Heading into this weekend, coaches expressed mixed feelings about the Federation Tournament of Champions heading to Fordham University next year.
The Federation Tournament is wrapping up a three-year stay in Glens Falls, after a six-year run in Albany. Prior to Albany, the tournament was held in Glens Falls for three decades.
Now, it heads down to the Bronx, closer to the vast majority of teams that play in the Federation Tournament.
“I think it’s the worst thing, leaving Glens Falls. It’s so special to have it in a small town where it’s all the buzz and the community embraces it,” James Madison girls coach Rich Tighe said. “We had an amazing experience the last three years in Glens Falls. In my opinion, they ruined the tournament moving it out of Glens Falls.”
South Shore girls coach Anwar Gladden said he had mixed feelings about the move.
“I like it up there, it’s a nice getaway for the kids,” Gladden said. “I like the tournament up in Glens Falls, but I like that more of their families will be able to see the kids play at Fordham.”
— Pete Tobey
Role players step up
With all eyes on Albany Academy senior guard August Mahoney and junior Andre Jackson during their Class A boys semifinal against the Park School, there was an opening for some other Cadets to step up.
As the Park School swarmed Mahoney, a Yale University commit, guys like Marcus Jackson, Andre’s younger brother, Rob Brown and Riley Mulvey all played big minutes.
Without a well-rounded performance, Albany Academy may not have avenged last year’s loss to the Park School by beating the Pioneers 71-56.
Brown scored eight points, on 4-for-8 shooting, while Marcus Jackson finished with five points, including a difficult three-point play in the second half.
All the Cadet role players will be needed to win a championship Sunday as Albany Academy is challenging for its third title in four years.
“I thought all the other guys knew they were going to be open,” Cadets coach Brian Fruscio said. “Those guys would get doubles and we found the other guys who made plays. And that is what we need to do in big spots.”
— Ellis Williams
Stepping up, Part 2
Albany Academy senior Saif Ullah gave Albany Academy great minutes at the beginning of each quarter and was one of the Cadets’ unsung heroes in their Class A boys semifinal win Saturday over the Park School.
Ullah finished with 16 points, three rebounds and one assist.
“I think they guard him with the fifth starter, with the intent to double everybody that touches the ball, so when they guard him, he knows he has to be present,” Academy coach Brian Fruscio said. “That was what he did. He’s always present and going to the ball. That’s what seniors are supposed to do, and he does it at a very high level.”
— Will Springstead
Ossining center Kailah Harris may play a little bit in the shadow of her McDonalds All-American teammate, UConn-bound Aubrey Griffin, the reigning Miss New York State Basketball.
But Harris, who is headed to Seton Hall, was just as much a key to the Pride’s 81-76 overtime victory over South Shore in Friday’s semifinal.
Harris was held to nine points, but she grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds and had four assists and three steals.
“Kailah is playing with tendinitis, she’s doing the best she can,” Ossining coach Dan Ricci said. “She had some big rebounds and she drew probably four charges, which was big for us.”
— Pete Tobey
Poughkeepsie coach Cody Moffett spent a long time in the locker room with his team after its 50-42 loss to Frederick Douglas in the Class A semifinals Sunday.
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He could be heard talking about the seniors on the team, followed by applause for each one.
Moffett said it was something that his college coach, Patrick Scanlon, did at Manhattanville after a senior’s last game and he has continued the tradition.
“If all I’m teaching them is basketball, I’m not doing my job,” Moffett said. “You’re going to spend a lot more of your time off the court than on the court in your life.”
— Ken Tingley
It’s the discipline
This was Frederick Douglass coach Patrick Mangan’s first ever trip to the Federation tourney after 25 years as the Lions’ coach.
He talked about the discipline and standards he has for the team. Every player must maintain an 80 average, wear a shirt and tie to school and he takes attendance every morning before school starts to make sure all his players are there.
— Ken Tingley
For a good chunk of Friday’s Class AA girls semifinal against Ossining, South Shore point guard Lacha De Los Santos was the best player on the court.
De Los Santos, South Shore’s only senior, scored 12 of the Vikings’ 20 points in the second quarter as they pulled out to a 40-32 halftime lead. She outplayed her counterpart, Ossining’s Jaida Strippoli, and created havoc on defense for the Pride. She just missed a game-winning layup at the end of regulation and finished with 20 points.
However, right at the beginning of overtime, De Los Santos fouled out, and that really hurt South Shore’s cause.
“The fouls shifted the momentum,” Vikings coach Anwar Gladden said. “It was very difficult, but it wasn’t over. We still had opportunities to win when Lacha fouled out, but it was a huge play.”
Gladden said De Los Santos has not committed to a college yet, and may go the post-graduate or junior college route.
“She’s going to be a quick guard that goes to the basket, can knock it down, and she can offer her leadership — she’s very mature,” Gladden said. “To be the a leader on this team with a lot of juniors and underclassmen is not easy, she held us down all year.”
The rest of the Vikings all return next season, including forward Danaijah Williams, who had an impressive game with 18 points and 11 rebounds. She is being recruited by schools like St. Bonaventure, Hartford and Mississippi State.
“Danaijah had a great season, she put her name on the map this year,” Gladden said.
— Pete Tobey
Fouls upon fouls
The Class AA boys semifinal between Long Island Lutheran and South Shore bogged down in the second half with a huge number of fouls being called on both teams.
South Shore was called for 30 fouls, LuHi had 29. In fact, both teams were in the double bonus with 10 fouls each going into the fourth quarter.
In all, five starters fouled out of the game — three for South Shore, two for LuHi — and two more starters for each team had four fouls apiece.
The Class AA girls semi between Ossining and South Shore wasn’t much better, with South Shore saddled with 37 fouls and Ossining with 18.
— Pete Tobey
His other sport
Christ the King senior Jared Harrison-Hunte is not your typical guard. That’s because he’s 6-foot-4, 285 pounds and made his verbal commitment to the University of Miami (Fla.), where he will play football as a defensive lineman for the Hurricanes.
A consensus three-star player, he chose Miami over Penn State, but also had offers from Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia, LSU and Michigan.
— Will Springstead