GLENS FALLS, N.Y. —
When Erik Spoelstra opts to give LeBron James and Dwyane Wade their space rather than sitting them down for a talk during rough going, it's a case of the Miami Heat coach knowing who's the boss. (Hint: It isn't Erik Spoelstra.)
When Bob Cimmino takes the same approach with guard
, it's a case of a superb high school coach knowing how best to handle the latest in a long line of great players to wear the maroon and gold uniform of Mt. Vernon
A case in point came this weekend, when the Knights won twice to earn their record ninth New York State Public High School Athletic Association championship, breaking a tie with Bridgehampton by beating Jamestown 62-51 in the Class AA final at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
Hinds ran into first-half foul trouble Saturday in the semifinals and posted just 10 points and a single assist in a 69-65 win vs. Half Hollow Hills West.
"Someone said, 'Jabarie didn't have a stellar game yesterday. You've got to talk to him,'" said Cimmino, in his 17th season as the head coach. "I don't talk to him. I congratulate him a little when he has a great game, (otherwise) I just leave him alone. He's taught me that he's strong enough to do that."
Cimmino knew what he was doing by leaving the West Virginia recruit alone. Hinds was superb against Jamestown, scoring 16 points in the first half and finishing with 26 points, five rebounds and five assists.
"I knew I'd have to have a good day for us to win," said Hinds, co-recipient of New York's Mr. Basketball award last week.
Said Cimmino: "I'm just so proud of him."
As it turns out, Hinds did get a pep talk of sorts from some of the Mount Vernon faithful who made the trip upstate.
"Everyone from home was telling me yesterday I'd better come home with the ‘chip,'" he said, laughing.
Hinds' heroics advanced Mount Vernon to next weekend's season-ending Federation tournament in Albany. The Knights will play Boys & Girls (Brooklyn)
for the right to meet Christ the King (Middle Village)
for the championship.
Cimmino will be pursuing his fourth Federation championship and the school's fifth. On Sunday, he moved into a tie with Peekskill's Lou Panzanaro and Jamesville-DeWitt's Bob McKenney by winning his fifth NYSPHSAA title.MaxPreps New York boys basketball playoff bracketsMORE BOYS CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES
* The Class A tournament was about what you would expect: Jamesville-DeWitt
toyed with the opposition in the first half, snuffed out threats in the second half and presented coach Bob McKenney with his fifth state championship.
Six-foot-9 DaJuan Coleman
, every Division I program's coveted low-post recruit, nailed two 3-pointers en route to 22 points to go with 16 rebounds as the Red Rams defeated Harborfields 66-51 in the final. Forward Tyler Cavanaugh
added 22 points and 13 rebounds.
A day earlier, Coleman scored 17 in the first half and 19 overall on 9-for-12 shooting as J-D defeated Aquinas. That game drew considerably tighter after the Red Rams raced to a 20-8 lead, but Aquinas opened the door for other threats by double- and triple-teaming Coleman after the half.
Harborfields also fell far back early before chipping away in the second half. But J-D went on another run in the fourth quarter, capped by Coleman's 3-pointer to make it 64-37.
J-D moves on to the Federation tournament semifinals in Albany on Friday against Long Island Lutheran (Brookville)
* Burke Catholic (Goshen)
fell one game short a season ago, dropping the state final to Westhill. There was no such disappointment this weekend as the Eagles (23-2) executed nearly flawlessly. First they avenged the Westhill loss with a 64-58 win in the semis, then they returned Saturday to beat Potsdam 62-52 in the Class B final.
Burke shot a combined 47-for-93 (50.5 percent) and totaled 26 assists to offset just 26 turnovers in 64 minutes of action. Tournament MVP Dante Cowart
shot 10-for-16 for 22 points to go along with seven rebounds in the final. Zach Rufer
carried the load against Westhill by making three of four 3-pointers, scoring 28 points and hauling down nine rebounds.
* No Section VIII boys team had won a NYSPHSAA title below the Class B level since Wheatley captured Class C in 1985. With so few small schools on Long Island, the Friends Academy (Locust Valley)
played a lot of Class B competition and took some losses against the likes of Malverne (18-2), 65-64 and 44-41 but grew tougher because of it.
It paid off Saturday in the form of a 46-44 victory over Syracuse Academy of Science in the Class C final. A day earlier, the Quakers (16-4) shocked top-ranked International Prep at Grover Cleveland 53-48. Tournament MVP Tommy Costa
scored 13 vs. I-Prep and then 14 in the final, posting three assists in each.
* At 6-foot-4 and with thighs as thick as tree trunks, Fred Russ
would be the Big Man on Campus at a lot of Class D schools. He's not even the big man on the court 95 percent of the time at New York Mills
, where 6-foot-9 Matt Welch
also happens to play.
In a pinch, the Marauders could have even put three other six-footers on the court alongside their big men.
"We can put five people on the court over 6-1 or 6-2," Russ said Saturday after New York Mills beat Coleman Catholic 47-42 for the title. "It bothers people a lot, a Class D team being so big and good. Some college Division III teams can't do that. People don't want to play against us with our size. It frustrates people but we love it and we love playing."
Well, they've finally run out of people to frustrate. The victory Saturday completed a 24-0 season. Russ was selected the tournament MVP. After shooting 8-for-9 against Chateaugay in a 59-55 semifinal triumph, he rolled up 17 points, 20 rebounds and a pair of blocked shots vs. Coleman.
It brought the school its first basketball championship since 1982 and a measure of satisfaction after a season in which Charles G. Finney in Penfield was assumed by many to be the eventual champion.
"All those teams people said would knock us out? They ended up getting knocked out themselves," Russ said.John Schiano, who has written about high school sports in western and central New York for more than 25 years, covers New York for MaxPreps. He may be reached at email@example.com.