Dragons, Rams set for semis

GLENS FALLS – It will be the Foothills Council against the Big 10 in tonight’s Section II Class A semifinals at the Glens Falls Civic Center.

In the opening game, slated to tip off at 6 p.m., Foothills Council runner-up and No. 3 seed Gloversville (15-4 overall) will take on Big 10 runner-up and No. 2 seed Troy (16-3 overall). The game will be followed by Big 10 contender and No. 5 seed Amsterdam (9-10 overall) against top-seeded and undefeated Foothills Council champion Scotia-Glenville (19-0 overall) at 7:30 p.m. The Tartans also are the two-time defending Class A champions and ranked No. 1 in the state among Class A teams.

Troy drops down from the Class AA, where it won the Section II title in 2012, into Class A this season.

While graduation claimed a large portion of the championship team, returnees Dyaire Holt (19.6 ppg) and Zach Radz (14.1 ppg) have stepped up as leaders for the Flying Horses.

“They are a very talented group and one of best teams in Section II,” Gloversville coach Mark LeFever said. “Both of their guards [Holt and Radz] can shoot it and can get to the rim. They pose a threat to us so we hope to contain those two guards. They are physical inside and like to bang the boards. It will be key for us to keep them off the boards and not allow second and third opportunities. They like to push the ball up the floor, as do we, when the opportunity arises.”

The Dragons advance to the Civic Center for the first time since 2010, LeFever’s first year as head coach.

Asa Barnhill leads Gloversville in scoring, averaging 18.9 points per game. He has hit 51 3-pointers this season en route to scoring 359 points. Keyshawn Arnold also has found success from behind the arc hitting 45 3-pointers and averaging 13.2 points per game. As a team, Gloversville ranks in the top five in Section II with 150 3-pointers scored this season.

“Asa is a focal point for them but we have some things in place to try and create space for him to get open looks,” LeFever said. “But our compliment of players needs to have good game also. Our perimeter shooting needs to be good and we need to get opportunities from Bar [Barceem Dukes] and Hunt [Hunter Goodwin] inside.

Dukes and Goodwin has been solid under the boards all season, often posting double-doubles in rebounds and points scored, mainly off put backs and low-post power moves. Dukes has averaged 10.9 points per game, while Goodwin had put up 8.3 points per game.

They will have to deal with Troy’s big men, 6-foot-8 sophomore Jack McLaren and 6-foot-6 freshman Anthony Kempster.

“They have a 6-foot-6 freshman who shoots the ball well and has skills,” LeFever said. “There are other kids who are good size and are bangers. They pose a real threat. Our guys know what is coming at us and we look forward to the challenge.”

Staying disciplined with the ball in their offensive sets will be key for the Dragons’ success.

“We have to take care of the ball offensively and get second and third chances,” LeFever said. “They are going to apply a tremendous amount of pressure. I believe we can’t give them any more than 60 points. I think we can score that many points. The first four or five minutes will be crucial tonight but our kids have always been up to the challenge of a big game.”

Although the Amsterdam Running Rams do not have a record above .500, they have pulled off upsets through the season and are riding a four-game win streak.

Earlier this season Amsterdam upset Troy 77-76 in overtime.

Kory Bergh connected for eight 3-pointers and 33 points in the game. The sophomore has stepped up as the Running Rams’ leading scorer with 306 points this year and 54 3-pointers.

Amsterdam advanced to the semifinals when Andrew Rouse hit a game-tying 3-pointer in the closing seconds of regulation and sparked the Rams’ in overtime for a 64-61 win over No. 4 Averill Park last Sunday at Hudson Valley Community College.

“Averill Park could not get into an offense because we were going crazy on defense. Helter-skelter style I like to call it,” Amsterdam coach Tony Orapello said. “We have been waiting and are ready and waiting [to play Scotia-Glenville]. We beat Troy earlier this year so we are confident.”

Scotia is paced by Joe Cremo who has poured in 486 points so far this season, while Alex Sausville, Schuyler Sayles and Dom LeMorta have proven to be effective from long range, combining for 103 3-pointers. Sausville has 39, while Sayles and LeMorta have 32 apiece.