GLENS FALLS, N.Y. – The last remaining handful of still-alive basketball teams are entering one-and-done territory.
As in one weekend and then everyone’s done.
The Federation basketball championships in Glens Falls from Friday through Sunday mark the end of a season that for some schools began before Thanksgiving break in November. And while the traditional season-ending event is regarded by some as anti-climatic after victories in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association finals last weekend in Glens Fall and Troy, the Federation event does hold more than a little intrigue.
For starters, the format of the tournament creates interesting situations. The Federation is comprised of four organizations – the virtually all-encompassing NYSPHSAA, New York City’s PSAL, the AIS (mostly independent schools in the metropolitan New York City area) and the CHSAA (Catholic schools mostly in NYC and Buffalo).
But not every organization sends representatives in all three boys and girls classes. So the boys Class AA semifinal on Saturday pits Abraham Lincoln against Rice for Big Apple bragging rights. Rice (22-3) has the superior records but four-time reigning PSAL champ Lincoln (22-10) has the big-name player: guard Lance Stephenson, the state’s career scoring leader.
As is the case whenever the best of the PSAL and the CHSAA get together, the game will be emotional and played with plenty of intensity. The winners could very well be spent, but they’ll have to come back 21 hours later to play for the championship against Newburgh, which has shocked Mount Vernon and Niagara Falls in its last two games and gets the benefit of a first-round bye.
And then there’s the Class A boys field, which is full – too full, in fact. Despite the achievements of the Class AA teams, the ‘A’ winner may very well be able to make that very rare case for being regarded as the best team in any New York classification.
Jamesville-DeWitt (26-1), coming off a 77-75 win in overtime against an outstanding Peekskill team despite a sub-par performance by Brandon Triche, has lost only to bitter local rival Syracuse CBA. Iona Prep (27-1) has scarcely had a close game since a four-point loss to that same Peekskill squad over the Christmas break.
The winner of Friday’s J-D vs. Iona Prep game gets either Curtis (25-8) – the first Staten Island boys team ever to play in the semifinals -- or Long Island Lutheran (17-8), which went from a .500 team to a buzz saw once Tobias Harris returned from an early-season ankle injury.
Coming off a classic game against Peekskill and having already bagged a Federation championship last winter, Jamesville-DeWitt might be entitled to just mail it in. But coach Bob McKenney says there’s no chance of the Red Rams letting down.
“It’s the last weekend of the season,” he said this week. “We take it very seriously. Your goal is to win the last name. No matter how great you feel this weekend if you lose next weekend you’re going to feel terrible. We’ll refocus. I think Brandon wants to come back here and play one more good weekend.”
“We’re not done. We’ve got a job to do.”
Said Triche after last weekend’s championship: “This was for a ring and there won’t be as many fans next weekend, but you still want to end your career with a win.”
The three girls classes don’t hold quite the same drama as the boys, but Class AA will grab some attention because CHSAA rep St. Michael’s Academy already dethroned longtime national power Christ The King in the CHSAA quarterfinals. Should it beat Copaigue on Saturday, St. Michael’s will meet 11-time defending PSAL champion Murry Bergtraum, again for New York City bragging rights.
This weekend’s Federation pairings in Glens Falls:
Boys Class AA
Saturday, 3:45 p.m. – Rice (CHSAA) vs. Abraham Lincoln (PSAL).
Sunday’s final, 2 p.m. – Saturday winner vs. Newburgh Free Academy (NYSPHSAA).
Boys Class A
Friday, 6:45 p.m. – Long Island Lutheran (AIS) vs. Staten Island Curtis (PSAL),
Friday, 8:30 p.m. – Iona Prep (CHSAA) vs. Jamesville-DeWitt (NYSPHSAA).
Saturday’s final, 7:30 p.m. – Semifinal winners.
Boys Class B
Friday, 3:15 p.m. – Collegiate (AIS) vs. Brooklyn College Academy (PSAL).
Friday, 5 p.m. – Lancaster St. Mary’s (CHSAA) vs. Bishop Kearney (NYSPHSAA).
Saturday’s final, 5:45 p.m. – Semifinal winners.
Girls Class AA
Saturday, 2 p.m. – Copaigue (NYSPHSAA) vs. St. Michael’s Academy (CHSAA).
Sunday’s final, noon – Saturday winner vs. Murry Bergtraum (PSAL).
Girls Class A
Friday, 1:30 p.m. – Newark (NYSPHSAA) vs. Kellenberg (CHSAA).
Saturday, 12:15 p.m. – Saturday winner vs. Baruch College Campus (PSAL).
Girls Class B
Friday, 10 a.m. – Long Island Lutheran (AIS) vs. Lafayette (PSAL).
Friday, 11:45 a.m. – Nanuet (NYSPHSAA) vs. Mount Mercy (CHSAA)
Saturday, 10:30 a.m. – Semifinal winners.
More basketball: Emptying the notebook
- Jamesville-DeWitt’s Triche has been selected Gatorade's boys basketball player of the year in New York. The 6-foot-4 senior is averaging 22.3 points, 6.7 assists and 6.2 rebounds per game. ...
- Attendance at the Glens Falls Civic Center was 17,157 for 15 games over five sessions of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association boys tournament. With no Section II teams participating in the Federation tournament, total attendance might not eclipse 5,000. ...
- Rice senior forward James Stukes will attend South Kent (Conn.) Prep next year with the hope of attracting more attention from recruiters. Stukes had tentatively planned to attend Robert Morris. ...
- C.G. Finney from outside Rochester, undefeated in Class D until losing to Maple Grove in the NYSPHSAA boys quarterfinals, will move up to Class C next year. ...
- Former all-state player Chris Rogers was killed in front of his house in Rochester. Rogers, 22, a 12th-team all-state pick in Class AA for East High in 2005, was shot at least once on Tuesday and pronounced dead at a local hospital.
Boys lacrosse: West Genesee begins title defense with a win
- Defending boys state Class A lacrosse champion West Genesee gave up the first two goals of the game, then rallied to an 8-6 victory over Irondequoit in its 2009 opener Tuesday. It was the 13th straight victory for the Wildcats. Junior midfielder John Glesener scored two goals and was 8-for-11 on faceoffs. ...
- Corning East earned a 15-10 win against Corning West, giving the Trojans a 100-1 record in the all-time series between the schools. East had been 97-0 in the unbelievably lopsided “rivalry” until dropping a 9-8 overtime game in May 2007.
Ice hockey: All-star teams announced:
Mamaroneck senior defenseman Sean Hagan became the first Section 1 player selected player of the year in honors announced by the New York State High School Hockey Coaches Association.
Joining Hagen on the Division I first team all-stars are forwards Matt Willows of Clarkstown North, Riley Bourbonnais of Greece Athena/Odyssey, Nathan Pichette of Massena and Erich Haney of West Genesee; defenseman Eric Gunderson of Athena/Odyssey; and goalie Luke Glaser of Mamaroneck.
New Hartford junior forward Michael Zalewski was selected the player of the year in Division II.
The other all-stars are forwards Marc Flory of Pelham, Thomas Fiorentino of New Hartford and Kevin Corbett of Queensbury; defenders Joe Amico of Webster Thomas and Jake Silberlight of New Hartford; and goalie Dylan Smith of New Hartford.
By the way, Zaleski appears to have his mind set on leaving to play Junior A or prep-school hockey next winter. Zalewski, the last of three brothers to play for New Hartford, had a goal and an assist in the state championship game raise his season totals to 44 goals and 87 points.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.