Friday, March 3, 2017

Championship Week - The Semis in Review, some thoughts & videos

With Lake George and Stillwater's wins in the Class C Semifinals on Thursday, we close the book on the semifinals and get ready for the championships coming to the Glens Falls Civic Center tonight and tomorrow.

But first, let's take a look back:

The Scores:
Class D Semifinals
Fort Ann 56, St. Johnsville 42 | Recap
Argyle 75, Northville 65 | Recap

Class C Semifinals
Stillwater 57, Maple Hill 43 | Recap
Lake George 69, Granville 55 | Recap

Class B Semifinals
Mekeel Christian Academy 55, Voorheesville 51 | Recap
Glens Falls 77, Ichabod Crane 55 | Recap

Class A Semifinals
Averill Park 51, Scotia 40 | Recap
Lansingburgh 55, Mohonasen 50 | Recap

Class AA Semifinals
Bethlehem 64, LaSalle 58 | Recap
Colonie 72, Schenectady 61 | Recap

Team of the Semis: Averill Park

It's no secret that the Warriors played this season with heavy hearts after former player and alum Ryan Bielawa was killed in South Carolina back in October.  They dedicated the season to him, and kept him in their hearts all season long, taking his #10 wherever they went, including Wednesday night at the Glens Falls Civic Center.  Everyone on that team feels Bielawa was responsible for that win over Scotia, and why Averill Park is now 32 minutes away from possibly hoisting their first Class A Championship in 11 years. 

Player of the Semis: Joe Girard III, Glens Falls

Joe Girard III's 28 second half points gave the Indians the comfortable cushion they needed to dispatch of the Ichabod Crane Riders and secure their spot in Friday's Championship against #2 seeded Mekeel Christian Academy.  He may of started cold, but buckets inside, outside and at the line helped propel his Indians to victory.

Game of the Semis: Mohonasen vs. Lansingburgh

The Class A Semifinal between these two teams seemed tight throughout, despite Lansingburgh fronting the Warriors a head start.  It was a game where you never knew who was going to pull through until the very end, and forced both teams to go all out at the end, giving the crowd that came to the Glens Falls Civic Center Wednesday evening a thrill.

With a couple exceptions, the team that came out in front at the final buzzer had to make a mid-game comeback in order to get ahead of their opposition as the higher seed.  Lake George was the only team who didn't wear the lighter jersey to advance in the end, but like said in our recap, their win over Granville was less of a surprise than Dave Jones figuring out what his team needed to do to knock off the Golden Horde.

In all these comeback cases, the opposition cooled down.  Whether it was bad turnovers or bad shot selection, or a case where the better team on paper made the necessary adjustments.  Case in point, Glens Falls, who yielded a early lead to Ichabod Crane.  Leading scorer Joe Girard III had an uncharacteristic 14 points at the half before exploding in the 2nd half for 28.  Whatever adjustments the Indians made at the half, it worked.

But all of these teams with cold starts cannot be doing this in their next game.  A slow start could prove to be fatal, especially in the case of Mekeel vs. Glens Falls, which could become a shootout at the Glens Falls Civic Center between two of the best scoring teams in Section 2.

Lufkin's Accomplishment
It surprised me that NO announcement was made about Kobe Lufkin topping Joel Wincowski's scoring mark.  I understand the comments given to Will Springstead by head coach Jack Sherwin about there being a time or a place, and I honestly wouldn't of wanted to see the game be halted for fanfare.  But it would of been nice to note the occasion via the P.A., even if said announcement came after the teams walked off the court at the end of the game.  While Lufkin's time on the top of Section 2's scoring may be limited as it will be no surprise if Joe Girard III crushes the mark in the next two years, it should of been commemorated somehow.

The Civic Center
This was my first year taking in all the games at the Glens Falls Civic Center, instead of just games of local interest.  It was nice for once to be able to see athletes from across Section 2, and see the variety of play that exists across the Section.  It's a shame this court won't see the NYSPHSAA Championships in two weeks, so why not come by this weekend to check out the best Section 2 has to offer.

Pep Bands
Hearing the pep bands Thursday night from Stillwater and Granville added a jolt to the Civic Center.  It makes what is already a great place to watch some basketball even better.   It would be nice if more schools had pep bands, and as Stillwater showed in their four piece outfit, it doesn't have to be big to be enjoyable.

Maybe the Civic Center should ask, since they are the lead-off game for the C Championship on Saturday, if their pep band can perform The Star-Spangled Banner instead of using the pre-recorded organ.

The Videos:
Voorheesville vs. Mekeel Christian Academy - The Tip

Ichabod Crane vs. Glens Falls - First buckets for the two teams

Northville vs. Argyle - Northville's Ridell drains a 3

Northville vs. Argyle - Lufkin's 3 to top Joel Wincowski's scoring record

Scotia vs. Averill Park - Early 3rd Quarter play

Scotia vs. Averill Park - Anthony Germanerio drains a 3

Mohonasen vs. Lansingburgh - Tip and Lansingburgh's first possession

Maple Hill vs. Stillwater - Tip and Maple Hill's first possession

Lake George vs. Granville - Start of the game

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