Saturday, January 30, 2010

Maple Hill makes it a clean sweep of Ichabod Crane

Maple Hill's Chris Despart slices his way through the Ichabod Crane defenders en route to scoring a game-high 17 points for the Wildcats in a 51-39 victory over the Riders. Maple Hill are now tied atop the Patroon Conference standings with identical 13-1 records. (Photos by Tom Killips - The Record).

The crowd at Maple Hill High School Saturday night cannot be underestimated. Fans stood, packed shoulder-to-shoulder like sardines inside the lobby, unable to find a seat on the jam-packed bleachers. Many fans just went to hang out in the cafeteria and never saw more than a glimpse of the action through the windows on the gymnasium doors.

The noise and the sea of fans rattled the Maple Hill girls early on in their game against Ichabod Crane, but the Wildcats rallied for a 42-35 victory over the Lady Riders.

The boys, however, were bouyed by the noise, elevating for a 51-39 victory, moving into a first place tie with Ichabod in the Patroon Conference standings.

It's one of Section II's terrific rivalries, but it's one that could likely disappear next season. Ichaobd Crane is moving to the Colonial Council. While the move will open up a pair of non-league games for all of the schools in the Patroon, it's still unclear whether the neighbors, set 10 miles apart, will be able to meet during the 2010-11 season. Crane, a Class A school, would likely try to schedule non-league games at the Class A level or above, if at all possible.

"Next year we’ll have two non-league games available," said Maple Hill head coach Mark Bubniak. "I was talking to Cori (Ichabod Crane head coach Cori Drummond) before the game and we’d like to play at least one game. We’d like to keep it going. You look out here and it’s great that these schools are 10 miles apart. It’s great for school spirit and we’d love to do it, if we can, we’ll do it again."

Senior forward Jake Jasiewicz played a great game for the Maple Hill boys, making a stunning diving steal attempt that bounced off an Ichabod player and gave the Wildcats possession. They scored on the ensuing possession and never looked back.

As one of the seniors playing out the rivalry, he would surely be sad to see it go, but certainly made the last one memorable should the teams miss out on a chance for future non-league games.

"It was fantastic," Jasiewicz said. "It was one of the best games I’m ever going to play in my life. The crowd, the atmosphere…they couldn’t fit everybody in the gym. Just that and the support from the community was amazing. On both ends."

For more on how Jasiewicz would run through a brick wall for Maple Hill head coach Scott Hanrahan, be sure to check out Sunday's edition of The Record.

Maple Hill's Sean Danaher takes a shot over the outstretched arms of Ichabod Crane's Chris Larm during Saturday's Patroon Conference victory. Danaher finished with 12 points and nine rebounds.

Maple Hill (13-1, 13-1), the No. 6 ranked Class C team in New York, certainly scored a major victory over Ichabod Crane (13-1, 13-1), the No. 15 ranked Class A team in the Empire State.

Familiar with the huge crowds they saw at Hudson Valley Community College and the Glens Falls Civic Center during their run to the 2008-09 New York State Class C championship game, the Wildcats thrived on the mass of fans Saturday night, using runs of 10-2 and 9-2 to bury the Riders in the first quarter. Crane clawed its way back to within four points in the third quarter, but Jasiewicz's diving tip play helped the Wildcats surge ahead for good.

"I’ve tried not to harp on last year too much with these guys because this is a new group and a new team," said Maple Hill head coach Scott Hanrahan. "Although there are six guys back from that squad, it’s a new season. It’s a new team. I think the fact that we’ve dealt with these kinds of crowds before that these guys feed off that. We talked about that in our pregame. And we had help out there tonight. They did a great job and they do feed off of it. When we can get our fast break going, at the end of the first quarter we made a nice little run, and the crowd got fired up. Our guys just get that look on their faces, that little look and that little swagger. It’s just fun to watch them."

Including three CYO games prior to the varsity action Saturday, the Castleton teams won all five games they played against their opponents from Valatie.

Maple Hill junior center Katie Roth scored 27 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and made six blocks for Maple Hill in a come-from-behind victory over Ichabod Crane. It was also Maple Hill's 60th consecutive Patroon Conference victory.

The Maple Hill girls were perhaps spooked by the crowd in the first quarter, allowing Ichabod to build a seven point lead in the first few minutes. But the Wildcats calmed down and settled into their halfcourt offense, feeding Katie Roth the ball on the inside and taking trips to the foul line to earn the victory.

Maple Hill made just 14 of 31 free throw attempts, but that proved to be the difference in a 42-35 victory over the Riders (11-3, 11-3).

Maple Hill, the No. 1 ranked Class C team in New York State, improved to 14-0 this season in the Patroon Conference. The Wildcats last lost a league game on Nov. 30, 2006, dropping a 43-40 decision to Hudson. In the 165 weeks and 1,157 days since, the Wildcats have won a pair of Section II Class C title and played 60 Patroon Conference games without losing a single one.

"Everyone works hard all the time," Roth said. "You don’t get that far and get that kind of a record without working hard. We always want to win, especially on our home floor in front of our home fans. It’s a big accomplishment anyway. I’m glad to be a part of it and I’m sure everyone on my team is as well."

Maple Hill's Jessica Dailey (30) drives past Ichabod Crane's Chrissy James during Saturday's Patroon Conference game. Dailey made two assists, two steals and added one point from the free throw line in the victory.

The Castleton Crazies certainly made themselves heard Saturday night and we'll soon see if they're packing Hudson Valley and Glens Falls in the weeks to come.

--
Check back here Sunday, as I hope to be live blogging and Tweeting from the Siena College ARC for the four Coaches vs. Cancer Challenge games, beginning at Noon with a Colonial Council clash between Lansingburgh and Cohoes.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Jumbo 34 said...

Will,

Great job covering the MH girls and boys games on Saturday. It is truly one of the best rivalries in Section 2 and the crowd that packed the gym and were jam-packed in the lobby still waiting to get in was something I have never seen before anywhere.

It is also nice to see MH's Jake Jasciewicz get recognition for his hustle. He is the glue to the Maple Hill boys team and rarely gets noticed by the box score watchers.

Thanks again Will for the great coverage. I was there early before the girls varsity game and you were already there and stayed the whole night getting interviews after the last game. You really have a knack for recognizing players like Jake who have a great affect on the game without putting up big numbers. That play where he layed out for the steal attempt was one of the best hustle plays I've ever seen on a basketball court.

Congratulations to the players on both sides for a great night of basketball. The exciting basketball in the Patroon is one of the best kept secrets in the Capital Region.

February 1, 2010 at 12:01 AM 
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