Patriots face Blackbirds for Class B boys crown

BROADALBIN – The month of February was very good for the Broadalbin-Perth boys basketball team.

The Patriots rolled through the month undefeated, including three victories in the Section II Class B postseason tournament en route to a seven-game win streak.

Now they are looking to open March the same way they closed February – with a victory.

The sixth-seeded Patriots will square off against top-seeded Voorheesville at 5:30 p.m. today at the Glens Falls Civic Center.

“We are ready to go and play tonight,” Broadalbin-Perth coach Tucker Gifford said. “Our goal is to play in March and we are there. We have a pretty rich basketball history looking back to 1993 and we want to put our stamp on that legacy.”

The Patriots (16-5) advanced to the championship game with a hard-fought 44-42 victory over No. 2 Hoosick Falls.

“We got in some foul trouble to say the least,” Gifford said. “We had to scramble and put some different line ups out there. Fortunately they matched up and allowed us to take a lead going into halftime even with Andre [leading scorer Andre Taylor] sitting on the bench. Even in the fourth quarter we had a freshman off the JVs play some big minutes. We always say that anybody sitting on our bench has to be ready to answer the call.”

Voorheesville (20-1 overall) reached the championship game with a 59-47 semifinal win over No. 5 Mechanicville.

“They have some athleticism especially in their point guards and they have some big guys in there that are pretty good as well,” Gifford said. “We need to stop their penetration and keep them off the boards while attacking their pressure in the zone.”

The Patriots have been upbeat since toppling the Panthers to return to the finals for the first time since back-to-back appearances in 2008 and 2009 and winning the Class B title in 2009.

“They were upbeat because it is one step closer to our goal,” Gifford said. “The past couple of days, practice has been very good. They are focused and anxious to get back on the court [tonight].”

Taylor, who was held to four points against Hoosick Falls, leads the Patriots in scoring with 376 points, while Ryan Dingman has compiled 292 points including 64 3-pointers. After that the scoring is balanced with three players, Robbie Van Brocklin, Preston Taylor and Connor Pingitore, all scoring more than 90 points this season.

“As much as we have a couple of leading scorers we have other guys who do the little stuff for us and seem to find a way to win,” Gifford said. “This team has an air about them that we can play and we are fine not being the favorite.”

After Tuesday’s victory over Hoosick Falls, Andre Taylor made note that it is exciting being a member of both a Broadalbin-Perth football team and basketball team that reached sectional championship games.

“I don’t know when it was the last time we had a team in football and basketball going to the finals,” Gifford said. “We want to finish off what they started.”