Sunday, March 2, 2008

Notes From Three Days at the Civic Center - AA Final Monday Night


Well, it never quite looked this crowded the last three days, but that didn't mean the games weren't exciting.

However, one of the most interesting stories did not have to do with a Troy-area team.
Albany Academy cruised to a 77-43 victory over Mohonasen in the A semifinals - an fairly unremarkable game.
However, one thing that will catch your eye watching the Mohonasen team are their bright green shoelaces. Not necessarily a color that goes well with orange and black. Junior guard Joe Watroba is in remission from Lymphoma and the Warriors wear the shoelaces to support HEADstrong's laces for Lymphona drive.
The organization is also trying to get all collegiate lacrosse players to wear the laces and you can read more about that here.
Anyway, Mohonasen head coach Ken Dagostino made sure to put players such as Watroba on the floor at the end of the game -- a story that was buried in Academy's victory.

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The Hoosic Valley boys captured a class B crown although they usually play in the CC/C classifications. Coach Dan Calhoun told me a few weeks ago that the Indians felt like the country kid going to the big city and while Broadalbin-Perth gave them a run in the final, Pat Lanoue hit a number of impossible threes to clinch the Indians' title.
Hoosic Valley's offense had trouble penetrating the paint with the Patriots' large forward clogging the lane, so they passed it around the perimeter until the shotclock wore down and started firing up long-range jumpers. It was quite the unusual score sheet after the game - Hoosic Valley made ten 3-pointers and only six two-point field goals.

Schaghticoke is quite the basketball hotbed these days - the Hoosic Valley girls team also captured a sectional title with a victory over Cohoes in the class B final.

The boys last won the section in 2005, when they took the class C crown and knocked off Watervliet in the CC/C playoff. That was Lanoue's freshman year and as a senior, he will take the Indians to the states again.

Calhoun joked after the game that he and girls' coach Walter Dorman kidded each other all season about which team God would have his eyes on that night. Calhoun watched the girls win at HVCC and told Dorman to remind Him about the game at 7:15. After one period, Broadalbin led 15-8. "I guess He didn't get here until the second quarter," laughed Calhoun after the game.

The boys advance to the regional tournament and will face Ogdensurg on Friday at SUNY-Potsdam at 7 pm.

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Kudos too to the Rensselaer Rams, who captured their first sectional title since 1991. Also of note - seniors Keith Britt and Justin Wilkinson, both a large part of the Rams' title run are not the first Britt & Wilkinson duo to take home a plaque for Rensselaer. In 1985, their fathers, as seniors, accomplished the same feat.

The prize for Rensselaer? A date with Mechanicville in the class CC/C playoff game on Tuesday at 6 pm back at the Civic Center. Whichever team wins that game will represent section II in the class C state regional final against the winner of the section7/10 game. The C regional final will be Saturday at SUNY-Plattsburgh, tip-off set for 2 pm.

A good showing for the CHVL co-champions Germantown. Their pair of freshmen, Tommy Griffin and Cody Broast, really led the way down the stretch, but it was JV call-up (yet another freshman!) Larry Neilbling, who had two treys in the second half that actually gave the Clippers the lead in the fourth quarter against Rensselaer.
The Clips should be making the trip up to Glens Falls for years to come with that young core of players.

Germantown, far and away, had the best fans of the weekend. They were many, they were loud and they really added to the excitement in the Civic Center.

Honorable mention: The B-P students. Foul mouthed? Check. Strength in numbers? Check. Still, all the cheering in the world couldn't stop the long-range bombs the Indians were chucking up with the shot clock buzzer about to sound.

The most lackluster fans of the weekend? I'll have to rip my Alma Mater on this one. Burnt Hills (although the team with the shortest drive among all teams involved in the A semis Friday) had few fans in attendance and a non-existent student section. Sure, there was a blizzard outside, but come on Spartans. Not many teams make it to the Civic Center. What else is going on in BH on a Friday night?

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In what's becoming a heck of a rivalry, Bishop Maginn and CBA will butt heads for the AA title yet again. The Brothers look to give the Griffins a taste of their own medicine - last year CBA went undefeated in the Big 10, but the Griffins won the sectional title. We will see if the Brothers can do the same this year at the former Knickerbocker Arena in Albany.

Tickets were hard to come by
for their second regular season meeting - it was held in CBA's crowded little gym. CBA, down 16, made a 20-0 run in the fourth quarter, only to have Maginn's Shimeek Johnson hit a buzzer-beating trey to force overtime. The Griffs prevailed in the extra period, preserving the perfect season.
Maginn is currently riding an 18-game win streak.

If you're a basketball fan, make sure you catch this one. Not often do the number two (Maginn) and number ten (CBA) teams face off in a game this early in the playoffs. I can ensure you that no one will be turned away at the door this time.

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As always, any notes, comments, questions, rants, raves and what have you - send it to us at troyrecordsports[at]gmail.com

--Will Montgomery

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