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Section II finals: Glens Falls vs. Schalmont

Glens Falls' Joe Girard III and David Barclay jump and chest bump in celebratory fashion following their victory in the Class B final of the Section II Boys Basketball Tournament on Friday at Cool Insuring Arena.

Wherever Glens Falls and Joseph Girard III play, the crowds follow. Wednesday’s state regional playoff game will be no exception.

Officials in Plattsburgh are encouraging fans to buy their tickets online ahead of time (https://gofan.co/nysphsaa7) and advising them to arrive early. Advance digital tickets are available until noon on Tuesday.

Glens Falls’ game against Plattsburgh High School at 7:30 p.m. will follow a girls basketball playoff between Mechanicville and Northeastern Clinton. On-site tickets will be available starting at 4:30 p.m.

Here’s the schedule for local teams involved in playoff action this week. Winners of Saturday’s regional final basketball games move on to the state final four:

Class C girls basketball: Cambridge faces Madrid-Waddington in a regional semifinal on Tuesday at Shenendehowa (6 p.m.). The winner of that game plays Moriah on Saturday at Beekmantown (noon).

Class B boys basketball: Glens Falls faces Plattsburgh on Wednesday at the Plattsburgh State Field House (7:30 p.m.). The winner advances to play Ogdensburg at Potsdam State on Saturday (4:30 p.m.).

Class C boys basketball: Lake George meets Madrid-Waddington on Wednesday at Saratoga High School (5:30 p.m.). The winner takes on Moriah in the regional final on Saturday at Beekmantown (1:45 p.m.).

Class AA boys basketball: Saratoga meets West Genesee on Saturday at SRC Arena in Syracuse (3:45 p.m.) in the regional final.

Division II ice hockey: Queensbury faces John Jay in the state semifinals on Saturday at Buffalo’s Harborcenter arena (9:30 a.m.). The winner plays Sunday in the state championship game at noon.

The plan

Lake George center Chris Becker expected the double-team treatment against Hoosick Falls in the Class C boys basketball championship game on Friday. Sometimes he was even triple-teamed. He persevered, though, especially in the second half, earning him tournament MVP honors.

“The plan for myself was to put Luke (Pelchar) in the middle so they’d have to come off me,” Becker said. “It was hard for me to get the ball, but Luke did a great job of taking some of the guys off me so I could get to the basket.”

— Will Springstead

It’ll toughen them up

Lake George players and coaches agreed that getting such a stern test from Hoosick Falls in the Class C boys basketball sectional final Friday was a difficult-but-necessary pill to swallow.

“We have to play at that level, we have to step it up,” Lake George coach Blake White said. “And we did the second half, especially the last quarter and a half. That’s where we have to be to get where we want to go.”

— Will Springstead

The other things

Even when Mason Flatley is off on his scoring, the SUNY Oneonta-bound player is still dangerous for Lake George.

In addition to his nine points and five rebounds, Flatley had four assists and a crucial steal late in the game. With the Warriors pressing Hoosick Falls, Flatley stole the ball and was fouled. He made one of two, increasing Lake George’s lead to the final score of 48-45.

— Will Springstead

Looking ahead

Both the North Warren and Fort Ann boys basketball teams were eliminated in Class D sectional semifinal games at Cool Insuring Arena on Thursday, which means it is already time to start looking to the future.

For North Warren, coach Jeremy Whipple said he would not have traded this season for anything. And it is tough to blame him, considering the Cougars improved upon their 2018 win total by 11 games.

Only graduating three seniors, North Warren is officially on the map and features two double-digit scores in Anthony Girard and Tanner Dunkley.

Fort Ann loses far more. Leading scorer Luke Loso, senior-leader Brendan Wright, guard Sawyer Lunt, Richie Jones, Hunter Saville and Nick Strainer were all seniors.

But programs like Fort Ann reload and with 12-point-per-game scorer Dylan Frost returning next season, along with sophomore guard Ty Loso, the Cardinals’ future is equally as bright.

“As I said to them in the locker room,” coach Kevin Nassivera said after his Cardinals lost to Germantown, “next season starts tomorrow and we have to think basketball. I like where our program is headed. We got some good kids coming back and on JV, so I think we will be back.”

— Ellis L. Williams

Undersized center

Cambridge sophomore McKayla McLenithan has become the Indians’ center by injury default this season.

She’s 5-foot-8, but she plays much bigger than that — especially filling in now for starting center Fiona Mooney, who is out with a broken wrist.

“McKayla is an undersized post player, but she’s an athlete — she’s quick and she has quick hands,” Cambridge coach Bob Phillips said. “She plays great help defense.”

In Friday night’s Class C girls title game, McLenithan was part of a defense tasked with stopping Hoosick Falls’ 6-foot-2 center, Logan Thayne. Thayne still scored 18 points, but she was challenged often.

“It’s a huge difference without Fiona, but it’s good that we’ve had time to adjust without her,” Phillips said. “Our post presence is not nearly as strong without her. We put Lilly (Phillips) in front of (Thayne) and McKayla or Brecke (Gifford) on the back-side help, so we pinched her in constantly.”

— Pete Tobey

Lone senior

The Queensbury girls basketball team’s roster features nine juniors, three sophomores and two freshmen. The Spartans also have one senior: Mackenzie Kinney, a 5-10 forward.

“Mackenzie Kinney was absolutely amazing the entire year,” Spartans coach Megan Bethel said. “She never got a lot of time, but she is one of the loudest kids on the bench. She’s such a fantastic role player, she stayed positive the entire year.”

— Pete Tobey

Familiar faces

The State Wrestling Tournament features familiar faces every year, but the state finals saw some former local wrestlers in the corners at the Times Union Center on Feb. 23.

Former Salem wrestler Dan Batchelder is in his first year coaching the Odessa-Montour/Watkins Glen program in Section IV. His 285-pounder, Dylan Houseknecht, captured the Division II state championship with a 4-2 overtime victory over Newark Valley’s Trentyn Rupert.

In the semifinals, Batchelder coached against Hoosick Falls coach Landon Nelson — another former Salem wrestler — as Houseknecht defeated the Panthers’ Craig Sawyer 3-0.

Also, former Whitehall state champion Dan Bishop, now coaching Tonawanda in Section VI, had Zach Braddell as the top seed at 138 in Division II. Braddell came up short in the finals against Tioga’s John Worthing, 4-2.

— Pete Tobey

All-star

Glens Falls’ Sophie Tougas, a junior at Brewster Academy, was named a New England Prep School Athletic Council Class C All-Star. A 6-foot guard, Tougas has about 10 Division I offers already.

— Will Springstead

Tough to stop

The Queensbury girls found their hands full trying to stop Averill Park’s taller lineup inside. While the Spartans had some success forcing turnovers out on the floor, in the paint it was a different story.

“We wanted to double-team them inside, and some of their passes were just right there and we couldn’t defend that, so that was really our downfall,” junior guard Hope Sullivan said. “They just kept on going and that was what we couldn’t stop.”

— Pete Tobey

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