Patriots advance to Class B title game
By JAMES A. ELLIS
GLENS FALLS – The Broadalbin-Perth Patriots are headed to the Section II Class B championship game.
The sixth-seeded Patriots upset second-seeded Hoosick Falls, 44-42, on Tuesday to punch their ticket to Saturday’s championship game against top-seeded Voorheesville.
The Blackbirds defeated Mechanicville 59-47 in the other semifinal contest.
“I hope you guys came to see an ugly basketball game tonight because that is what you got from beginning to end,” Broadalbin-Perth coach Tucker Gifford told the media after the win. “Winning a game in the 40s, I think we probably set things back about 20 years, maybe longer. The important thing is we found a way to win. We don’t really want to be in the 40s, we would like to score higher, but we still found a way. Our guys stepped up big tonight.”
The Patriots got off to a quick start with senior Andre Taylor hitting four of B-P’s six first-quarter points, while Austin Pitt pumped in six points to help the Panthers build an 11-6 first-quarter lead.
Although Taylor, the Patriots’ leading scorer, had four points in the opening period, he also was whistled for a his second personal foul in the opening minute of the second quarter.
With their leader on the bench, Broadalbin-Perth found a way to overtake the Panthers.
Robbie Van Brocklin found his range from behind the 3-point arc, hitting for a pair, and Colby Hartz also hit from deep to go with a field goal and a pair of free throws from Jake Coveney to give the Patriots a 19-17 lead at the break.
“We weathered the storm without him,” Gifford said. “I was content to go into the half up by two and have our best player sitting on the bench for the whole second quarter. That was huge. We had guys step up and make some big 3s in that second quarter. They rose to the occasion.”
The Patriots weathered a different storm in the third period – fouls.
Preston Taylor and Ryan Dingman combined to score the Patriots’ 11 third-quarter points, but Broadalbin-Perth was whistled for 12 fouls in the period, giving Hoosick Falls 18 attempts from the free-throw line. However, the Panthers converted on only six of the attempts and did not score a basket from the field in the period, allowing Broadalbin-Perth to carry a 30-23 lead into the final period.
Dingman gave the Patriots a double-digit lead, 33-23, with his 3-pointer in the opening minute and Preston Taylor stole the ball and was fouled driving to the hoop. He made 1 of 2 free throws to take the lead to 34-23.
Mark Hackett broke the Panthers’ scoring drought from the field with his 3-pointer with 6:52 left in the game.
The Wasaren League champion Panthers chipped away at the Broadalbin-Perth lead and trimmed it to two, 38-36, before Dingman hit his second 3-pointer of the period to take the lead back to five, 41-36.
Hoosick Falls answered with a 3-pointer from Noah Chani and got a free throw from Andrew Hoag to put the score at 41-40 with 1:23 left on the clock.
Hoag drove to the basket and gave the Panthers the lead, 42-41, with his layup with 50 seconds left.
The Panthers forced a turnover on Broadalbin-Perth’s next trip down the court, but the Patriots scrambled and Preston Taylor knocked the ball free and recovered it before sending a pass to Andre Taylor in the corner. Andre opted to pass the ball inside to Chris Natoli, who was trailing the play, to lay the ball in for the go-ahead basket with 21.3 seconds remaining.
“I knew we needed the score and they obviously thought I was going to shoot it so they double-teamed me,” Andre Taylor said. “I thought about shooting it but Chris is one of our best finishers down low. I got him the ball and he did it. I knew if he concentrated he would get it. That was definitely the biggest shot of the game.”
The Patriots got the stop they needed on the Panthers’ next possession.
With Hoosick Falls working the ball around the Broadalbin-Perth zone, Connor Pingitore poked the ball away from Will Bradley. The loose ball ended up in the hands of Jake Coveney, who was immediately fouled and sent to the free-throw line with 5.4 seconds remaining.
Coveney hit the first but had the second roll out, giving the Panthers one more possession, trailing 44-42.
“I felt confident going into the free throws,” Coveney said. “The first one I got a little bounce and made it in with a little shooter’s touch. The second one went in and out.”
Hoosick Falls got the ball in bounds but a 3-point attempt from Hoag came up short, giving the Patriots the upset victory and a berth in Saturday’s championship game.
“We were in foul trouble all night and it caused us to shift our lineup around,” Gifford said. “We had a freshman kid [Jeff Derwin] coming up from JVs putting in four or five minutes tonight. We were scrambling. It was like we went from Plan A to Plan B to Plan C and I think we might have gotten down to Plan L or something like that.”
Seven Patriots put points in the book with Dingman leading the way with 11 and Preston Taylor hitting for 10 points, four assists and two steals. Natoli finished with 10 rebounds to go with four points, while Andre Taylor had four points, well below his 18.6 points per game average coming into the contest.
“For us to get a W in the semifinals of the Class B tournament and Andre score only four points, when he has scored 30 and 35 is great,” Gifford said. “We said all week that we were going to need somebody to step up and it wasn’t just one guy, it was a bunch of guys. That was true team basketball.”
Austin Pitt hit for 16 points to lead the Panthers scoring, while Hoag added 10 points and 11 rebounds. The Patriots held Hackett, the team’s leading score with a 13.45 points per game average, to seven points and Hoosick Falls, which came in averaging 60.65 point per game, to 42 points.
The Panthers converted on 16 of 35 free-throw attempts in the game, while Broadalbin-Perth was 7 for 16.
Hoosick Falls finishes its season with a 19-2 overall record, while Broadalbin-Perth improves to 16-5 overall.
Broadalbin-Perth 44, Hoosick Falls 42
Broadalbin-Perth6 13 11 14 – 44
Hoosick Falls11 6 6 19 – 42
Coveney 1-4-6, Dingman 4-0-11, Hartz 1-0-3, Natoli 2-0-4, A. Taylor 2-0-4, P. Taylor 3-3-10, Van Brocklin 2-0-6. Totals: 15-7-44.
Brewster 1-1-3, Chani 2-1-6, Hackett 2-1-7, Hoag 2-5-10, Pitt 5-6-16. Totals: 12-14-42.
3-point goals: Broadalbin-Perth 7 (Dingman 3, Van Brocklin 2, P. Taylor, Hartz); Hoosick Falls 4 (Hackett 2, Hoag, Chani).