4, 19-5). Waterford won its last area championship in 1994.
 
Michael Talavera sank a 3-pointer to pull Waterford into a 48-48 tie, and, after both teams came up empty, Pelchar drew a foul and hit two free throws with 19.4 seconds to go. Waterford's TJ Kelley lost the handle while driving down the lane and Orr was fouled after grabbing the ball. His free throws clinched the win with 3.8 seconds left.
 
Kelley paced the Fordians with 23 points, going 4-for-5 from beyond the arc, and Talavera finished with 11 points and eight rebounds.
 
"Last year was exciting, too, but this year, I had a lot more responsibility," Pelchar said.
 
Scotia-Glenville was the last Section II boys' basketball team to string four consecutive titles from 2012-15.
 
W-H 12 19 11 6 — 48
Lake George 14 12 10 16 — 52
Waterford-Halfmoon scoring: Fairclough 2-0-5, Pontore 1-0-2, Kelley 7-5-23, Houle 1-0-2, Bodek 2-1-5, Talavera 5-0-11. Lake George scoring: Pelchar 6-7-19, C. Clarke 2-3-7, S. Clarke 2-0-4, Garcia 4-0-10, Orr 3-2-9. Scoring totals: Waterford-Halfmoon 18-6-48, Lake George 18-12-52.

Reach Jim Schiltz at 518-395-3143, [email protected] or @jim_schiltz on Twitter.

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