TROY — It’s an odd-numbered year, so the stars say it’s time for Lake George to return to the State Boys Basketball Tournament.
The stars forgot to tell Ticonderoga. The Sentinels gave the Warriors all they wanted, but Lake George continued its every-other-year run to the final four on Saturday with a 62-59 win in a Class C regional final at Hudson Valley Community College.
Lake George (20-5) will play Northstar Christian Academy (Section V) in a state semifinal at 1:45 p.m. Friday at Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena in Binghamton.
Lake George won state titles in 2013 and 2015, behind Section II’s second-all-time leading scorer Joel Wincowski. This year’s team doesn’t have a dominant scorer. Instead is has more of a three-headed monster in Caleb Scrime, Mason Flatley and Alex Jones.
That monster looked pretty scary Saturday, as the trio combined for 60 of the Warriors’ 62 points. Flatley, a 6-foot-3 sophomore, led the way with 25 points. Scrime, a 6-3 junior, added 20, while Jones, a 5-8 junior, scored 15.
“Just knowing I get the chance to go to the state tournament is a great feeling,” Flatley said. “I don’t really care about my numbers, I just want to win.”
It was a game of lead changes and momentum swings. Ti led 14-8 after the first quarter and 29-27 at the half. The Sentinels (17-7) scored the first five points of the third quarter before Lake George finally found some rhythm. And as Flatley said, once the Warriors do that, “it’s kind of hard to stop us.”
Flatley’s 3-pointer put Lake George ahead for good, 41-39, with 1:22 left in the third and Scrime’s 3 — Lake George made 11 3’s in the game and shot 46 percent from behind the arc — right before the buzzer gave the Warriors a 46-41 lead entering the fourth.
Lake George built up its lead to 56-46 with 5:02 left.
“I think we settled down a bit and went on a little bit of a run where we were able to take a lead,” Lake George coach Dave Jones said. “I think it did calm us down a bit.”
Colton Huestis, a sophomore reserve for Ti, decided he wasn’t ready for the season to end. He made all three of his 3-point attempts in the fourth quarter — the last coming with 9 seconds left to make it a 61-59 Lake George lead. Huestis finished with 25 points, including going 7 of 9 on 3-pointers, to lead Ti.
“He was shooting great,” Flatley said. “There was nothing we could really do to stop him.”
Alex Jones sank another foul shot with 4.4 seconds left for the final margin.
“Along with the excitement, there’s a lot of relief,” Dave Jones said. “(Ticonderoga) played great, They did a good job of taking us out of some of the offensive sets we wanted to run.”
One of the reasons Ti made it so close was a 37-26 rebounding advantage. Brett Mosier (13 points) and Ethan Thompson each grabbed 10 boards, while Evan Graney (14 points) had nine.
“They laid it all out there and that’s all you can ask for,” Ti coach Joe Defayette said. “If a couple things bounce a different way ... (I) couldn’t be happier with their effort.”
The Sentinels lose three seniors: Griffin Hughes, Sam DuShane and Mosier.
“One of our goals this year was to re-establish our program, and we put it on the seniors to do that, and I think they did a pretty good job,” Defayette added. “We went from five wins last year to 17 this year. To get this far — only the second time we’ve done it — says a lot.”
For Zeke Reynolds, Lake George’s defensive stalwart and the lone returning starter from the 2015 state championship team, getting a chance to return to the state tournament is a special feeling.
“We’ve been working hard: AAU, different teams, losing last year in the sectional finals, working our butts off to get back here,” Reynolds said. “We came together as a team, and it’s really humbling that we’re able to do this.”
Dave Jones said Scott McLaughlin, a reserve who had averaged 7 points per game, was no longer a member of the team, but had no further comment.
Class C Regional Final
2P 3P FT TP
Brett Mosier 4 0 5 13
Evan Graney 4 1 3 14
Griffin Hughes 2 0 0 4
Ethan Thompson 0 0 0 0
Sam DuShane 0 1 0 3
Colton Huestis 1 7 2 25
Mike DuShane 0 0 0 0
Totals 11 9 10 59
Lake George (20-5)
2P 3P FT TP
Zeke Reynolds 0 0 0 0
Alex Jones 3 2 3 15
Mason Flatley 4 5 2 25
Nick Hoffis 0 0 0 0
Kalab Helms 1 0 0 2
Nick Ure 0 0 0 0
Caleb Scrime 2 4 4 20
Zack Layton 0 0 0 0
Totals 10 11 9 62
Ticonderoga 14 15 12 18 — 59
Lake George 8 19 19 16 — 62
Other stats: Mosier (Ti) 10 rebounds. Thompson (Ti) 10 rebounds, 3 assists. Graney (Ti) 9 rebounds, 3 assists. Flatley (LG) 8 rebounds. Scrime (LG) 8 rebounds, 5 assists. Jones (LG) 5 rebounds. Reynolds (LG) 3 assists. Jones, Flatley (LG) 2 assists.