Monday, January 21, 2008

Coaches vs. Cancer High School Challenge Recap

What a wonderful day of basketball yesterday at the Siena College ARC. Hats off to the folks at Albany Academy that made it happen. The proceeds went to the American Cancer Society.

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LOUDONVILLE - The first game counted as a Suburban Council game between Mohonasen and Saratoga. Mohon actually gave up a home game to play at the event, but coach Ken Dagostino and his team had a little extra motivation for this one. The Warriors' junior guard, Joe Watroba, is in remission from lymphoma. "It was worth giving up a home game for, if no other reason than Joey," said Dagostino. "I hope we get aninvitation back."
As for the game, it was an intense back and forth battle in the first half.
For three and a half quarters, Saratoga Springs andMohonasen traded offensive blows from behind the 3-point arc. Mohonasen's Cameron Couball hit 5 3-pointers in the first half, but it was his two foul shots late in the fourth quarter that sealed a 55-49 Suburban Council victory. "Obviously, I didn't do a good job of scouting and knowing who theshooter was," said Saratoga (2-8, 4-10) head coach Mitch Snyder of Couball's 18 points in the first half. "We couldn't find him and hewas hitting open shots."
Couball finished with 26 points and was named to the all-tournamentteam for Mohonasen (6-4, 9-5). Saratoga's Tony Deloatch was impressive from long range as well, draining 5 on his way to 17 total points."Coach said that he (Couball) had 18 and we had to shut him down andjust try to win this game," Deloatch said of Snyder's halftime peptalk.
The Blue Streaks took a 23-22 lead into the break behind 8 points apiece from Deloatch and James Tucker. Tucker wound up with 14 points and was also named to the all-tournament team.
The Blue Steaks held Couball to a single trey in the second half, a buzzer-beating basket to end the third quarter that gave the Warriors a 36-34 lead. 9 separate times in the third quarter, the lead changed hands or reverted to a tie.
Both teams continued the seesaw pitch in the fourth quarter untilMohonasen's Jordan Macejka went up for a basket and was fouled on the play. Macejka's shot counted, but he missed the free throw, with the Warriors retaining possession on the rebound. The Warriors found Macejka in the corner for a 3-pointer, which put Mohonasen ahead46-38.
"It's tough for us," Snyder said of the loss. "I think our effort is there and I think we played hard but we did a lot of things to shoot ourselves in the foot."
Although the Streaks couldn't stop Couball in the first half, Saratoga held him to only 8 points in the second half. "Yeah, I definitely knew they were going to come out and pressure me more," Couball said of his second half expectations. "I just had toplay within the team game instead."
"We just played our hearts out and took it to the end, we just couldn't pull out the win," Deloatch said.
"We're kind of searching for our identity still because of thesituations we've gone through as a team," Snyder said. "Fortunately,we're trying new things and trying to find what will work for us still."
One of the situations Snyder alludes to is the absence of Jordan Stevens, still out with a hand injury.
Other players like Tucker,Deloatch and Ryan James have made an effort to pick up the slack. "We had a couple of guys step their games up a little bit, which I was proud of," said Snyder. "And then several guys disappeared."
Still, Snyder said, "It's nice to be invited to a tourney like this, it was very well done."

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In the second game, Bishop Maginn absolutely demolished downstate foe White Plains, 71-50. The offense was high-flying, with the Griffs cuasing turnovers all over the court. That said, Maginn's defense really clamped down in the second half, limiting White Plains' high-scorer Sean Kilpatrick to a lone field goal in the third and fourth quarters.
Quarterback/point guard Bunduka Kargbo was a large part of that defense (Coach Rich Hurley called Kargbo a "warrior" after the game).
Taran Buie and Terron Victoria were named all-tournement team selections, with 20 and 15 poitns respectively. Kargbo totaled 10 points (two of his five field goals were dunks).
Shimeek Johnson had a pretty quiet 9-point night, but the Griffins really didn't need much from him in the game.
Also of note, Maginn did not give up a 3-point basket to White Plains.
There wasn't a clear turning point in the game since the Griffins took a 6-point lead into the break and then outscored the Tigers 20-8 in the third quarter. It was just an avalanche.
Here's how the run shook out in the third quarter (note how everyone contributed)
Buie FG
James 1/2 FT
Davis FG
Davis FG
Kargbo FG
Ward FG
Buie 2/2 FT
WP Time out
Ward 1/2
Victoria 3 ptr
James FG
Walker FG
Gross 3 ptr
BM Time out
Victoria FG
Gross 2/2 FT
The Griffs have to be feeling pretty good about that one, but their lsat big test before sectionals comes Friday, February 1st against CBA. The game is scheduled to be held at Maginn's home gym, but could potentially move to a larger venue if demand is high enough.

