Dragons fall to Troy in Class A title game

Bouchard nets 31 in 69-55 Gloversville loss to Flying Horses

Gloversville's Joey Rowback (23) eyes the basket after getting past Troy's Alex Wolfe during the Section II Class A championship game Saturday at the Cool Insuring Arena in Glens Falls. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)

GLENS FALLS — The Gloversville Dragons quest for their first sectional title in 30 years came up short Saturday at the Cool Insuring Arena.

Facing top-seeded Troy in the Section II Class A championship game, the second-seeded Dragons matched the Flying Horses in the opening quarter. However, a strong second-quarter surge gave Troy enough breathing room to pull away to a 69-55 victory to claim its first title since 2016.

“We wanted them to take contested jump shots and credit them, they were hitting them,” Gloversville coach Aric Kucel said. “That is a team that could easily win the state title. They have all the pieces, they have size, athletes that get to the rim really well and knock down perimeter jump shots. That is a really, really good team.”

Playing in its first sectional title game since 2009, Gloversville got off to a quick start with Dante Bouchard hitting a 3-pointer just over a minute into the game, which Troy’s Alex Wolfe matched on the next trip down the floor.

The Gloversville defense kept the Flying Horses away from the basket, but the Troy shooters hit all their first-quarter points from behind the 3-point line.

Gloversville seniors Andrew Stanfield (1) and Julien Deumaga (4) get congratulations from their team members as the leave the floor late in the fourth quarter during Saturday's Section II Class A championship game at the Cool Insuring Arena in Glens Falls. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)

Joey Rowback hit a 3-pointer,. a pair of layups and found Kadyn Ruggeri with a long pass for a buzzer-beating layup to put the score at 12-12 at the end of the opening quarter.

Gloversville took the lead early in the second quarter on a basket from Julien Deumaga, before Jadon Cummings hit Troy’s first non-3-point basket.

Bouchard completed a three-point play to put Gloversville back on top 17-15, before Nazaire Merritt hit a free throw and a 3-pointer to put the Flying Horses back in front and spark an 18-6 run to help Troy take a 33-23 lead into the locker room at the break.

“I thought the second quarter really hurt us,” Kucel said. “We didn’t run our stuff as much and had a couple of turnovers that led to easy baskets. That was the quarter that really hurt us. We had some looks but they didn’t fall and they [Troy] were making some tough ones.”

Bouchard found his scoring touch in the third quarter, hitting for 17 of the Dragons’ 20 points in the quarter with Anderson Jones hit a 3-pointer for the balance.

Gloversville's Dante Bouchard (00) drives to the hoop for two of his game-high 31 points against Troy in the Section II Class A championship game Saturday at the Cool Insuring Arena in Glens Falls. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)

With the surge, Gloversville trimmed the Flying Horses lead to single digits, 50-43 heading into the final period.

Zaveon Little put Troy back up by 10 with a 3-pointer in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter that Bouchard answered with a basket to put the score at 53-45.

Gloversville could get no closer as Merritt converted on 7-of-10 free throws down the stretch to lock up the Class A title for Troy.

“We wanted to string a few stops together but credit them, they hit shots,” Kucel said. “Someone has to win the game and they won it with being able to make shots.”

Bouchard finished the game with a game-high 31 points, including five 3-pointers, while Rowback finished with 11 points, eight rebounds and a block and Ruggeri added six points, four rebounds and three blocks. Deumaga added 10 rebounds, and four points, while Jones had three points and four rebounds.

“[Bouchard] is extremely talented and has already hit 1,000 at his grade level,” Troy coach Greg Davis said. “He played well but we executed our game plan, which was to get up and guard him all the way. We play nine or 10 guys a game any way so our depth helped. We were able to keep a fresh guy on him and keep the pressure on him.”

Bouchard finished the season with 101 3-pointers and boosted his career scoring total to 1,486, while Rowback increased his career total to 1,047 as they both closed out their junior seasons.

Coach Kucel commented on the final game in maroon and white for seniors Deumaga and Andrew Stanfield.

“They are two guys we are really going to miss,” he said. “They started every game for us this year and are everything we want a Dragon basketball player to be.”

Latyce Faison led the Troy scorers with 26 points, while Merritt hit for 16 points and nine rebounds and Jay-Quan Moore chipped in with nine.

The Gloversville bench watches intently as the Dragons work the ball against the Troy Flying Horses in the Section II Class A championship game Saturday at the Cool Insuring Arena. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)

Merritt was named the Class A Tournament MVP, while Bouchard and Rowback were named to the all-tournament team from Gloversville, along with Troy’s Faison, Mohonasen’s Chase Monroe and Mekeel Christian’s Osvaldo DeJesus.

Troy (19-4) advances to play Section X champion Franklin Academy of Malone (16-7) in the state regional semifinals at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Saratoga Springs High School.

“We heard a lot of talk from different places that they couldn’t believe Gloversville was here in the finals,” Kucel said. “We know who we are and the time we put in. A lot of people don’t come out to Gloversville games because of where we are, but we have a lot of special players. The three losses this season were to championship teams.”

Gloversville closes out its season with a 20-3 record with two losses to Class B champion Glens Falls and one to Class A champ Troy.

Section II Class A Final

Gloversville coach Aric Kucel, center, accepts the Section II Class A finalist plaque from Section II Committee members Don Landrio, left, and Bill Higgins Saturday at the Cool Insuring Arena in Glens Falls. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)

Troy 69, Gloversville 55

Gloversville 12 11 20 12 — 55

Troy 12 19 19 19 — 69

Gloversville

Bouchard 8-10-31, Deumaga 1-2-4, Ruggeri 2-2-6, Rowback 4-2-11, Jones 1-0-3. Totals: 16-16-55.

Troy

Johnson 2-0-4, Merritt 2-11-16, Moore 3-0-9, Cummings 2-0-4, Wolfe 2-0-6, Faison 10-0-26, Little 1-1-4. Totals: 22-12-69.

3-point goals: Gloversville 7 (Dante Bouchard 5, Joey Rowback, Anderson Jones); Troy 13 (Latyce Faison 6, Jay-Quan Moore 3, Alex Wolfe 2, Zaveon Little, Nazaire Merritt).

Troy's Jadon Cummings (15) guards Gloversville's Julien Deumaga (4) as he drives toward the hoop during Saturday's Section II Class A championship game at the Cool Insuring Arena in Glens Falls. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)

Gloversville's Kadyn Ruggeri gains control of a loose ball while under pressure from Troy's Lateef Johnson (5) during the Section II Class A championship game Saturday at the Cool Insuring Arena in Glens Falls. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)

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