When the Section II boys basketball tournament brackets were posted for Class C, many felt it was a foregone conclusion that the championship game would feature #1 Lake George and #2 Hoosick Falls. Easy to say but both squads have had to navigate the classification’s minefield, and with Lake George waiting, courtesy of their 69-44 semifinal win over Mayfield last night, the Panthers have one more obstacle to deal with on their journey to the title game.
Tonight at the Cool Insuring Arena the Falls will run with #3 Maple Hill with the winner advancing to the Class C finals on Friday night.
The Wildcats, out of the Patroon Conference, bring an 18-2 mark into the fray, fresh off a 52-33 decision over Granville in the quarterfinals. They score 61 points per contest and allow 47 points defensively. They’ve connected on 81 triples this season while shooting 65% from the foul line.
Senior big, Nate Mannion leads the Maple Hill attack scoring 16.4 points nightly, and junior guard Rian Jewett adds 10.7 per game with 30 hits from beyond the arc.
Hoosick Falls enters with a 19-1 record, with their last “W”, a 77-58 victory over Canajoharie in the quarters. The Panthers average 63 points per, while allowing opponents 45 points on the defensive side. The Falls have drilled 70 3-pointers, and convert 76% of their free throws.
Junior guard Jon Kempf leads the Panthers offensively scoring 21.4 points nightly and junior guard Max Kipp adds 9.1 per contest.
Hoosick Falls put 77 points on the board in their win over Canjo, including 41 from Kempf. This game may played in the 50’s which is fine with the Panthers. The Falls will look to limit Mannion and Jewett, forcing other Wildcats to score the ball. Maple Hill will do the same to Kempf meaning Kipp, Dmitri Rose and Isiah Burnett will have to step up and knock down shots. Hoosick Falls benefits from having played a Wasaren schedule and that might be the difference here. Look for the Falls will play with typical Panther poise, handle their business and move on to face Lake George in the finals.