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Schools of Thought

Potential for two all-local sectional title games

February 25, 2008
By Bill Cain, The Leader-Herald
We’re almost there.

I can say that now because I don’t believe in jinxes, unless we’re talking baseball.

In this case, it’s basketball, boys Section II, classes B and D.

Two weeks ago, we wrapped our hands around the sectional brackets and our minds around the possibility of two all-local finals. In Class B, we had No. 2 Fonda-Fultonville and No. 4 Broadalbin-Perth. In Class D, No. 3 Northville and No. 4 St. Johnsville.

And we still have those four boys teams. They are playing in sectional semifinal games this week, one step away from meeting each other in Saturday’s finals at the Glens Falls Civic Center.

It was a long shot, but one that was fun to think about. Now it’s a much shorter shot.

In Class D today at 5 p.m., Northville will face No. 2 Argyle, a 12-point winner over No. 10 Sharon Springs in the quarterfinals.

Northville beat Sharon Springs by 14 earlier in the year, but lost the rematch by three points Feb. 3. Whether the Falcons can get past Argyle will depend on what team they bring. They brought the team that wins to play Fort Edward in the quarterfinals and got a great defensive effort from guards Jordan Williams and Josh Dietrich, while Ryan VanNostrand put up 23 points.

In Tuesday’s Class D semifinal, St. Johnsville takes on No. 1 North Warren at 5 p.m., which split with Argyle this season. The Saints won the sectional tournament last season with a win over the Cougars and return a good amount of talent from that championship team.

The Saints will need Sparkplug Springer to run a quick-paced transition attack with Jaxson Smith and Anthony Vicciarelli. Don’t forget Travis Dygert — the big man has been more of a factor in the second half of the season and could provide some heft to the post game.

The Class B semis are both played Thursday at the Civic Center. Fonda plays No. 3 Hoosic Valley at 6 p.m. and B-P plays No. 1 Ichabod Crane at 7:30.

Fonda snuck by No. 10 Cohoes in the quarterfinals on a Tyler Hall buzzer-beater. Just as fortunate as they are to survive a late run by a lower seed, so was Hoosic Valley. The Indians slipped by sixth-seeded Saratoga Catholic by a point in the quarters. FFCS split with Spa this season, losing by three in December and winning by 17 Feb. 4.

A good game from Kevin Hanson, complimented by rebounding from Jeff Headwell and Josh Nethaway will go a long way to earning the Braves a trip to the finals.

To meet them there, the Patriots have to get by the top seed in the class. Ichabod Crane was in a knock-down, drag-out against No. 8 Tamarac before a 19-12 fourth quarter. The Riders are by no means unbeatable, but beating them will be a tall order. No team has done it since Rensselaer — the top seed in the Class C bracket — in a Nov. 28 game. In that game, the Riders held a one-point lead with 30 seconds to play.

The Patriots are fresh off a win over fifth-seeded Schuylerville, in which Dan Schulz shook defenders out of their socks in the first half, but when a more team-oriented offensive was called for in the second half, B-P stumbled. The worst part was that they did so without dribbling. Travel calls and blown layups almost gave the game to Schuylerville, but the Black Horses had scoring troubles of their own. Schulz can do a lot for the team, but they are going to need a better performance across the board Thursday if they want to get to the finals.

Rest assured, all four teams are gunning for the finals, and gunning for each other. There’s no better way to win a sectional title than over a local rival.


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