For the third time in program history, the Glens Falls boys basketball team will play for a state championship.

Cambridge is also one game away from a state title in girls basketball.

Joseph Girard III lead Glens Falls with 39 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists in an 83-63 victory over state semifinal opponent Olean Friday morning at Veterans Memorial Arena in Binghamton.

Glens Falls (26-1) will face Lowville Saturday at 5:15 p.m. for a chance to win the first basketball state title in city history.

“This feels amazing. It is the goal we set for ourselves every year,” Girard III said after the Friday morning victory. “Of course there are goals we set leading up to this point, but this was the main one. This is what it is all about.

“All the individual accolades are great but if you can win a state championship with your team, brothers, and family than there is nothing like it,” he added. “So I am looking forward to playing tomorrow and hopefully getting one.”

A few hours later at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy, Cambridge rolled past Maple Grove 75-43 in the Class C semifinals of the State Girls Basketball Tournament. The Indians move on to face Watkins Glen at 7 p.m. Saturday in Troy for the state title.

Cambridge was fueled by its loss in last year’s state semifinals.

“Knowing that we can get this far and having the feeling of losing here, to make it back this far has been our goal for this season,” sophomore point guard Sophie Phillips said. “We just need to bring the same energy and intensity to the floor like we did today.”

JG3 was lights out in the first half of the Glens Falls game, starting the game with six 3-pointers before halftime. He had 16 points in the opening quarter and sparked a 15-point Glens Falls lead at half, which the Indians never surrendered.

It was announced about an hour before Friday’s semifinal that Girard III was named Gatorade’s New York Player of the Year for a second consecutive time. Mr. Basketball cooled down in the second half, but his teammates picked up where he left off.

Cousin Trent Girard scored 12 points on two of three shooting from deep while center Nick Dahany netted a season-high 16 points in what coach Rob Girard called his best game of the year.

“The way he went after balls today and the way he was able to score shows it was about confidence today,” Rob Girard said of the junior big man. “Once he hit that first one, he kept going. We had the size advantage today.”

Before the Saturday night championship, Rob Girard said the Indians will watch the tape, eat well, rest and practice in anticipation for a 26-win Lowville team that won its state semifinal game by 12 points.

This marks the fourth time Glens Falls has played in a state semifinal and only the third time it has reached the championship. The Indians lost in the state final in both 2003 and 2007.

Girard III hopes to end his city’s drought.

“To know we have the same opportunity Jimmer had and to be able to avenge a loss in the finals is something we are excited for,” Girard III said. “At the same time, it is a quick turnaround. We have to watch this game, get prepared and be ready tomorrow.”

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Follow Ellis L. Williams on Twitter @BookofEllis.


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