In Section II championship games, Lake George coach Dave Jones’ record is 5-2.
The Warriors won Class C titles in 2003, 2004, 2013, 2015 and 2017. Jones’ two losses came in 2011 and 2016.
His success demonstrates he knows what it takes to win the big game, and on Saturday he and the Warriors will have another opportunity to earn a Section II, Class C title when top-seeded Lake George plays second-seeded Hoosick Falls at 1:45 p.m. Saturday at Cool Insuring Arena.
Considering Jones’ resume, one could assume he is getting accustomed to coaching in these higher-profile contests. But Jones insists that though the experience is a plus, each year is a new hurdle.
“It is fresh each time we get there,” Jones said. “It is a new game, new players. It is high school basketball, so you graduate players every year. It is rare that you bring back the same team one year to the next.”
Returning three starters from last year’s sectional championship team in seniors Alex Jones, Caleb Scrime and junior Mason Flatley gives some familiar faces to a game that feels fresh to Jones.
The Warriors’ trio of Jones, Scrime and Flatley, along with junior center Chris Becker, all averaged about 15 points per game this season.
Lake George (23-0) is also meeting an opponent it became acquainted with earlier in the year.
Hoosick Falls lost to the Warriors by three points on Dec. 27 at Glens Falls High School as part of the Grandstanders Christmas Festival.
In that game, Hoosick Falls guard Jonathan Kempf scored a game-high 29 points, knocking down seven 3-pointers.
Jones said locating Kempf early is a top priority.
“On that day, he shot the ball well behind the 3-point line and he was very effective,” Jones said. “I’ve been impressed with his game. He is a very complete offensive player. “
Hoosick Falls (19-4) defeated Maple Hill 68-59 in its semifinal game. Four players scored in double figures for the Panthers, and Kempf finished with 16 points.
In Lake George’s semifinal against Saratoga Catholic, the Warriors dominated the Saints with an up-tempo style that resulted in forced turnovers, easy transition buckets and a 82-46 blowout victory.
Everything went right for the Warriors as they outrebounded the Saints 41-21. Shooting 47 percent from the field, Lake George punished Spa Catholic inside, but struggled on scoring from the perimeter.
Typically a lethal outside shooting team, the Warriors made only six of their 25 3-point attempts. Jones is hoping those numbers improve in the title game, but also trusts his ball handlers to know when not to settle for jumpers and to attack the rim instead.
If Lake George’s first meeting against Hoosick Falls is any indication on how the Class C final is going to unravel, then Spa Catholic coach Ken Mantia was right to predict Saturday’s game will be a hotly contested battle.
“These are two great basketball programs with two great coaches,” Mantia said. “In the stress of the game, they are not going to make mistakes.”