GLENS FALLS -- They’ve had one year to think about it, and on Saturday night, the Watervliet Cannoneers will try to wipe away one memory and make a more pleasant one.
Led by star seniors Jordan Gleason and Tyler McLeod, Watervliet (17-8) had too many weapons for Batavia and won the Class B semifinal 60-53 at the Glens Falls Civic Center. Gleason, who has committed to Sacred Heart, finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds. McLeod added 18 points and nine rebounds.
Watervliet will play Babylon in the final at 9 p.m. Saturday.
Bishop Ludden edged the Cannoneers by one point in last year’s Class B final.
“This is just a blessing,” McLeod said of the chance to win a state title. “This is where we wanted to be at the beginning of this year and the end of last year.”
Watervliet made five of its 10 3-pointers in the third quarter, extending a 28-24 halftime lead into a 49-38 lead late in the third on Gleason’s sixth and final 3-pointer.
“I was feeling my shot today,” Gleason said. “There’s been a couple games now where I haven’t, so I had to step up for my teammates.”
Right after that, however, Batavia (20-4) went on a 9-0 run to cut Watervliet’s lead to 49-47 with 5:02 left in the game.
“The team that they have, they’re not going to stop, so we just had to keep pushing and keep pushing until the end,” Gleason said.
McLeod stopped the bleeding with an inside basket, but Batavia’s Jalen Smith (21 points) answered to make it a 51-49 Watervliet lead. McLeod stepped up again with a jumper and a 3-pointer, and the Cannoneers made their foul shots from there to earn the win.
“I always have to dial in and focus,” McLeod said. “I got a little frustrated the first half, but feeding off of Jordan and feeding off other guys really got me going.”
Watervliet made 10 3-pointers in the game, and Batavia made eight, led by Smith’s six.
Ty’Jon Gilmore added 11 points, seven rebounds, four assists and four steals for Watervliet.
Justin Washington and Jason Etienne combined for 26 points and 21 rebounds for the Blue Devils.