GLENS FALLS -- A couple of years ago, when he was smaller than his listed height of 6 feet, 1 inch, Connor McCoy was introduced to the craft of rebounding by one of Lake George’s tallest recent teams.
Friday evening, the senior yanked down the biggest rebound in Lake George history and put it back up for the tying basket with 1.6 seconds left in regulation to send the Class C semifinal of the State Boys Basketball Tournament into overtime.
Joel Wincowski sealed victory for the Warriors, scoring 12 of his game-high 29 points in overtime — including a back-breaking 3-pointer — to lift Lake George to a 68-61 win over Moravia at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
The Warriors (23-2) advance to face Pine Plains (21-2) for the state championship Saturday at 7:15 p.m.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” said Joel Wincowski, the Warriors’ outstanding sophomore point guard, who also grabbed 13 rebounds. “It feels good, but we still have work to do.”
“It definitely shows our heart as a team; we’re willing to fight through all 32 minutes — and more,” added senior Ethan Wincowski, who finished with 10 points and 14 boards. “A lot of heart, a lot of desire to give ourselves another opportunity to play. We’re gonna give it our all (Saturday) for sure.”
McCoy’s game-saving rebound, pump-fake and putback came off a missed 3-point attempt by Joel Wincowski. McCoy won the ball in a scrum with the Blue Devils’ 6-7 Chandler Benson and 6-4 Brett Denman. But McCoy was hardened two years ago in battles with a trio of tall former Lake George standouts.
“Being brought up and playing against great kids like Matt McGowan, Alex Hladik and Matt Stover — getting pushed around, beat up and I was shorter than I am now — it really taught me then that I have to work as hard as I can, knowing that I’m a shorter guy down low,” said McCoy, who finished with 12 points. “Thanks to those great alumni, I was able to be working with these kind of guys and this size.”
“Connor McCoy just battled, fought his way through there, got the rebound and somehow got it back up on the glass and it went in,” Warriors head coach Dave Jones said. “He went up nice and strong with it and finished it, just like we try to do every day in practice.”
McCoy’s buzzer-beating basket tied the game at 51, capping a 9-2 Lake George run over the final five minutes of regulation, fueled by pressure defense and strong rebounding. Lake George finished with a 51-38 edge in rebounds.
“We came up really big on rebounding — any shot they took, we made sure we were on the boards — and we got a bunch of key stops down the stretch,” Joel Wincowski said.
“Their best asset is they defend, and they really attack the offensive glass hard,” Moravia coach Todd Mulvaney said. “They make it tough to secure 50-50 balls, they make it tough to only give them one chance to shoot the ball. They hustle so much, they get two, three chances to score every time.”
After a rapid exchange of baskets early in overtime, Joel Wincowski knocked down a pull-up 3-pointer with 1:47 left for a 60-56 Lake George lead.
“That was the shot we were trying to look for,” Jones said. “We had tried to run something for that earlier in the fourth quarter and we couldn’t really get that. But we were able to come back to it in overtime, and fortunately for us it went in.”
“They hit that 3 and it felt like the momentum shifted. You could see it in our body language, it affected us a bit,” Mulvaney said.
The Warriors finished the game on a 13-5 run, going 10 for 12 at the foul line in that span.
The Blue Devils (21-3) were led by Dylan Powers with 22 points and Benson with 16 points and 11 boards. Freshman Jared Lyon added 11 points, including a 30-foot 3-pointer that beat the halftime buzzer to pull Moravia into a 27-27 tie.