With the Wasaren girls basketball teams fresh off a Saturday where they won six of seven sectional contests, eight boys squads from the league take the floor Tuesday night in the Section II tournament’s Round of 16 for the B and C classifications.
But unlike the girls who played all but one of the games on their respective home courts, the boys schedule offers a reversal of fortune with seven of the eight Wasaren teams playing on the road.
While playing at home is a nice advantage in the second season, it’s the action on the floor, not the noise from the stands that determine outcomes and with that, here’s why almost all of the Wasaren schools can walk into their opponents venue and post a “W”.
#11 Mechanicville 11-8 @ #6 Hudson 13-7: The Blue Hawks out of the Patroon can score the basketball, averaging 77 points per game with 86 3-pointers on the season. Lavon Fernandez at 23 points per, and Dayquan Griffin at 19.1 lead the Blue Hawks offensively. Mechanicville averages 61 points per, and has made 112 triples this year. The Raiders have a balanced attack with Devin Garland, Luciano D’Ambro, Josh Germaine and Nick Billert all scoring in the 10 point range nightly. But the Patroon isn’t the Wasaren and Hudson doesn’t guard anyone giving up 70 points per game defensively. If the Raiders play their A game, they’ll pull the upset here.
#10 Tamarac 13-7 @ #7 Johnstown 13-7: The Sir Bills, out of the Foothills Council score it at 61 points nightly and feature the long ball, having connected 124 times from deep. Senior guard Matthew Boyle leads the Johnstown attack averaging 22.2 per with 57 triples. Tamarac scores 68 points per game and has bottomed 73 from beyond the arc. The Bengals have four players averaging doubles with Frank Zotto, Bo Catherwood, Anthony Ciampolillo and Jacob DeFreest all scoring between 14.0 and 11.6 nightly. In what might be a shootout, if Tamarac can limit the explosive Boyle, and get everyone involved offensively the Bengals can survive and advance.
#18 Rensselaer 2-16 @ #2 Hoosick Falls 17-1: It was hard to find info on the Rams who struggled all season but were able to post a 54-52 decision over Berne-Knox in a play-in game last week. Hoosick Falls scores 62 points per, with 61 makes from long range and are led offensively by junior guard Jon Kempf at 19.8 points nightly. The Panthers will miss their high-scoring big Tristan Williams in the sectionals, but not in this one as the Falls roll over the Rams.
#12 Greenwich 12-7 @ #5 Mayfield 16-4: The Panthers, out of the Western Athletic Conference average 61 points offensively with 133 makes from distance. Trevon Gifford at 19.5 and Garrett Delaney at 19.2 lead the wide open Mayfield attack. The Witches are quite similar on the offensive side scoring 63 points per contest and have knocked down 136 triples on the season. Senior guard John Walsh averages 17.1 with senior forward Carson Mosher adding 10.8 points to the Witches attack. Defend the three line and connect from behind it. The team that does both, walks off with the “W”.
#10 Hoosic Valley 10-10 @ # 7 Canajoharie 13-6: Canjo, another team that hails from the WAC, scores it at 67 per game without the use of the 3-ball having just 68 makes from deep. Luke VanSlyke averages 21.7 per, reaching doubles in all 19 contests, and Joey Nare chips in with 12 points nightly for the Cougars. The Indians average 21 points less than Canjo, scoring 46 points per game with 90 makes from beyond the arc. Senior guard Isaac Carlo at 10.7 leads a quartet including Zach Ryan, Derek Eddy, CJ Bassett and Matt Rowe, capable of leading the Valley offensively on any given night. Defensively the Indians need to keep the Cougars in the low 50’s and if they do, Hoosic Valley, winners in four straight make it five.
#11 Waterford 11-9 @ #6 Granville 14-6: Granville, out of the Adirondack League averages just under 70 points nightly and has bottomed 103 triples this year. They feature a balanced attack led by junior guard Jarett Williams scoring 20 points per. The Fordians score at 63 points per game and have connected 102 times from long range. They too have balanced scoring with senior forward Bobby Valigorski scoring at 17.5, junior guard Michael Talavera 14.6 and sophomore guard TJ Kelley at 10.0 points leading the Waterford offense. Waterford just took Hoosick Falls to the wire in the Wasaren championship game and the Fordians starting five can play with anybody. If Waterford stays out of foul trouble they’ll get past the Golden Horde.
#9 Stillwater 9-9 @ #8 Schoharie 13-7: Schoharie, out of the WAC, scores 60 points nightly and is 6th in Section II in made threes, ringing the bell 145 times this season. Shane Helmstadt leads the Indians in scoring at 14.8 with 38 triples, and Josh Scheller adds 8.3 points per while knocking back 48 from distance. Stillwater, who rebounded from a 1-6 start to the season, averages 51 points per, with 74 made threes. Junior forward Brian McNeil at 13.9 leads the Warriors attack, with Grant Baker, John Luca and Scott Travis all capable scorers. An 8-9 matchup is typically a coin flip. Stillwater has the athletes to defend the three point line, and if they limit Schoharie from long range the Warriors will move on.
Cambridge 7-14 @ #1 Lake George 20-0: The Warriors are defending state champions in Class C and they haven’t missed a beat. The Lake George squad has an explosive offense scoring 74 points nightly, with long range prowess, hitting 155 times from deep. Senior big man Chris Becker leads the show scoring 21.2 points per, while senior forward Mason Flatley adds 15.0 points and 55 made threes to the offense. Cambridge scores in the middle 40’s at 44 per with 58 triples this year. Junior Brian Hall and sophomore Jeffrey Burke both average 10 points per contest but that won’t be enough to hang with undefeated Warriors.