PLATTSBURGH — Ticonderoga led just once Friday, but that lead came when it mattered most.
Eric Nielsen hit a 3-pointer from the left baseline in the closing seconds to lift the Sentinels to a 54-53 win over Northern Adirondack in the Section VII Class C boys’ basketball semifinals at Plattsburgh High.
High School Sports Magazine
“We were struggling offensively for most of the game, but just hard work on defense. I thought we applied pressure, didn’t give them easy looks,” Ticonderoga coach Joe Defayette said. “And we just fought and fought and fought. And we were lucky some of our shots fell at the end there.”
The second-seeded Sentinels will face AuSable Valley in the championship game March 2 at the Plattsburgh State Field House.
Ticonderoga was down 10 heading into the fourth quarter. Michael Graney missed the front end of a 1-and-1 but came up with the ball and knocked down a three, and then Mark Donohue made two free throws to bring Ticonderoga within five. Anthony Dushane put the Sentinels within four in the middle of the quarter, but the Bobcats stretched it back to a nine-point game.
Down by seven with about a minute left, the Sentinels missed a wide-open layup.
“I didn’t want to just give fouls because NAC was making their foul shots,” Defayette said. “And we got lucky they missed a few down the stretch. But we were looking for steals before we fouled, and that worked out a couple times for us and we didn’t quite convert on all of them.”
Ty Denno drove and cut the lead to 52-48 with less than 40 seconds to go, and then Ticonderoga grabbed a steal and Graney sank a triple from the left wing.
Northern Adirondack’s Colby Sayah hit 1-of-2 from the line to make it 53-51. Then Nielsen got open in the corner and swished his three with less than 10 seconds left.
“I just faded to the corner. I had Ty Denno coming down; I saw him look at me, so he knew where I was going to be,” Nielsen said. “I just shot it like any other —I didn’t overthink it.”
Sayah heaved a shot with a few seconds on the clock, but it was off the mark and the desperate putback attempt missed, too.
Nielsen finished with 11 points. Graney scored a game-high 22, and Dushane had eight points and 14 rebounds.
Northern Adirondack led 26-17 by halftime with the help of eight second-quarter points from Ethan King.
Alden Kerr drained a three and then got a fast break layup to put the Bobcats ahead 33-19 less than three minutes into the third and they were still up 40-30 going into the fourth.
King paced the Bobcats with 16 points, Sayah totaled 15 and Kerr added 13.
Northern Adirondack 53
Northern Adirondack (53)
Paiser 1-1-3, LaBarge 0-0-0, Smart 1-2-4, Kerr 5-1-13, Sayah 5-2-15, Langlois 0-2-2, King 6-4-16. Totals: 18-12-53.
Nielsen 3-3-11, Graney 7-4-22, Cook 0-0-0, Donahue 0-4-4, Denno 3-0-7, Dushane 2-4-8, Chapman 0-2-2. Totals: 15-17-54.
No. Adirondack 10 16 14 13 — 53
Ticonderoga 6 11 13 23 — 54
3-point goals: Northern Adirondack (5), Sayah 3, Kerr 2. Ticonderoga (7), Graney 4, Nielsen 2, Denno.
AuSable Valley 58, Seton Catholic 39
The top-seeded Patriots were ahead by 14 at halftime of the second semifinal but found themselves in a tight game in the third quarter.
Kaden Baugh made back-to-back 3-pointers to spark Seton Catholic, and Chris Kustos scored inside late in the quarter to pull the Knights within 41-34. The Patriots missed several chippies.
“They’re a very well coached team, and they’ve got a great group of kids,” AuSable Valley coach Jamie Douglass said of the Knights. “They came out and they were making their shots, playing hard defensively.
“We match up so evenly, it can go either way. It was just we had the last run.”
Austin Depo started that run with a nice look on an inbounds play. Seton Catholic got a bucket, and then the Patriots went on a 12-3 spurt that included eight points by Shane Douglas.
“We went back to good, intensive, in-your-face, full-court pressure, really overplaying and extending the offense as far out to the wing as we can get,” Douglass said.
Douglas ended up with 16 points for AuSable Valley, and John Goodnough had 15 points and five rebounds. Depo added nine points and eight rebounds, while Zach Cosgrove swiped six steals and Brandon Brooks pulled down seven boards.
Seton Catholic trailed by just five early in the second quarter, but then AuSable Valley scored nine straight points and led 33-19 at the half.
Baugh and Adam Tedford both scored 12 for the fourth-seeded Knights.
AuSable Valley 58,
Seton Catholic 39
Seton Catholic (39)
Tedford 4-3-12, Baugh 4-2-12, Briggs 1-1-3, LaFountain 1-2-4, Favreau 2-0-4, Kustos 2-0-4. Totals: 14-8-39.
AuSable Valley (58)
Cosgrove 1-0-2, Casey 2-0-4, Brooks 4-0-8, Goodnough 7-0-15, Facteau 2-0-4, Depo 4-1-9, Douglas 7-1-16, McDonald 0-0-0. Totals: 17-2-58.
Seton Catholic 9 10 15 5 — 39
AuSable Valley 16 17 8 17 — 58
3-point goals: Seton Catholic (3), Baugh 2, Tedford. AuSable Valley (2), Goodnough, Douglas.
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