Basketball is known as a game of runs, with coaches and players hoping to have the most, and more importantly, the final run of the contest. Friday night in Mechanicville the players wore helmets and pads and the ball had laces, but in a back and forth game early, Greenwich owned the final run of the night, scoring 20 unanswered over the final 16:00, to earn the 41-20 victory over Tuckahoe in a Class D state quarterfinal.
Greenwich put the game’s first points on the board with 8:23 left in the opening frame, on a Jesse Kuzmich 23 yard run and with the Declan Kelleher point after, the Witches led 7-0.
Tuckahoe responded with seconds remaining in the period, when Jax Colacicco found Nick Pagnotta for a 12-yard TD connection and with the tack on point pulled even at 7-7 entering the second quarter.
In the opening minutes of the period, Greenwich grabbed momentum cashing in with a pair of scores two minutes apart.
Witches quarterback Kuzmich hit Deontae Bennett with a 21-yard scoring strike, and after Parker Jamieson picked off a Colacicco delivery, Matt Conlin rumbled 63 yards for points, extended the Witches advantage to 21-7 at the 7:47 mark of the period.
But the Section I champions refused to go quietly, responding with back to back scores of their own.
The Tigers put together a drive late in the frame that ended with a Michael Myers 1-yard touchdown run, cutting the Witches cushion to 21-14 heading into the halftime break,
Less than three minutes into the third, Colacicco connected for his second scoring strike of the night, finding Jake Matarazzo on a 19-yard throw and catch, but the point after attempt failed and Greenwich maintained the lead at 21-20.
Greenwich then responded with a pair of championship drives with Conlin, Kuzmich, and the O-line taking center stage.
Their first series covered 60 yards with Kuzmich, twice converting on fourth down option runs, and Colin finishing the drive, after totes of 28 and 8 yards, with a 3-yard touchdown giving Greenwich a 27-20 lead with 4:12 left in the quarter.
After the Witches “D” forced a three-and-out, Greenwich took control.
The Section II champs went to work behind their dominant front, moving 68 yards on 11 plays, with Conlin carrying seven times, setting up a Kuzmich 20-yard scoring run to extend their lead to 34-20 at the 9:51 mark of the fourth.
The final points of the evening came when Kuzmich found Tyler day for a 14-yard touchdown with seconds remaining, completing their end of game dominance, and sending the Witches to a state semifinal matchup with Section VII champion Moriah, at Middletown High School, on Friday at 3 p.m.