Thursday, March 5, 2009

Section II boys basketball championship predictions

With Section II high school basketball championship games beginning on Friday night with the girls Class C and CC finals at Hudson Valley Community College, let's break down each matchup and see who has the edge heading in. We'll start with the boys in here and list the girls games in the next post.

2008-09 Section II Class D championship
Saturday, March 7, 2 p.m.
Glens Falls Civic Center

No. 1 Heatly (18-4) vs No. 3 Sharon Springs (15-7)
Heatly's trio of cousins - from left: junior Peter Heffern, senior LaShon Pringle and sophomore Alex Heffern - lead a stinging perimeter approach. (Tom Killips - The Record)

However, they'll face a clash of styles when they play Sharon Springs, which has a strong inside game led by Kris Kelly, Doug Ullman and Mike Schilde.

Heatly has won on a big court in Glens Falls, so their shooters know how to adjust to the distant and dark background and confusing two three-point stripes at the Civic Center. However, if Sharon Springs can force it inside and find Heatly on a cold-shooting day, give the Spartans the edge. Sharon Springs is averaging 69 points per game in the tournament, compared to Heatly's 51.5 ppg average.

Heatly has won 14 games in a row, but they've had a tendency to take quarters off. They were outscored 12-2 in the second quarter against Fort Edward in a semifinal game and were outscored 5-2 by Northville in the second quarter of their quarterfinal game at Saratoga Springs High School. Saturday's second quarter will be telling as the Hornets vie for the first Section II title in school history.

Prediction: Heatly has to put up some points to win, but Peter and Alex Heffern and Brandon Fish get it done from the outside. Heatly 66, Sharon Springs 59.

2008-09 Section II Class C championship
Saturday, March 7, 3:45 p.m.
Glens Falls Civic Center

No. 1 Canajoharie (18-4) vs No. 7 Duanesburg (8-11)

I have not seen either of these teams play this year since they both lie outside our coverage area, so in the name of journalistic integrity, I'll stay mum on this one.

Canajoharie won both regular season meetings and should have the edge, however.

2008-09 Section II Class CC championship
Saturday, March 7, 5:30 p.m.
Glens Falls Civic Center

No. 1 Maple Hill (21-1) vs No. 10 Stillwater (13-10)Maple Hill's Sean Danaher fights for a rebound with two Lake George players in Monday's semifinal at the Glens Falls Civic Center. (J.S. Carras - The Record)

It is going to be a big contrast of styles when these two teams meet on Saturday. Maple Hill likes to run-and-gun the ball back and forth, up and down the floor, while Stillwater plays that old school Wasaren League style of ball, which harps on man-to-man defense and timely jump shots.
Whichever team can impose its style of play has the early advantage, but I think Maple Hill can hang in there in a close, slower paced game if Trent Tibbits and Jamie Schultz are on top of their shots.

Stillwater, on the other hand, is still waiting for midnight and players such as Nick D'Alberto, who scored a game-high 28 against Hoosick Falls, have a ton of postseason experience. The Warriors have appeared in three of the past four Section II Class CC championship games.

Prediction: I think Maple Hill's crowd pumped them up in the semifinal game against Lake George and there should be even more folks in the building on Saturday, so I'm going to give the slight edge to Maple Hill. Maple Hill 67, Stillwater 59

2008-09 Section II Class CC/C playoff
Monday, March 9, 6 p.m.
Glens Falls Civic Center

Stillwater's Nick D'Alberto floats towards the hoop in Monday's semifinal game against Hoosick Falls. He finished with a game-high 28 points and scored the winning basket with just over a minute to play - a long three-pointer from the top of the key. (J.S. Carras - The Record).

I haven't seen either of the Class C teams remaining, but either way, I don't think they have a chance against either Maple Hill or Stillwater.
Rensselaer gave Mechanicville a game last year, but the last C team to win the playoff game was Hoosic Valley in 2005, when the Indians knocked off Watervliet.

Predicition: Class CC wins the playoff one way or another.

2008-09 Section II Class B championship
Saturday, March 7, 7:15 p.m.
Glens Falls Civic Center

No. 5 Broadalbin-Perth (16-7) vs No. 11 Schuylerville (13-10)Cohoes' Josh LeMay (00) attempts a last-second heave after Schuylerville went ahead by a single point on the play before in Wednesday's semifinal at the Glens Falls Civic Center. (Ed Burke - The Saratogian)

This was going to be a jam-packed Class B tournament, we knew that. So seeing the No. 5 and No. 11 seeds in the championship game is not a huge surprise. But to see all of the top four teams - Fonda-Fultonville, Tamarac, Hudson Falls and Granville - knocked out before the finals (three before the semis!) really speaks to the quality of all the basketball programs in Class B.

I have not seen Broadablin this season, but I did catch them last year against Hoosic Valley in the 2007-08 Class B championship game. Shane Hathaway was a member of the All-Tournament team last year and should give the Patriots a bit of experience. B-P knocked Schuylerville out in the quarterfinals last season.

