Cannoneers' girls aren't taking Bengals lightly
The only perfect record in Section II. Four titles in five years.
The Watervliet girls’ basketball team should have little trouble with Tamarac when the teams play tonight at 7:45 at Stillwater High School for the Class B championship.
Cannoneers coach Gordie Johnson isn’t buying that, seeing how his team had to rally past Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk in Saturday’s semifinal.
“They have some very good basketball players. They’re well-coached, they’re disciplined. We’re going to have our hands full,” Johnson said of the 17-4 Bengals.
Actually, most of Johnson’s concerns center around the way his team played in the first half of its semifinal.
“We got ahead, 9-0, and I think we were a little immature. We started celebrating, and forgot about the task at hand,” he said of his 21-0 team. Junior guard Ailayia Demand, who started on the Cannoneers’ 2010 state final four team, saved Watervliet, scoring 12 points in the third quarter.
“She’s only a junior, but she’s been on the team since eighth grade,” said Johnson. “I told her going into the fourth quarter that it was her game to win, to make sure we made the right decisions.“
Sophomore Jenna Erickson also turned in a big third quarter Saturday in Tamarac’s win over
Cohoes, scoring 10 of her game-high 19 points as the Bengals came back from a bad first quarter to get to tonight’s game.
Erickson had a 17-point second half, playing most of the final two quarters with four fouls.
“She’s an aggressive defender. It’s hard to put a leash back on her, but she did a great job. We all know how valuable she is,” sad Tamarac coach Buzz Mulqueen, who had his team switch to a zone defense after Erickson and forward Adiya Henderson got into foul trouble.
“The girls did much better job getting their hands up when we went to a zone defense,” said Mulqueen. “We got a lot of deflections, a lot of tips, and that really helped. We tipped the ball, we deflected the ball, we communicated, we shut down the passing lanes and got out and ran a little. That was the difference.”
The Class B champion gets a bye into Saturday’s 11 a.m. regional final at Hudson Valley Community College, and will play either Section X champion Salmon River or Saranac of Section VII.
Hoosic Valley (21-1), which won the Section II Class C title Friday, plays Section VII champion Moriah tonight at 6 at Stillwater in a regional semifinal. The winner goes to Saturday’s regional final at SUNY-Potsdam, and will meet Section X champion Tupper Lake.
Section II Class D champion Argyle (18-3) plays Section X winner Hammond tonight at 6 at SUNY-Potsdam, the winner advancing to play Section VIII winner Indian Lake/Long Lake at noon Saturday at SUNY-Plattsburgh.
Colonie, which beat Albany for the Class AA title, plays Section III champion Cicero-North Syracuse and All-American Breanna Stewart in the regional fiinal Saturday at 2 at Hudson Valley Community College.
Class A champion Averill Park goes at 12:30 Saturday at HVCC against the winner of Wednesday night’s regional semi between Section X’s Massena and Jamesville-DeWitt of Section III.
Freshman point guard Chris Atkinson scored 20 points, and Long Island Lutheran ended Albany Academy’s season with a 65-45 win in the New York State Association of Independent Schools Class A tournament Sunday at the Fieldston School in the Bronx.
Atkinson scored 15 of his points in the first half — hitting four three-pointers — to help Lutheran (21-6) build a 33-20 lead in a game that determined the AIS Federation tournament representative.
Lutheran defeated Albany Academy in January, 75-57, at the Times Union Center.
Jelani Currie scored 14 points, and Matt LaClair had nine for the Cadets (13-6).
Currie 3-8-14, Hayden 1-0-2, LaClair 3-2-9, Morrow 2-0-5, Moutopoulos 1-0-3, Paparian 3-0-6, Puleo 2-0-5, White 0-1-1. Totals: 15-11-45.
LONG ISLAND LUTHERAN
Atkinson 6-3-20, Alford 2-2-7, DiNicola 3-2-8, Facey 2-0-4, Lebo 1-0-2, Lee 1-2-4, Pate 5-0-11, Quashie 3-3-9. Totals: 23-12-65.
AA 10 10 15 10 — 45
LI Lutheran 20 13 12 20 — 65
Three-point goals: LaClair, Morrow, Moutopoulos, Puleo, Atkinson 5, Alford, Pate.