Friday, February 29, 2008

Class A Semis Preview, Rams Notes

Rensselaer's Justin Wilkinson drives for a basketball in the first half while competing vs. Maple Hill. (Mike McMahon — The Record).

A few leftovers here while we wait for the beginning of the Burnt Hills-Bishop Gibbons class A semifinal at the Civic Center.

I caught the end of the Germantown-Hadley-Luzerne game on Wednesday and that was one of the, if not the loudest crowd I've heard all year. Just about everyone from Hadley and Germantown made the trip to Shen for the game and if the Clippers bring that same crew up to Glens Falls tomorrow, the Rams fans might get drowned out in the big gym. That crowd really has the six seed Clippers riding high going into an upset bid in the final.
Still, the Rams should pull it out if big man Keith Britt can stay out of foul trouble and stay on the floor.

--
In the As tonight, the first game features the upset-minded Spartans of Burnt Hills, who knocked off Averill Park in the quarters. They'll face Big 10 powerhouse Bishop Gibbons, who had a nice run against AA opponents during the regular season, losing five games (twice to CBA and Maginn and splitting the season series with CCHS. The buzz here suggests a close one, but the odds are the Knights walk away easily. You never know at the Civic Center though - just ask the Riders from Ichabod Crane that saw their 21-game win streak snapped last night.

--
In the second game, Albany Academy will face Mohonasen and the Cadets, by all estimations, should take this one pretty easily. I don't think the Warriors have an answer for Cadets big man Chris Pelcher (6-9) and even if they do, they still have to counter Jamel Fields and Tyler Foster on the perimeter.
I will be interested to see if Academy point guard Jimmer Bennett returns from a high ankle sprain. The Cadets' offense still ran well under the guidance of Omar McGill and Jamel Fields, who filled in at the one guard spot against Lansingburgh in the quarters. However, Bennett is so important to that offense that I can't see the Cadets running without him all the time.

--
I'll try to drop some updates here during the breaks. Any questions or comments, please drop us a line at troyrecordsports [at] gmail.com

7:30 pm: At the half, Gibbons leads 25-21. Nick Sarchioto leads the Knights with eight and Dave Fischer has eight for BH-BL as well. The Spartans aren't out of it, but Gibbons is showing a little more intensity on the glass but we will see how the Spartans adjust in the second half. Zach O'Brien has been held scoreless so far and Jaret Falkowitz has only two buckets thus far for BH-BL.

7:56 pm: After three, it's ND-BG 45, BH-BL 38.

8:24 pm: Final: BG 65, BH 56. Although BH's Dave Fischer led all scorers with 30 points, it was not enough for the Spartans. Zach O'Brien scored all of his 12 points in the second half to give the Knights the momentum to close out the game.

The Academy-Mohon game is about to begin and it looks like Jimmer Bennett will play - he's taking warmups but wearing a brace on that right ankle.

9:04 pm: At the half, it's all Academy, 39-16. Bennett has played sparingly. Jamel Fields dropped an easy 18 points in the first half.

10:33 pm: Game over, story done, Academy rolls, 77-43. They face Gibbons in the A final Tuesday night at 7:30. It's an eagerly anticipated game as these two schools were widely seen as the cream of the crop in the As all year long.

A great stretch of basketball coming up - Rensselaer plays Germantown in the C final tomorrow around 4pm, followed by the Voorheesville-Mechanicville CC final around 5:30. Then, Hoosic Valley takes on an upstart Broadalbin squad in the B final at 7:15. All games at the Civic Center.

Monday we get yet another CBA-Maginn showdown from the arena to be named later and on Tuesday the CC/C playoff precedes the A final with the opening tip at 6 pm.

--Will Montgomery

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