GLENS FALLS — If it feels like the Lake George Warriors have been here before, it’s because they have. A lot.
Playing in their eighth Section II championship since 2003, the Warriors matched Hoosick Falls bucket for bucket Saturday at Cool Insuring Arena until the Panthers captured a two-point lead halfway through the fourth quarter.
In need of a spark to keep its section championship hopes alive, Caleb Scrime decided to strike.
Driving the lane, he scored on a spinning left-handed layup, followed by a deep trey ball. His quick five points sparked a 12-0 Warriors’ run and earned Lake George a 61-49 win over Hoosick Falls on Saturday at Cool Insuring Arena.
Scrime was named tournament MVP and the Warriors outscored the Panthers 18-11 in the final eight minutes to capture their second consecutive Class C title.
“I know once I get a shot that I can get going,” Scrime said of his late-game triple. “I felt open and I did not think (the defender) was that close to me so I just shot it and it went it.”
When the final buzzer sounded, there was celebration, but much of it ended by the time the Warriors made it back to the locker room. A program rich in tradition like Lake George knows there is still more to accomplish.
The Warriors play Ticonderoga on Wednesday at Saratoga Springs High School in a regional semifinal game (7:30 p.m.).
“We do not take anything for granted,” Warriors coach Dave Jones said. “To get to this point and to be in the sectional final really was one of our top goals but I would not say we expected it.”
For much of the game, Hoosick Falls refused to let Lake George (24-0) establish a presence inside the paint. The Panthers were effectively bottling up Warriors center Chris Becker and clogging driving lanes.
Becker dominated the Panthers for 23 points in a 59-56 Warriors’ victory when these two teams met on Dec. 27 at Glens Falls High School as part of the Grandstanders Christmas Festival.
On Saturday, Becker was held to 13 points but pulled down seven rebounds. Warriors guard Alex Jones finished with 14 points and added four assist.
Scrime took advantage of the attention Becker received and finished with a game-high 24 points, including four 3-pointers.
No trey bigger than his go-ahead 3-pointer that put Lake George up 50-47 with about four minutes to play, a lead the Warriors never gave back.
“That started a burst of energy and we started defending,” Scrime said. “I think they lost their composure and we kept ours.”
In a game that saw five lead changes, Hoosick Falls (19-5) had its opportunities to upset the undefeated Warriors.
Though the Panthers’ largest lead was only three points, they led Lake George for small stints twice in the second half. Both times, a Scrime 3-pointer helped the Warriors grab a lead.
Defensively, Lake George limited Hoosick Falls to 32 percent shooting from the field. Panthers guard Jonathan Kempf scored a team-high 19 points on nine of 15 shooting.
Hoosick Falls had two other players, Guy Milliman and Evan McCart shoot 10 shots or more. The Warriors held both under 31 percent shooting.
In the game’s final minute, Jones knocked down four free throws on consecutive possessions, putting the game out of the Panthers’ reach.
“(Allowing) 49 points is very good against that team,” Scrime said, “and (if) we share the ball then we will be fine.”
Class C Final
Hoosick Falls (19-5)</&hspag4>
2P 3P FT TP
Evan McCart 3 0 4 10
CJ Baker 1 1 0 5
Jonathan Kempf 5 2 3 19
Max Kipp 0 2 0 6
Guy Milliman 1 2 1 9
Totals 10 7 8 49
Lake George (24-0)
2P 3P FT TP
Alex Leonelli 0 0 0 0
Alex Jones 0 1 11 14
Mason Flatley 1 1 0 5
Nick Hoffis 1 1 0 5
Caleb Scrime 5 4 2 24
Chris Becker 5 0 3 13
Totals 12 7 16 61
Hoosick Falls 11 15 12 11 — 49
Lake George 17 10 16 18 — 61