SARATOGA SPRINGS — Shane O'Dell just kept on scoring, and when Ogdensburg Free Academy got close in the second half of Tuesday's Class B regional semifinal basketball game, Schalmont stiffened.
O'Dell scored 37 points, including the 2,000th of his career, and the Sabres used their second significant push to subdue the Blue Devils 75-63 at Saratoga High School for the program's first state tournament win since 1996.
Schalmont went on a 20-9 run spanning the third and fourth quarters after OFA had made it a three-point game. With that spurt, the Sabres all but sealed another win for a team that saw its last two seasons end with Section II title-game defeats.
"To not make it here the last two years and getting over the hump, and winning this game, this is huge," Schalmont coach Greg Loiacono said.
Schalmont (19-6) is a step away from reaching the state final four, like the high school's 1996 edition did after it beat Nottingham in an overtime regional game.
Schalmont will take on Saranac (Section VII, 18-4) Friday at 7 p.m. at Beekmantown High School in a Class B regional final.
"Only one other Schalmont team got to the [state] final four," said O'Dell, Schalmont's 6-foot-6 senior leader who grabbed 16 rebounds to go with his 37 points. "Everyone in that locker room wants it bad. We all love each other. We don't want to lose."
That was apparent after OFA (Section X, 20-5) closed within 45-42 late in the third quarter. Schalmont answered with its big surge in which O'Dell notched 15 of the 20 points.
"We just talked about getting stops," Loiacono said. "Limiting their fast break, and keeping number 34 off the boards."
Jackson Jones was the No. 34 Loiacono was referring to. The 6-4 senior's foul shot had gotten OFA within three with 1:40 left in the third quarter, and had given him 21 points for the game.
Jones scored only once more, with 19.4 seconds left, when his putback basket reduced Schalmont's advantage to 72-63.
"We didn't change anything," Loiacono said of defending Jones. "We got on them to take it personally if he scored on you."
Jake Sanford, a 6-2 senior, had the defensive assignment to cover Jones.
"It was Jake with help," O'Dell said. "Jake locked him [Jones] up."
Sanford also drew three charging calls as part of his defensive effort.
"Jake took 36 [charges] last year, and he has 30 this year," Loiacono said. "That's sacrificing for the team. That's a want to win."
O'Dell scored six points in the first quarter, eight in the second quarter, 10 in the third and 13 in the fourth to once again anchor Schalmont's offense.
"I had heard of him and watched video," Jones said of O'Dell. "He's a pretty good player."
O'Dell needed nine points to reach 2,000, and got there on a drive early in the second quarter that was part of a 9-0 flurry. Schalmont outscored OFA 24-12 in the second quarter to erased a 16-14 deficit and never trailed afterward.
"We just celebrated Shane's 2,000th point," Loiacono said moments after emerging from the Sabres' locker room. "All he cares about is winning."
Austin Redmond delivered all eight of his points in the second quarter, and Tyler Pepicelli sank two of Schalmont's four 3s during that stretch.
Pepicelli finished with 12 points on 4-for-6 shooting from 3-point territory, and Schalmont went 8-for-17 from beyond the arc.
"We finally shot the ball," Loiacono said. "We've been working on it. Since Friday, we've gotten a lot of shots off."
OFA used a 14-7 run to start the third quarter and get within three. Jones scored half of those 14 points.
"We got a few stops and we were right there," Jones said of the third quarter. "Then they went on a run. We couldn't get those stops."
Trent Randle added 10 points for Schalmont.
OFA 16 12 16 19 — 63
Schalmont 14 24 13 24 — 75
Ogdensburg Free Academy scoring: Griffith 2-0-5, Powers 1-0-3, Sargent 6-2-19, Johnson 2-6-10, LaRose 1-0-3, Jones 10-3-23. Schalmont scoring: Sanford 2-0-5, Pepicelli 4-0-12, Redmond 3-0-8, Randle 3-3-10, Brown 0-3-3, O'Dell 14-9-37. Scoring totals: Ogdensburg Free Academy 22-11-63, Schalmont 26-15-75.