Friday, March 8, 2013

Planning the Attack - Section II Opponents for Saturday's Regional Finals

Like any good strategist, it's important to know your enemy.

Now, I'm not suggesting that this Saturday's regional basketball finals are some sort battle (or maybe I am) but just in case you were interested in finding out who Section II is going up against, I've got you covered.

Underneath the cut, check out some information on all five of the teams that are facing off against The Record's teams on Saturday afternoon.

For those wondering, I'll be heading up north to SUNY Potsdam for three back-to-back-to-back games - Troy girls and both Watervliet teams. As per usual, I'll be live-tweeting the games and if anyone is interested I can probably live-stream at least one of the games, so make your suggestions for that now.

Also, if anyone is familiar with the Potsdam area and can inform me where to get coffee somewhere, we'll be best friends.

Enjoy the games this weekend folks and good luck to all the teams out there! Plan your battle plans carefully.

Syracuse-Henninger (18-3)
vs. Troy - Onondaga Community College, 2:45 p.m.
It will be difficult for another team to bring more athleticism and physicality to a game than Green Tech did during Monday's Section II championship, but Henninger is going to be a close second. The Black Knights match up very well with Troy's size and, simply from glancing at some stats they seem to play the same way as well.
Keith Tyson II is currently leading the team in scoring with 244 points this season, but Marquane Silvers isn't far behind that with 239 points of his own. Silvers also has 148 rebounds and 17 blocks this season, so he's dynamic on both sides of the ball. It's just a guess, but expect Troy's Jerrell Reid to match up with Silvers. They're both strong on offense and defense and whoever wins that battle might just lead their team to a victory.

Ogdensburg (21-1)
vs. Watervliet - SUNY Potsdam, 3:30 p.m.
If there's one disadvantage the Cannoneers are facing this season, it's the lack of size underneath the basket. 'Vliet faced some of that problem in the regional game on Wednesday and they're going to face some more of it in this game. The Blue Devils, who are boasting an 18-game win streak heading into Saturday, only have five kids under 6-feet and their starting lineup is all pretty sizeable.
Ogdensburg likes to spread the ball out offensively, but Breton LaRose and Kinnon LaRose are definitely the two players to key on. Breton averages just over 18 points per game, while Kinnon chips in an average of 11 points every time he steps onto the court.
Just to add a whole new dynamic to the mix, Breton will also be continuing his basketball career at Sacred Heart next season - the same program that 'Vliet's Jordan Gleason committed to earlier this week.

Massena (11-8)
vs. Troy - SUNY Potsdam, 12 p.m.
For the second straight season, Massena was crowned Section X's Class A champion as the Red Raiders topped Malone 41-36 on February 18th. Alisha Jacobs and Marissa Manley combined for 25 points and 19 rebounds in that championship game, and heading into Saturday's regional game against Troy, they'll be expected to do much of the same.
Both Jacobs and Manley are the Red Raiders' main point-scorers, so Troy is going to have to zero in on them during the regional final. From looking at stats though, it doesn't seem as if Massena is quite the fast-paced team that could get on a run quickly. If Troy can put some pressure on the ball - and by extent on Jacobs and Manley - the Flying Horses should be able to take control from the get go.

Ausable Valley (18-2)
vs. Hoosic Valley - SUNY Plattsburgh, 12 p.m.
Ausable Valley cruised to a victory last Friday, topping Northern Adirondack 58-33. Ausable allowed only 15 points in the entire first half, while the offense was led by sophomore Meghan Strong's game-high 16 points.
Unsurprisingly, Strong is Ausable Valley's leading scorer this season with 287 points in 20 games at an average of 14.4 points in every matchup. She's also a threat from the outside, with an average of at least two triples in every game. Don't expect Hoosic Valley to be incredibly intimidated by that though. In fact, expect the Indians to love that and, most likely, give Kim Kocienski another chance to show off her defensive skills against Strong.

Salmon River (16-6)
vs. Watervliet - SUNY Potsdam, 1:45 p.m.
Although they're heading into the Class B regional finals on Saturday, the Shamrocks are fresh off a loss earlier this month, falling 51-47 to Canton in the overall Class X Championship.
The Shamrocks led for the majority of the championship last week, before Canton was able to take control late in the game and earn the overall victory. Salmon River can't afford to play that way when they go up against Watervliet on Saturday afternoon.
Junior Abby Kelly led the scoring for Salmon River in last week's loss, racking up a team-high 18 points. She's a solid ball-handler for the Shamrocks but if she goes up against Ailayia Demand, she might hard pressed to find the hoop.


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