Thursday, February 27, 2014

Breaking Down Thursday's Semfinals

Guess what? There are more basketball games on Thursday night.

Since there are games and I have a laptop, I've once again broken down the semifinals for the matchups. If you are so inclined, you can see all of the breakdown under the cut. Also, for future reference, I'll be heading up to the Glens Falls Civic Center for the Class A boys games. Plan accordingly.

CLASS A SEMIFINALS - at the Glens Falls Civic Center
Gloversville (15-4) vs. Troy (16-3), 6 p.m.
About Gloversville: Asa Barnhill had one of his best offensive games of the season on Sunday afternoon, which is saying a lot for a kid who averages 18.8 points per game. The Dragons' senior guard notched a game-high 26 points, including 12 from behind the arc, to lead Gloversville to a 68-48 victory over Queensbury.
About Troy: After nearly two weeks off the court, it took a little while for the Horses to wake up against Mohonasen. Once they did though, the team was tough to slow down. Troy out-scored Mohon 18-to-12 in the second quarter and Dyaire Holt and Zach Radz combined for 34 points en route to a 62-48 victory.
Notables: The key thing for the Flying Horses in this one is to not get too far ahead of themselves. Yes, most people came into the postseason expecting a Troy-Scotia final, but there's still a game to be played here and the Horses have to make sure they do. That being said, Troy needs a solid performance out of its big men tonight - especially Justice Walston and Jack McLaren. If those two can open up the offense down low, Troy will a much more balanced team and that's exactly what the Horses need if they're going to get to another championship.

Amsterdam (9-1) vs. Scotia (18-0), 7:30 p.m.
About Amsterdam: Andrew Rouse's first basket of Sunday's game was the biggest as he drained a three-point basket in the final seconds forcing OT as the Rugged Rams topped Averill Park 64-61. Rouse wasn't done yet though. The senior guard gave Amsterdam a lead in extra minutes that the team would never surrender and pulled in a pair of major rebounds to prevent any kind of Averill Park comeback.
About Scotia: For the second-straight year the Tartans cruised into the Class A semifinals with a relatively lopsided quarterfinal victory, topping Lansingburgh on Sunday evening. The top-seeded Scotia team, which is also No. 1 in the state, executed a well-balanced offensive attack on a night that saw leading scorer Joe Cremo only score 10 points.
Notables: The Rugged Rams are ready for another upset. Amsterdam surprised Troy in the regular season and, more or less, robbed the Horses of a total shot at a Big 10 title. Now, after a dramatic game on Sudnay afternoon, Amsterdam is ready for the next challenge. Kory Bergh offers Amsterdam a solid outside shooting threat and if the Rams can get him into a rhtyhm, it'll be interesting to see how Scotia responds.

CLASS AA SEMIFINALS - at the Hudson Valley Community College
Bethlehem (17-2) vs. Albany (17-1), 6 p.m.
About Bethlehem: Gabby Giacone continued her comeback tour last week, posting a game-high 22 points as the Eagles cruised to a 58-31 victory over Niskayuna in the quarterfinals. Kaylee Ricker and Jenna Giacone combined to chip in 26 points of their own, but more importantly, the Eagles defense never gave up more than 11 points in a single quarter and not one Nisky player posted double-digits.
About Albany: The Falcons jumped out to a 12-point lead after the first eight minutes of last Friday's quarterfinal and never looked back en route to an 84-53 victory over Columbia. Albany's well-balanced offense was in full effect again as ten different players put points on the board, including four players in double digits. Leah Dollard led the attack with a game-high 18 points.
Notables: This one is an interesting one. A rematch of last year's Class AA championship game, both teams returned a pretty good handful of players who competed in that match - and saw Albany walk away with a Section II title. The key for Albany is going to be how controlled the Falcons can play. When they're running a well-executed gameplan and continue tread that line between aggression and fouling, Albany is close to impossible to slow down. That being said, Bethlehem is going to have to work the inside-outside game tonight. The Giacone sisters are perhaps the best pair in the area when it comes to working this technique and with Gabby back in rhythm after an ankle injury, it'll be interesting to see how well they can execute.

Shenendehowa vs. Shaker, 7:30 p.m.
About Shenendehowa: The Plainsmen used a 22-to-12 advantage in the second quarter to set the tone and grab the momentum en route to a 51-44 victory over Catholic Central on Friday. Carly Boland led the offensive attack with 22 points, but Sydney Brown proved to be a valuable weapon for Shen both on the boards and in the paint, racking up 17 points of her own.
About Shaker: The Blue Bison had to shift the gameplan a little bit in Friday's 50-39 victory over Guilderland, alternating between zone and man-to-man defense to keep the season alive. The key - and often overlooked thing about Shaker - in that victory was the play by the squad's two posts; Sage VanAmerongen and Becky Rossier. The two add a whole new dynamic for Shaker and gives the Bison something most other teams don't have; a presence down low.
Notables: This is the emotional one and that's not a bad thing. In fact, that's going to make this one even more fun. These two teams are one of the best rivalries in the area and they're so well acquainted that it's like playing against a sibling when they face off. Of course, Shaker cruised to two regular season victories over the Plainsmen, including a 59-40 showing in the final game of the regular season. Since then though, the Plainsmen have gotten back a little bit of confidence and Carly Boland is shooting incredibly well again. This is going to be one fired-up game.


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