Friday, February 12, 2010

Cannoneers clinch a share; Troy High holds off LSI

Watervliet's Kevin Pontore leaps with the ball along the baseline during Friday's Colonial Council game against Voorheesville. (All photos by Tom Killips - Watervliet).

Watervliet and Voorheesville entered Friday's Colonial Council showdown tied at 11-2, a game in the win column behind idle Lansingburgh, which finished the regular season 12-2. On senior night at Watervliet, Kevin Pontore and Nick Durocher answered the call, lifting the Cannoneers to a co-championship with the Knights.

Durocher scored 23 points and Pontore held Voorheesville's imposing senior center Ethan Mackey scoreless in the fourth quarter as Watervliet won, 66-59.

"We played our tails off and it was probably the hardest game I've ever played," Watervliet's Kevin Pontore said. "It's the biggest win I've ever had. I knew it was a big game and we had to win it."

Watervliet's Nick Durocher leaps for a shot attempt as Voorheesville's James Currier (33) defends during Friday's Colonial Council game on George Mardigan Court.

Durocher was the shooting star Friday night, knocking down a trio of threes, adding three two-point buckets and making all eight free throws he attempted en route to 23 total points. He scored eight points in the fourth quarter alone.

"I think Nick Durocher played the game of his life," Watervliet head coach Walter Bowden said. "Every time we needed a big play he seemed to make it."

Watervliet freshman Jordan Gleason slices his way through the lane as Voorheesville's Ethan Mackey looks on during Friday's game at Watervliet in the Harry Tucker Gymnasium.

This game figured to be a second place tie-breaker for the last month, as Lansingburgh held a firm one-game lead on first place ever since beating Voorheesville and Watervliet in January.
Winless Ravena, however, shook up the league by topping Lansingburgh last week, opening the door for the Cannoneers.

"We were hungry for it all year," Pontore said of the opportunity for a conference crown. "We didn't think Lansingburgh was going to lose, but in the Colonial Council you have to come put and play all night. That title was our first goal."

A big thanks to our Ryan Kircher for covering this game and getting these quotes. Check out the full story on the game in Saturday's edition of The Record.

Over in the Collar City, Troy High withstood another late La Salle Institute rally, watching as a pair of three-point attempts by Josh Terry bounced off the rim in the final 10 seconds of the game. The Flying Horses won, 48-45.
Troy won the season series 2-1 (unless they meet in the Class AA playoffs) and all three games were decided by three points.

"JT has been the hero in a few situations this year and the thing I love about him specially is his demeanor," said La Salle head coach Steve Sgambelluri. "When the game is on the line, he knows he’s going to be the hero or the goat and I love that mentality. He’s not scared to take big shots."

Terry drained a game-winner at Albany earlier this season and Marquis Campbell knocked down the game-winning trey in a victory over the Flying Horses last month. Troy blew a 20-point fourth quarter lead in that game.

"After the last time we played and gave up a 20-point lead in the fourth quarter, as much as you tell the kids that that is behind you, you think about it," said Troy High head coach Jeff Sitterly. "We all were thinking about it a little bit. We knew La Salle wasn’t going to quit and they were going to keep bringing it and they have some three-point shooters that can score quick and they made their free throws."

One of the most impressive players on the floor Friday night was Troy junior Josh Blaauboer, who has seen his minutes diminished this season as youngsters grabbed starting spots around him. Blaauboer scored eight points, snared six rebounds and made two steals in limited minutes Friday night, but he's also a teacher and a mentor behind the scenes, making his underclassmen teammates better each and every day.

"Whatever we need, he’ll do. We know what we’ll get from Josh," Sitterly said. "There is no question to what we’re going to get and he is why our younger guys have progressed, because he works them in practice."

For the full story on the game, check out Saturday's edition of The Record.

Wednesday afternoon, look for the Section II brackets to pop up here in digital form as soon as I receive them from the Section II basketball committee. In Thursday's hard copy, I'll also provide analysis and have quotes from the decision-makers that put the teams in their particular spots on the brackets.

I'll also open up a live chat sometime late Wednesday afternoon here where we can all discuss what to expect in the Section II basketball playoffs.
Late Saturday afternoon, look for a live chat window to open up as I'll be bringing you the action from the finals at the Section II Division I and Division II wrestling championships at the Glens Falls Civic Center. Unlike Siena College's ARC, I know the GFCC has wireless access and we should be ready to roll prior to the start of the 6 p.m. ceremonies.

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