Thursday, February 25, 2010

Troy High shakes off the rust - and rest - in the second half; Thursday's news and notes

Troy High junior point guard Elijah Jenkins shakes off South Colonie defender Frankie Lombardi during Thursday's Section II Class AA opening round game at Colonie. (All Troy photos by J.S. Carras - The Record).

Troy High had eight days to rest since its last game (an overtime loss at Amsterdam) and spent the last two without practicing together because of snow days. The rust showed in the first half, as they headed to halftime with just 21 points, trailing Colonie by three.

John Pompey sparked the Flying Horses with a pair of three-point buckets off the bench in the second half and Josh Blaauboer filled in admirably for an ailing Kareem Brown, who did not score any points Thursday, as Troy won, 44-40. The Horses advance to the Section II Class AA quarterfinals for the first time since the 2007-08 season.

Colonie controlled the tempo, making it a halfcourt, Suburban Council style of game.

"It was played kind of the way they wanted it played and we tried to get out quick, but the problem is, when we’re not scoring a lot, we can’t get into our pressure," said Troy High head coach Jeff Sitterly. "It played into their hands that we weren’t scoring a lot of points. And give them credit. They did a great job. They took away Javion (Ogunyemmi) inside and they were tough defensively. To come out of there with a win, I’m very happy with that."

Troy High freshman center Javion Ogunyemmi looks to grab a rebound as Colonie's Mike Branche battles him for the ball during Thursday's game. Colonie's Onome Okpodu (23) and Jordan Meeks (4) look on.

Ogunyemmi put up some nice numbers Thursday, scoring a team-high 13 points and snaring seven rebounds. Only two of his points, however, came after halftime, as Colonie did a great job all night of crashing down on Troy's big men in the paint.

That, of course, opened the door for Troy's perimeter shooters. While they didn't exactly tee off from behind the arc, they provided enough of a spark to edge the Garnet Raiders.

Pompey drained a trio of treys, Elijah Jenkins added a pair and Raheem Felder and Greg Williams each knocked down one three-pointer for Troy.

"I try to tell the guys, ‘From night to night, you never know when it will be your time to step up," said Troy High head coach Jeff Sitterly. "When Kareem is not giving it, Josh has to come in and do big things. Defensively, he does some good things. Some other guys had to step up tonight and I think Johnny and Josh did."

Troy High sophomore forward Greg Williams looks for a route around Colonie's Frankie Lombardi during Thursday's Class AA playoff game at Colonie.

Next up for Troy? Only the state's No. 3 ranked team, Christian Brothers Academy.
In two regular season games against the Brothers this season, CBA walked away with a pair of victories, which came by an average margin of 27 points.

Troy last made the quarterfinal round in 2008 after upsetting Suburban No. 3 Shen in the first round. They played CBA in the quarters, losing 79-53.

If any team knows what they're up against in CBA, it's Troy High.

"We expect them to have shooters and play aggressive defense," Pompey said. "We just need to play with better intensity and play as a team and we can win."

"You never want to play CBA," Sitterly laughed. "CBA is obviously the best team in the area. But at this point, we’re happy to be playing. We played them twice, they know us, we know them pretty well and we know how tough it is going to be."

Saratoga Springs players react on the bench in the waning seconds of Thursday surprising loss to Big 10 Conference No. 7 seed Queensbury, a team from the Foothills Council. (Photo courtesy The Saratogian).

Troy High wasn't the only game in town Thursday night.

One of the most shocking upsets was Queensbury's 84-67 Class AA boys basketball victory over the homestanding Blue Steaks, the No. 2 seed from the Suburban Council. The Spartans will play Albany High in Saturday's quarterfinal round.

On the other side of the Class AA bracket, things went as planned. Bishop Maginn and Albany Academy will square off in the quarters a year after meeting in the semis. Suburban No. 1 Shen will face a Millinghaus-less Schenectady squad.

In Class C action, Hoosick Falls' Kevin McMahon scored his 1,00th point in a 55-28 victory over Waterford. The Panthers, the No. 2 seed, will face No. 10 Mayfield in Saturday's quarters after Mayfield upset No. 7 Rensselaer 50-49.

The Heatly boys marched on in Class D action, topping Fort Ann, 68-43. For more on this game, check out Friday's edition of The Record to read Ryan Kircher's story on the Hornets' victory.

In girls basketball action, Shenendehowa High head coach Ken Strube, a recent inductee into the Capital Region Basketball Hall of Fame, won his 547th game Thursday night when the Lady Plainsmen topped Troy High, 58-22 in a Class AA opening round clash.

He moves into first place in the Section II victory column for basketball coaches - boys or girls - surpassing legendary Watervliet High head coach George Mardigan, who won 546 games during a 30-year tenure with the Cannoneers.

In other girls games Thursday, Shaker romped to a 75-31 victory over Queensbury. The Blue Bison will face Big 10 No. 2 Albany in the quarterfinals. Saratoga Springs edged Bishop Maginn to advance to a quarterfinal game against Suburban No. 1 Colonie.

On the other side of the bracket, Bethlehem toppled Schenectady and the Eagles will head to Catholic Central for a quarterfinal showdown with the Lady Crusaders Saturday evening.

In Class A, Lansingburgh topped Bishop Gibbons, 57-29, advancing to face undefeated Colonial Council rival No. 2 Holy Names, which is without team leader Kierra Moore for the remainder of the postseason.

The Mechanicville girls, in one a two Class B games played Thursday, beat Tamarac, 50-37. The Red Raiders, the No. 3 seed, face the winner of tomorrow's game between Johnstown and Taconic Hills. That game will be played at Fonda should the No. 2 seeded Braves beat No. 15 Granville on Friday.

In Class CC, Cambridge beat Spa Catholic, setting up a meeting with No. 1 Maple Hill in the quarters. No. 2 Hoosic Valley will also host a pod Friday night, including a game against No. 10 Corinth.

The Loudonville Christian girls were bounced in the Class D playoffs, losing to Fort Edward, 38-26.

Saratoga Springs' Dan Going is sandwiched between a pair of Shaker-Colonie defenders during Thursday's Section II Division I championship game at Union College. Saratoga won, 3-1, capturing its first Section II title in a decade. (Hockey photos by J.S. Carras - The Record).

Saratoga Springs' Tristan Sperry is covered along the boards by Shaker-Colonie's Nick Kryatzis during Thursday's Section II Division I championship game at Union College.

Saratoga Springs, the No. 1 seed in the Division I tournament, had been the class of the CDHSHL all season and capped it off with a title that had been a long time coming. Young head coach Mike Ricupero has done a wonderful job with the Blue Steaks over the past few seasons.

For more on the hockey game, check out Friday's edition of The Record, which will include a story by our pal Stan Hudy from The Saratogian.

We will see what happens with the schedule in the next few days, but my plan on Saturday is to camp out all day at Hudson Valley Community College to cover the six boys basketball quarterfinal games (two Class As and four Class AAs) that will be played there, starting at Noon.

As long as I can get a wireless connection, I plan on hosting a live chat all day long while I watch the games and try to write my stories.

So if you're looking for updates from HVCC Saturday, Off The Record will be the place to be. I'll also be there Sunday for the four Class B quarterfinals to be played at HVCC.

We'll also have full coverage of the New York State wrestling championships to be held in Albany on Friday and Saturday, so check back soon for updates.

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