Leading off today:
Big-time players deliver big performances on the biggest stages. That's always been true, and never more so than Saturday in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association basketball championships.
Joel Wincowski and Jalay Knowles delivered in a big way to propel their teams to titles.
Given space after a double-team backed away slightly following a Lake George inbounds pass with 7.5 seconds to play, Wincowski let it fly from 30 feet to beat Waterville 53-50 for the boys Class C championship in Glens Falls.
"We tried to give him options coming off the screen," Lake George coach Dave Jones told The Times Union. "We figured he would get doubled. We wanted to set a high screen and put two shooters in each corner to keep the defense honest. They kind of sagged off of him and Joel got his feet set."
The winning shot capped a 30-point night for the 2013 state Class C player of the year, and Wincowski concludes his career with 2,615 points for the No. 5 spot in state history ahead of 1980s East Hampton star Ken Wood (2,613).
The teams traded leads 11 times, the last coming when Lake George guard Dylan Hubbard made a 3-pointer for a 48-46 lead. The Indians tied it at 50 when Hunter Williams put back a missed foul shot.
Will Specht had a 3-pointer rim out in the final 30 seconds and Lake George called a timeout with :07.5 to go. Zeke Reynolds inbounded to Wincowski near midcourt.
"That is the shot you dream of: you are in the driveway and it is the state championship game. The game winner from deep, or any drive, is what you want to end it," Wincowski said. "This is a dream come true. An amazing end."
Said Jones: "Joel has done everything we've asked of him. He has been a great team guy. He is deserving, but everyone in that locker room is deserving. They have all worked very hard."
Knowles did not need to provide late heroics for Ossining, which put Rush-Henrietta away in the second quarter. But she finished with 45 points for the Pride in a 76-54 win, giving them a Class AA three-peat.
"All the time and the effort, the AAU practices, all the late practices, snow days that we still come in -- it's all worth something," Knowles said of her team's three-peat.
Knowles set a tournament record with 22 points in the second quarter, breaking the record set by Karen O'Connor.
Ossining moves on to the Federation tournament semifinals next weekend vs. Long Island Lutheran, which beat the Pride twice last season.
We remember (last year's final) like it was yesterday," Knowles said. "We know LuHi; they're a great team, their coach is a very excellent coach and we just have to prepare for them like we prepared for this week."
Boys Class B: Westhill fought back from an early 10-point deficit, rattled off 13 straight points midway through the second half and beat Woodlands 70-62 to repeat as the champion.
Senior guard Jordan Roland scored 18 points, hauled down 15 rebounds and repeated as the tournament MVP. Forward Tyler Reynolds led Westhill with 20 points.
Westhill also got a lift from senior reserve Brian Daily, whose energy and production -- 11 points, seven rebounds while also drawing several first-half fouls on Woodlands players inside -- attracted notice.
"I know No. 12 (Roland) is a heck of a player, but I think the guys who came in off the bench were just as valuable tonight," Woodlands coach Robert Murphy told Syracuse.com.
Daily scored nine in the first half to help cut the deficit to