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John Moriello's NYSSWA blog
Wednesday, March 18: Kearney boys head to Glens Falls with a promising future (Page 1 of 3)
   Leading off today: Despite what it may look like on paper, the future is now for the Bishop Kearney boys basketball team.

   The Kings have been starting four juniors -- in fact, five juniors took the court to begin the second half on Saturday in the state quarterfinals -- and would seem to be setting themselves up nicely for an addition to the school trophy case in 2010.

   But coach Jon Boon says too much can happen between now and then, so this weekend in Glens Falls is all that matters at this juncture. Having dispatched defending state champion Olean over the weekend at SUNY Brockport, Kearney (22-3) will take on Broadalbin-Perth in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association semifinals Friday night. The winner plays Saturday against Malverne or Binghamton Seton Catholic for the Class B championship.

   "We don't know what's going to happen a year from now," Boon said. "Let's make the most of what we have in front of us right now. It's easy to look ahead and see that we have all these juniors coming back, but two of them that are Division I football players and one already been offered by lots of big schools. So you don't know what is going to happen in a year."

   Kearney starts 6-foot-9 senior Patrick Coyle at center. The rest of the lineup consists of Troy James on the point and a 6-3 trio of players who move inside and out: James Taylor, Blair Roberts and Roderick Gray. Taylor made the most noise on offense during the Section 5 tournament, but Gray took over down the stretch against Olean.

   Olean cut BK's 28-16 lead to 40-39 to go before Gray scored on a lay-in with 4:30 to play, added a short jumper and cashed in a rebound to make it 47-41 with 2:51 to go. He shot 4-for-4 in the first half and finished the night with 21 points and five rebounds.

   He works extremely hard, does everything you ask him to do and doesn't question it," Boon said. "The whole team is great that way. They work very hard and it's nice for them to reap the benefits from all their hard work."

   The job starts and end with defense. With Gray and Roberts particularly fluid in the movement, the Kings can be relentless in trapping the ball on the defensive end of the floor.Olean turned the ball over only 12 times, but the Huskies rarely found themselves with unchallenged looks at the bucket from inside or out.

   "The coach likes to say we know we can score on offense," said Gray, a fourth-year varsity player. "But we've just got to worry about defense. If we play defense, we'll get our chances to score. . . . We're moving every time the ball moves so we don't give up an uncontested shot."

   And that's a beatiful sight for the coach.

   "Preach it all you want but if they don't see the results you're not going to get them to play with that effort," Boon said. "They feed off the defense. Defense leads to fast

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  • breaks, and fast breaks lead to dunks at the other end. I've got a couple of guys who love to dunk and dunking's the reward for defense."

       Here's a look at the 20 teams competing Friday through Sunday at the Glens Falls Civic Center:

    Class B

    Malverne vs. Binghamton Seton Catholic
       Malverne (Section 8, 12-10) — Possesses three NYSPHSAA trophies, including the 2007 Class B crown. Lost to Olean in last winter's final, 63-53 . . . Last week vs. Center Moriches, DeShawn Moorer made six three-pointers in the first half . . . . Gave back all of a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter vs. Burke Catholic in the state quarterfinals before closing the game with a 9-5 win for a 79-75 victory. Two years ago, Malverne rallied past Burke after being down by 20 . . . Kadeem Bell scored 20 in the most recent win, and Justim Williams went for 21 points, eight rebounds.

       Seton Catholic (Section 4, 20-3) — In pursuit of its first championship and making its first appearance in the semifinals in eight years . . . Defeated Hannibal by 64-51 in the regional semis last week as freshman Tom Torto scored a season-high 24 points, senior Matt Meier scored all 17 of his points in the final 11 minutes and the Saints used nine players in the first half . . . Last loss was by 69-46 to Vestal, the Section 4 Class AA champ, on Feb. 17 . . . Meier has scored in double figures 17 times this season but has been over 18 points just twice.

    Bishop Kearney vs. Broadalbin-Perth
       Bishop Kearney (Section 5, 22-3) — Vying for its first NYSPHSAA championship and last played in the semifinals in 2002. . . Edged defending champ Olean in the quarterfinals, 47-45, building an early lead by exploiting Olean's zone defense . . . 6-3 junior James Taylor, is averaging 18.2 points during the postseason but was largely a third option to sectional tournament MVP Roderick Gray and Blair Roberts during the regular season . . . Junior forward Jerome Lewis is already attracting major-college football offers . . . Kearney recently became the sixth school to have earned 10 Section 5 basketball championships.

       Broadalbin-Perth (Section 2, 18-7) — Seeking its first NYSPHSAA championship. Other than the largest classification, no Section 2 school has won a title since Watervliet in 1991 . . . Plenty of scoring balance with 6-6 center Justin Boyles (11.1 ppg), guard Brian Blake (10.7), point guard Shane Hathaway (9.0) and 6-3 forward Nob Norgard (8.9), all seniors . . . Advanced by beating Ogdensburg over the weekend in OT, 46-44, wiping out a 10-point deficit with a 14-0 run in the fourth quarter. Boyles led the way with 18 points.

    [ MORE: Classes AA, A, C and D ]

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