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Albany Academy really saved the best for last. A young yet talented team against the 3-time defending state champion Peekskill? No one had really expected much of a battle from the Cadets, but that's exactly what we got.
Peekskill features Syracuse-bound Mookie Jones, and although Mookie scored 23 points and was named player of the day, the Cadets did an admirable job slowing him down. Shavar Fields, a sophomore, was faced with that task for most of the day before fouling out with four minutes to go.
To say Fields' presence was sorely missed is an understatement.
As soon as Fields left the floor, the Cadets' 3 point lead quickly turned into a 7 point deficit after two Peekskill 3-pointers, a field goal and two Jones free throws after Academy coach Fruscio was called for a technical foul.
Chris Pelcher then tipped one in to bring the deficit to 5 and Nolan Hart came off the bench, hit a 3 and sat right back down.
All of a sudden, Academy trailed by only 2 with less than a minute to go.
Then, Peekskill called a timeout, rallied the troops and got an insurance basket from Elliot Watson (also named all-tournament) to clinch a 62-58 victory.
Pelcher, Tyler Foster and Jamel Fields each scored 14 points for the Cadets. Shavar Fields chipped in with 10 and Hart and Jimmer Bennett each added 3.

The most telling thing about this team was their quick rebound from rock bottom. After Shaver fouled out, Jamel Fields had to miss a short period of game time after falling hard on the floor. Peekskill took that opportunity to go on a 10-0 run, and appeared to put the game out of reach. Then Nolan Hart hit that 3 and everyone was a beleiver again.
Here's how that 4th quarter unfolded:
Peekskill Time out
Fields, S. FG (51-48 AA leads)
Jones 0/2 FT (first time to line all night)
Watson FG
Fields, J. 2/2 FT
Fields, S. fouls out
Brickhouse 3ptr (53-53)
Watts 3ptr
Fields, J. (out until next stoppage)
Thomas FG
AA Time out
Technical foul on Fruscio
Jones 2/2 FT (60-53 PK)
Pelcher FG
Peekskill Time out
Hart 3 (60-58 PK)
AA Time out
Peekskill Time out
Watson FG

Other class A teams in the area have toughened up during their regular season. Bishop Gibbons, for example, plays agasint AA teams in the Big 10. Burnt Hills, Mohonasen and Averill Park also play larger schools in the Suburban. Lansingburgh also has to battle through two games with Academy and other tough B and C oppoentns in the Colonial.
Still, the Cadets, while the youngest team, are the most battle-hardened going into Sectionals, and knowing they can hang with the No. 1 team in the state must be an immense confidence booster to them.

Congratulations again to all the players involved and I hope we get the chance to do this again next year.
--
Academic All-Stars:
Saratoga - Mark Kiley
Mohonasen - Anthony Robustiano
White Plains - Nick Cutsumpas
Bishop Maginn - Billy Blake
Peekskill - Gus Santiago
Albany Academy - Phil Cushing

All-Tournament Team:
Saratoga - James Tucker
Mohonasen - Robert Tedesco and Cameron Couball
White Plains - Sean Kilpatrick
Bishop Maginn - Taran Buie and Terron Victoria
Albany Academy - Jamel Fields
Peekskill - Elliot Watson and Mookie Jones

Player of the day: Mookie Jones

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As always, please send us your comments, questions and rants to troyrecordsports [at] gmail.com

-- Will Montgomery

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