Boys' Basketball: Raiders are facing a tall task
After Mechanicville’s newly crowned championship basketball team took the trip from Glens Falls back home Saturday, its ride wasn’t over.
“There were five fire trucks waiting for us after we beat Hoosick Falls, and we had a parade through town,” said Red Raiders coach Rian Richardson. “It was a great parade with a lot of horns and a lot of people. That’s what Mechanicville does. It really supports its athletic teams.”
The party will continue this evening before the Red Raiders get back down to business in a Class C regional semifinal game against Seton Catholic of Plattsburgh. The 6:30 contest will take place just a few miles away from Mechanicville, at Stillwater High School’s new gymnasium.
“The community is really backing us. There’s going to be a cookout in the parking lot before the game,” said Richardson. “This team has created a lot of excitement. They’re the talk of the town, and they deserve it. The commitment these kids gave me from last April though November was just tremendous. They were in the gym and in the weight room, and they haven’t let down since.”
A defensive gem in which it stymied Greenwich, 59-37, followed by a heart-thumping 39-38 win over Hoosick Falls, propelled Mechanicville into the state tournament for the first time since 2008. Jordan
McBride, his cousins Sam DeCelle and Ryan McBride, as well as Adam Dunn, Nate Hatalsky and the rest of the feisty Red Raiders are hoping for a prolonged stay now that they’re there.
“We want to get back to the Glens Falls Civic Center [for the state final four]. That’s the goal now. The kids are so excited about this opportunity” said Richardson. “We’ve got to win the next two games, and I think we’re capable of doing it.”
Richardson has reason to believe.
“We played the Lansingburghs, Cohoeses and Watervliets in the league. We got here by beating Hoosick Falls and Greenwich,” he said. “Those games prepared us.”
Mechanicville (17-5) will take on a Seton Catholic (8-12) team that avenged a pair of regular-season defeats with a 56-49 win over Ticonderoga in the Section VII Class C title game. Tonight’s winner goes to SUNY-Canton for a regional final Saturday at 2 against St. Lawrence (Section X, 13-8).
“I had a chance to see them [Seton Catholic] on film. We’ve got to show up,” said Richardson. “They have some size, and they’re coming off a couple of good wins, but I like the way we’re playing. I like the makeup of my team. If we do what we’ve been doing, I like our chances.”
Mechanicville’s four-win Section II tournament run included three games in which it held opponents under 40 points. Dunn was the defensive star against Greenwich, when the Red Raiders went away from their 3-2 zone and played a box-and-one. Dunn limited Witches’ standout Joe Estramonte to three free throws.
“We’re playing good defense, which is really important at this time of the year,” Richardson said. “We stress effort and heart. We really have to get after them.”
Seton Catholic got 21 points from 6-foot-2 forward Carlos Alvarez and 10 points, eight rebounds and eight blocks from 6-11 center Carson Hynes against Ticonderoga. Hynes had 13 points and 12 rebounds, and Alvarez totaled 17 rebounds in a Section VII 55-54 semifinal win over Moriah.
Mechanicville’s tallest regular is Ryan McBride, at 6-1.
“They like to get it inside. They’ve got the two big kids. They’re patient. They don’t force too much,” said Richardson. “Our guys inside have to play really physical and really tough.”
Jordan McBride has been Mechanicville’s top offensive figure this season, and the senior guard needs eight points to reach 1,000. He netted 18 points when Mechanicville ended Hoosick Falls’ 17-game winning streak, and piled up 34 against Greenwich.
Mechanicville made it through the regionals in 2008, 2001 and in 1996 and 1995, during Richardson’s senior and junior seasons at the school.
Christian Brothers Academy (20-2) and Utica-Proctor (Section III, 19-2) play Saturday night at 8 in a Class AA regional final at Hudson Valley Community College. Scotia-Glenville (17-4) will play tonight’s Jamesville-DeWitt (Section III, 19-2)-Franklin Academy (Section X, 11-9) winner Saturday at 6:30 in a Class A regional final at 6:30 at HVCC.
Watervliet (21-1) plays Plattsburgh (Section VIII, 17-4) on Saturday at 5 in a Class B regional final at HVCC.
Plattsburgh defeated Potsdam (Section X, 20-3), 47-37, on Tuesday night in a regional semifinal.
Argyle (19-2) lost to Madrid-Waddington (Section X, 22-2), 62-59, Tuesday night in a Class D regional semifinal. Madrid-Waddington gets Willsboro (Section VII, 17-4) Saturday at 1:45 at SUNY-Plattsburgh.