Again, I love the Wasaren League teams in any playoff game because they can buckle down and play man-to-man and make it a bucket trading game at any point. But I think B-P can fit right into that game plan too.

The Schuylerville bench erupts during Wednesday's upset victory of No. 7 Cohoes at the Glens Falls Civic Center. (Ed Burke - The Saratogian)

Schuylerville, after a first round upset of No. 6 Hudson, defeated Hudson Falls in the waning seconds in a great come-from-behind victory and did the same to Cohoes on Wednesday night.

Broadalbin, on the other hand, knocked off Granville and Fonda-Fultonville in consecutive games, teams that had seven losses between them heading into the tournament.

Predicition: This could be the most interesting and exciting of all the game in Glens Falls on Saturday and I bet it will come right down to the wire. Broadalbin-Perth 43, Schuylerville 41.

2008-09 Section II Class A championship
Monday, March 9, 7:30 p.m.
Glens Falls Civic Center

tba vs tba
Mohonasen's Jordan Macejka defends Lansingburgh's Xavier Murray during last weekend's quarterfinal game at Hudson Valley Community College. (Tom Killips - The Record).

The Class A boys play their semifinal games on Friday night, so I have two rounds of predicitions to make.
No. 2 Gloversville faces No. 3 Bishop Gibbons in the first game, in Glens Falls, at 7 p.m.
This one is going to be a barn-burner. Gibbons' Brian Hamor put the team on his back in the fourth quarter of the Knights' quarterfinal game against South Glens Falls, leading them to an improbable come-from-behind victory for the defending Section II champs.

Gloversville's Matt Baldwin, on the other hand, singlehandedly shredded the Burnt Hills defense for 26 points in a quarterfinal win for the Dragons.
Predicition: If Hamor's 100%, you just can't stop him. I don't think he is and I think the Dragons, with a bit more depth, hang on in this one, 65-57.
No. 1 Scotia-Glenville will face Schenectady County rival No. 5 Mohonasen in the late game. It's another of those great dichotomy games because the Warriors love to bomb away from behind the three-point arc while the Tartans are content to force it inside to senior 6-foot-10 center Jim Janson.

Prediction: I think everyone is looking forward to a threematch between the Foothills Council co-champions, so let's go with Scotia, 51-45.
If Gloversville and Scotia meet again, look for the Dragons to come out hungry as Scotia won both regular season meetings. Baldwin goes nuts again, just like he did against Burnt Hills and Gloversville wins, 67-58.

2008-09 Section II Class AA championship
Tuesday, March 10, 7 p.m.
Knickerbacker Arena

(S2) The Albany Academies (22-1) vs (B2) Christian Brothers Academy (20-3)
Jimmer Bennett ponders his next move as he races up the court against Newburgh Free Academy in a game earlier this season. (J.S. Carras - The Record).

Bennett provided the heroics on Tuesday against Bishop Maginn, evading two Maginn defenders and scampering all alone for the game-winning layin with 6.1 seconds remaining in a semifinal dethroning of the reigning Section II and New York State champs. He's also quietly engineered a high-octane offense the past two seasons and is a big reason why the Cadets will be tangling with the Brothers, who make their seventh consecutive appearance in a large school title game on Tuesday.

I've been saying all along that these teams are a great matchup for one another personnel-wise. Chris Pelcher and Andy Stire are the two best big men in Class AA and Tyler Foster and Kameron Ritter both have the same type of game and could well likely man up against each other.

The Cadets have the strength in the backcourt with Bennett and Jamel Fields, although CBA's Galal Cancer has played great all season in a starting role in his sophomore year.
CBA, however, has a lot of bench depth. Max Weaver, Don Wilson, Joe Krong and Josh Dennis all see time in the backcourt beside Ritter and Cancer, while Steve Forchelli, Billy Creighton and Chris Sand can spell Stire if he needs a break.

Hunter McCarthy and Matt LaClair do a fine job off the bench for Academy, but the Cadets just don't have the total number of quality subs that the Brothers run out there.

Albany Academy head coach Brian Fruscio and CBA's Dave Doemel met in the 2003 Class A final, when Fruscio was coaching at La Salle and before the AA bracket had been established. Fruscio won, but Doemel took three straight championships from 2004-06.

Predicition: Another overtime game? I'm not so sure. I think Academy has too many scoring options for CBA to handle. Four of their starters - Pelcher, Fields, Foster and Hart - can put up 20 on any given night. Ritter is really the only player on the Brothers that has the potential for that type of output. That said, the Brothers can win if they turn it in to a slug-it-out posession-by-possession game, but I don't see that happening. Albany Academy 75, CBA 63.



Anonymous Heatly Fan said...

I agree with your prediction - Heatly to win.

Go Hornets!

March 5, 2009 at 10:54 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heatly didnt win, sorry :)

May 18, 2011 at 10:35 PM 
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