Sunday, March 22, 2009

Wildcats cap stellar season with a close one in Glens Falls

Maple Hill's Trent Tibbitts finds the ball bouncing just out of his reach during Saturday's New York State Class C championship game against Avon at the Glens Falls Civic Center. Tibbitts led the way with 16 points but poor foul shooting down the stretch allowed Avon to walk away with a 61-55 victory and the state title. (Jeff Couch - The Record).

Maple Hill head coach Scott Hanrahan, in his first year as the leader of the team, led the Wildcats to a 26-2 record. He spent many years as a junior varsity and assistant coach and did a brilliant job managing his bench all season. (Jeff Couch - The Record).

Jaime Schultz lines up for a shot during Saturday's game against Avon. He scored 10 points in the title game but poured in a career-high 32 against Onondaga in a semifinal victory to propel the Wildcats to the championship clash. (Jeff Couch - The Record).

Schultz leaps and pushes teammate Alex Eldert out of the way during Saturday's game against Onondaga. This was Maple Hill's first-ever appearance in the New York State Final Four round and was their first Section II title season since 1958. (Ed Burke - for The Record).

Schultz sends a floater towards the rim in Friday's semifinal against Onondaga. He also grabbed nine rebounds to go along with the 32 points and finished 10-of-15 from the field and was 10-of-10 from the free throw line. (Ed Burke - for The Record).

Dominic Prinzo finishes one of his many drives to the rim against Onondaga's Taylor Bassett in Friday's Class C semifinal victory. He will be relied upon heavily in the Wildcats' backcourt next season after the graduation of Tibbitts and Schultz. (Ed Burke - for The Record).

The Castleton Crazies in all their glory along the baseline at the Civic Center. (Jeff Couch - The Record).

--
The Wildcats were not at a loss for storylines this season.
Many of the players were coming off a Section II title-winning soccer season and were hoping to keep up with the girls basketball team at Maple Hill, which won a Section II title the year before.
But this group always had a special relationship with basketball, dating back to the time many players put in at the CYO and later on, the AAU levels.
A number of upperclassmen accepted roles as reserves and became the best mentors any of the young players could have hoped for. It gave the team a deep bench and a certain sense of invulnerability, knowing they could bounce back from any situation.
Best of all for the Wildcats was the sea of red that lined the baseline and filled the bleachers in all of their games at the Civic Center or at Hudson Valley Community College. The stands were not only full of their classmates and friends, but the next generation of Maple Hill players that got a taste of how magical a place the Civic Center can be in the middle of March - not something I think they'll soon forget.

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