GLENS FALLS - The drought is over.
The Fonda-Fultonville boys basketball team downed Watervliet 62-54 in the Section II Class B final at the Glens Falls Civic Center on Sunday to clinch the program's first sectional title since the 1969-1970 season.
Seth Hidde scored 22 points and pulled down nine rebounds to lead the top-seeded Braves (22-0 overall) and keep their perfect season alive.
The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis
2010 Section II Class B Champion Fonda-Fultonville Braves
The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis
Watervliet’s Griffin Kelly, left, attempts to draw the foul as Fonda-Fultonville’s Seth Hidde (14) drives to the hoop Sunday in the Section II Class B championship game at the Glens Falls Civic Center. Looking on is the Cannoneers’ Nick Durocher.
The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis
Brandon Mercado (10), Tyler Hall (2), and the rest of the Fonda-Fultonville Braves raise the championship plaque for the fans to see Sunday after defeating Watervliet, 62-54, to win the Section II Class B championship at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
"It feels great," Hidde said on winning the title. "That was a good team effort for us on both sides of the ball. Both teams played well, but it was a good feeling to get a sectional title after coming up short the past few years."
FFCS was making its fourth trip to the Glens Falls Civic Center in the last five years. This season was the first time the Braves advanced to the finals, and they made the most of it.
Hidde scored six of the Braves' first eight points to help FFCS jump out to an 8-2 lead. He also scored six points, while keying a 12-0 run in the third quarter to help the Braves distance themselves from the Cannoneers.
"A lot of guys were finding me with good passes," Hidde said. "Our chemistry was flowing all game. Everyone had their heads up looking for people, and we were dishing the ball around, making good passes for easy shots."
Hidde finished with 12 points in the quarter; including two three-point plays to help FFCS outscore Watervliet 27-15 in the period and take a 52-35 lead into the fourth quarter.
"Seth [Hidde] is a great player and a phenomenal athlete," Fonda-Fultonville coach Eric Wilson said. "It was nice to see him break out a little bit and get some opportunities where he caught the ball in good spots. He was finishing his shots and had some huge rebounds for us. It's nice to see him step up for us in a game like this."
FFCS never allowed Watervliet (18-4 overall) to get into its trademark run-and-gun transition offense, holding Section II's top scoring team 17 points under its average.
"It was a total team effort," Wilson said. "The kids came out focused, and I think we had a pretty good game plan going in, and we executed it."
Wilson said the Braves wanted to keep Watervliet out of the lane, make them play half-court offense, and control the boards.
"I was happy with the way we kept them out of the paint," Wilson said. "Devonte Gleason got down the lane a couple times, but all the shots he took were tough shots. Rebounding, we held our own and except for one lapse we did a pretty good job on the glass. Transition defense was excellent. Other than [one] dunk, they really didn't get a chance to get out and run because we did a good job getting back."
Devonte Gleason, averaging 15.2 points per game coming into Sunday's final, was held to a season-low four points on 2-for-20 shooting from the field. A large reason for that was the pesky play of FFCS' Tyler Hall.
"We're lucky enough to have Tyler [Hall] at Fonda," Wilson said. "It's been a team effort all year defensively, but Hall was phenomenal. I thought he did a great job with Devonte Gleason who is such a good player and so quick."
Hall said he just tried to stay with Gleason and not allow him to dribble penetrate the Braves' zone defense.
"I just tried to keep him in front," Hall said. "His shots weren't on tonight. I wanted to get him off his game a little bit, and my teammates helped me out a lot with help side. It's wasn't just me, it was everyone playing team defense."
Watervliet coach Robert Bowden said Fonda-Fultonville did a great job disrupting Gleason.
"They did an excellent job on him defensively, and he never got into the flow of the game," Bowden said. "He was a couple votes away from being the MVP in our league. When he has a good game, we really kind of fly, but credit their defense. They did a great job on him."
Not only was Hall instrumental in shutting down Gleason, he also was the Braves' floor general picking up 10 assists and six points.
"He does it all," Wilson said of Hall. "If you look at his stat sheet, it's not always going to be impressive. But, what he does for this team goes beyond the numbers. He takes control of the offense and gets us organized as well as runs some clock when needed. He's our unsung hero."
Devonte's brother, Jordan, led the Cannoneers with 23 points. Nick Durocher added 14 points. However, Watervliet shot just 35 percent from the field and 53 percent from the free-throw line, while Fonda-Fultonville shot 44 percent from the floor and 73 percent from the foul stripe.
"I thought for most of the game they played with more energy than we did," Bowden said. "For some reason we didn't match them energy wise, and that third-quarter run was certainly a big example of that and things kind of snowballed from there."
FFCS silenced its critics during the run to the Class B crown. The Braves beat three Colonial Council teams, a league in which they'll be moving to next season, as well as local rival Johnstown.
"Since we are in a lower league, people don't think we're that good," Hall said. "But we're definitely good, and we proved it tonight."
Hidde was named the tournament's most valuable player.
"That caught me off guard," Hidde said with a laugh. "I didn't see that coming, but it's definitely a good feeling."
He was joined on the all-tournament team by teammate Brandon Mercado, Watervliet's Jordan Gleason and Nick Durocher, Johnstown's Ian Yost, and Schenectady Christian's Chris McCarty.
FFCS advances to the regional semifinals where it will face Section VII champion Plattsburgh (17-4 overall) on Friday at 6 p.m. at Hudson Valley Community College. The winner moves on to face Section X champion Potsdam (18-2 overall) in regional finals on Saturday at HVCC.
"I couldn't be more proud of the group of guys in there," Wilson said of his team. "They deserve this. They have worked so hard this year and have been committed and dedicated. They work hard every day in practice. I'm happy for them."
Fonda-Fultonville 62, Watervliet 54
Watervliet10 10 15 19 - 54
Fonda-Fultonville 14 11 27 10 - 62
D. Gleason 2-0-4, Kelly 2-0-4, J. Gleason 9-2-23, Pontore 3-2-8, Durocher 4-3-14, Nittinger 0-1-1, Totals: 20-8-54
Hall 2-2-6, Hanson 3-0-8, Mercado 5-1-13, J. Sheehan 2-0-5, Hidde 7-8-22, Nethaway 4-0-8, Totals: 23-11-62
3-point goals: Watervliet 6 (J. Gleason 3, Durocher 3); Fonda-Fultonville 5 (Hanson 2, Mercado 2, J. Sheehan 1).