Everyone remembers Glens Falls’ 2007 Class A state boys basketball championship game a little differently.
Of course, Mayor Dan Hall was at the Civic Center the last time Glens Falls reached states, as the then-undefeated Indians lost to Peekskill, 58-48.
“That was very disappointing,” Hall said of the ‘07 state championship. “Jimmer (Fredette) played very well. It got down to the end of the game and Jimmer was guarding their best player, who ended up going to Syracuse. We had our shot, but we just couldn’t pull it out.”
Looking back, Fredette diagnoses his final high school basketball game more critically.
“I remember our state championship game and I did not play very well and shot the ball very poorly,” Fredette said in a recent phone conversation. “Things did not go as I would’ve planned but we had a shot to win the game. Had we won, I would not have cared how I played because it was about winning.
“We had so much emotion going into that game,” he added. “The whole town and area was involved and at the game. It was such a special thing. (My teammates) and I set a goal as fourth-graders to win a state championship and though we fell short, it was still a proud moment to show what we had been through.”
Joseph Girard III and his teammates on the current Glens Falls squad have followed their own path to the State Boys Basketball Tournament. On Friday at 9:30 a.m., the 25-1 Indians face No. 1-ranked Olean (25-0) in a Class B semifinal at Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena in Binghamton.
A victory would put Glens Falls into the state final on Saturday at 5:15 p.m. against either Lowville or Center Moriches. One more win would send the Indians back to Glens Falls for next weekend’s Federation Tournament of Champions.
Girard cannot break the tie and rule whether Jimmer played well in the 2007 final, as he was just a 7-year-old boy then, in awe of Fredette’s curtain call on the grand stage.
However, as he watched his idol fall short of Glens Falls’ first boys state basketball crown, he was formulating his own childhood dream that would manifest into reality just 12 years later.
“I was only 7 then and that is when the games were still at the Civic Center,” Girard said. “I remember I was at the YMCA shooting before watching it. Unfortunately, we lost, but to see the community come together, it was special.”
Now, it is JG3’s turn to try to accomplish what Indian legends Michael Van Schaick of the 2003 team and Fredette in 2007 could not.
Not only are Girard and Glens Falls trying for the program’s first-ever boys basketball state championship, but redemption is also on the 2019 Indians’ minds.
“There are a lot of similarities between our championship football runs and our basketball ones,” Girard said. “In 2016 when we won in football, we were avenging the 2012 team that lost in the final. Now we want to avenge the 2007 (basketball) team.”
Glens Falls head coach Rob Girard said Olean is comparable to the Ogdensburg Free Academy team the Indians beat last week in the regional final.
The Huskies play eight seniors, lead by big man Matt Droney, and they are not going to make mistakes, while throwing plenty of defensive wrenches at JG3.
“This will come down to execution and defense,” Rob Girard said. “They are good defensively and like to get up into you. At this point, it is just four teams, so whoever plays best on a given night could win.”
Glens Falls will take the court Friday morning donning the same warmup shirts it has worn all year, which is actually a throwback design to the pregame tops from 1999.
POTSDAM — Every time Joseph Girard III steps on a basketball court wearing the Glens Falls red, white and black, he carries a burden.
Mayor Hall said he credits the 1999 team for sparking nearly a decade of success, concluding in 2007. Over that stretch, Glens Falls accumulated an overall record of 204-36, an average of 20 wins a year.
The Indians reached three state tournaments in that time — 1999, 2003 and 2007. Girard III leads Glens Falls’ fourth trip.
This weekend as “GF Nation” migrates to Binghamton, Mayor Hall will be watching, JG3 will be scoring and somewhere halfway around the world, Jimmer Fredette will be gleaming with pride as an entire community patiently awaits a crown it has craved for decades.
“That is motivation enough for us to make it back to Glens Falls for the Federation,” Girard III said. “The fan support we’ve had this year and all these other years will show up there.”
“Now that we have tasted a state football championship, Glens Falls historically has looked to make that state championship basketball game, and winning it,” Mayor Hall said. “So I think we are starving for it.”