Leading off today:
It's a game many people have eagerly anticipated since November, and it's coming to the Glens Falls Civic Center on Sunday.
Greece Athena and Scotia-Glenville won NYSPHSAA boys semifinals Saturday morning, setting up a Class A championship game between unbeaten squads. It will be the event's first title-game showdown between teams with unblemished records since Sodus defeated Faith Heritage 76-65 in 2005. It's never happened in Class AA or A since the New York State Public High School Athletic Association expanded to five classes in the 2004.
Athena led only 13-12 after a quarter but pulled away steadily after that to down Valley Stream South 61-36. The Trojans shot just 17-for-48(35.4 percent) but committed just 10 turnovers to 24 for the Falcons. Zac DiSalvo finished with 18 points to pace four double-figure scorers. Junior Anthony Lamb had 12 points and eight rebounds.
Athena's trapping defense flustered the Vikings, and Valley Stream South posted 15-for-50 shooting. Guard Dana King was just 4-for-24 from the field.
Valley Streak South was a No. 7 seed in its class in the Section 8 tournament.
Already up 42-29 after three quarters, Athena extended the lead with a 12-3 run to start the fourth quarter, with DiSalvo bagging eight points.
Scotia-Glenville held off Spring Valley 46-42 as Joe Cremo went to the foul line 25 times, scored 34 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Cremo was 8-for-15 from the field and 17-for-25 from the line.
Rickey McGill and Kai Mitchell, both Iona College recruits, led Spring Valley with 13 points apiece. The Tigers managed just 14-for-50 shooting from the field.
More on unbeatens: Seven NYSPHSAA championship games in the last quarter of a century have paired unbeaten teams against each other. Most have been competitive, but none have risen to the level of the 1988 Class B epic in which Niagara LaSalle beat Syracuse Nottingham 79-75 in overtime and snapped the Bulldogs' 40-game winning streak.
Since then, the perfect vs. perfect matchups have been:
- 1991 Class D: Prattsburgh 80, Argyle 72.
- 1991 Class C: Watervliet 68, Livonia 58.
- 1991 Class A: Mount Vernon 80, Syracuse Henninger 65.
- 1993 Class D: Clyde-Savannah 76, Tuckahoe 66.
- 1998 Class B: Westhampton 56, Westhill 36.
- 2003 Class A: McQuaid 57, Mount Vernon 50.
- 2005 Class C: Sodus 76, Faith Heritage 65.
By the way, any self-respecting high school basketball fan should have the New York State basketball brackets
website bookmarked. It's a great, great reference resource.
Boys Class AA: One year after losing in the semifinals, Brentwood reached the state final by holding Aquinas at bay throughout a 65-56 victory.
Aquinas never led after the opening bucket but pulled within a point four times, buoyed by a strong rebounding game but plagued by 7-for-15 shooting at the free-throw line.
Guard Ali Mableton led Brentwood with 18 points. Forward Vincent Smythe added 14 points, while Michael Almonacy added 11 points, four assists and three steals.
"Very important win," Brentwood junior center Jamel Allen told The Post-Star. "After the loss last year, we had a mission. We came back up here, and we said, 'We're giving this game all our focus. We're taking everything one at a time.'"
In the weekend's last semifinal, Shenendehowa stayed unbeaten with a 60-52 win over Mount Vernon. Brandon Fischer (18 points, nine rebounds) and Luke Hicks each made two shots down the stretch, Hicks' coming after a steal with :15 to play.