Monday night in Mechanicville the Wasaren League crowned it boys and girls basketball champions with the gentlemen from Hoosick Falls and the ladies of Cambridge earning titles. The present format has only been in play for a couple years after the realignment of the league and it provides for a special night of basketball which everyone in attendance enjoyed on Monday.
I talked a bit about the history of the league, as far back as I could remember, on our pregame broadcast Monday night.
I first remember it being called the Washington County League, then in the early 70’s they took the three counties of Washington, Saratoga and Rensselaer and using the lead letters from each came up with wasaren.
The league back then had eight teams in Greenwich, Cambridge, Hoosic Valley, Hoosick Falls, Stillwater, Tamarac, Salem and Schuylerville. Around 30 years ago it was Salem out and Granville in. Less than 10 years ago out went Schuylerville and in came Mechanicville. Both moves maintained the eight team conference, but the moves of Berlin, Spa Catholic and Waterford into the league, while Granville headed to the Adirondack, gave the Wasaren 10 teams.
With that came two division, the Battenkill and Hudson, and subsequently league championships and the opportunity for a showcase evening. History lesson over.
Shout out to Mechanicville and everyone who played a part in hosting the games, from the scorers table and Louie the PA announcer, to the custodial staff and concession workers all under the direction of Mechanicville athletic director Bob Young, a job well done.
There was a great atmosphere in the packed house Monday night with all four schools well represented by vocal fans. It had a post season feel which will serve the four teams well heading into sectional play.
With sectional bids coming out today, no one out there wants to draw any of these four squads until late in the tournament. Battle tested coming out of the Wasaren, all four have a talented roster, competitive will and the poise to make deep post season runs.
Although injuries, at times are a part of sports it was unfortunate that Cambridge’s Fiona Mooney and Hoosick Falls’ Tristan Williams were out of action in the championship runs. A big loss for both teams and wishing both players all the best in their recoveries.
It was my first chance to see Waterford this year and their starting five is solid. A nice mixture of skill sets with players that can get to the rim, shoot it from the perimeter and pound the glass at both ends. The Fordians aren’t deep, but will be a tough out in sectional play.
There’s a lot to be said about teams that “know how to win” and Hoosick Falls is certainly one that checks the box. With Williams out of the lineup the Panthers sum is greater than it’s parts. Watching them Monday night they reminded me of that pitcher you felt comfortable against in the box, couldn’t wait to grab a bat and get in there, but at the end of the game he’s handed you an 0-4 afternoon. The Falls simply makes winning plays at crucial times. An 18 point scorer out of the lineup, no problem as they figure a way to get it done and that’s a credit to Coach Lilac and his players.
How about the resiliency of Tamarac. Trailing 24-6 at the quarter break to Cambridge, they saw that deficit grow to 22 in the second frame before the Bengals methodically climbed back in. Down 37-21 at the break, Tamarac trimmed the Indians lead to 44-38 at the end of the third and a Jordyn Sorel bucket to start the fourth drew them to within four. That’s as close as they would get, but the Bengals could have folded their tent early. It didn’t happen and you’ve got to love that.
Cambridge is flat out fun to watch. They have four guards who are legitimate long ball threats and the Phillips twins seemingly can beat you off the dribble whenever they choose. And while the Indians have knocked down 112 triples on the year, 10 on Monday night, their transition game is what separates them from other squads. They’ll go to a 1-3-1 half court trap that turns opponents over, and they’re off to the races. The loss of Mooney hurts, but at times on Monday night Coach Phillips moved Lily Phillips into the post offensively and the 5’11” sophomore looked comfortable down low yet still managed to step out and connect three times from beyond the arc.
Lastly, thanks to all the listeners we had for the Monday broadcast. The archived version is available on both our website and Facebook page.