GLENS FALLS — Abraham Lincoln held off Cardinal Hayes down the stretch Friday night to reach the Class AA boys final of the Federation Tournament.
Mike Reid scored 17 points and Donald Cannon-Flores added 15 as the Railsplitters won 56-47 to advance to Saturday’s 9 p.m. championship against Long Island Lutheran at the Civic Center.
“Coach preaches we bend, but don’t break,” said Cannon-Flores, a senior guard. “We was bending a little, had some lapses on defense, but we kept going.”
“Those teams we played against are from New York City: Hayes and LuHi — it’s important for us to beat them,” Lincoln head coach Dwayne Morton said.
Lincoln (30-3) sealed victory at the foul line after Cardinal Hayes (21-9) had pulled within 50-46 on a 3-pointer by Michael Richardson with 1:12 remaining. For the Railsplitters, Cannon-Flores made three foul shots and scored on a driving layup in the final minute.
Lincoln outrebounded the cold-shooting Cardinals 45-29 in the game, getting 11 boards each from Curtis Gordon and Kclejuan Brown and nine more from Cannon-Flores.
In a game marked by quick scoring bursts, Lincoln seized the momentum with a 14-1 run in the second quarter on its way to a 26-19 halftime lead.
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“We tried to maintain their shooters as best as possible,” Cannon-Flores said. “They got open a few times, but that didn’t stop us from closing out as hard as we were doing.”
“I’ve been saying all year our guys are deep when it comes to defense. Sometimes we slip on offense, but I can put 10 guys out there,” Morton said.
In the third quarter, Reid scored the Railsplitters’ first 10 points of the period — including a pair of 3-pointers — to keep them just ahead of the Cardinals, who had suddenly found their shooting touch.
Cardinal Hayes, which trailed by as many as 11 points, cut its deficit to 39-35 on 3s by Jontai Williams and Joe Toussaint. Toussaint led the Cardinals with 17 points.
The Cardinals stubbornly stayed in the game in the fourth quarter, getting a 3-pointer by Tyrese Williams and a layup by Toussaint to cut Lincoln’s lead to 46-43 with 3:40 left in regulation.
From there, Lincoln played defense, burned clock and made foul shots.
“Credit to my guys,” Cardinal Hayes coach Joe Lods said. “They fought their way back, then we went on a nice run, came up to Glens Falls, stayed in a nice hotel. I’m happy for my kids; it’s certainly nothing to be down about right now.”
Follow Pete Tobey on Twitter @PTobeyPSVarsity and check out his blogs on poststar.com.