PLATTSBURGH — Watervliet came up 1 point short in the state championship game last year and ripped through its conference with a perfect record this season.
So Beekmantown may be seen as the underdog in tonight’s NYSPHAA Class B boys’ basketball regional semifinal game — by outsiders, that is.
High School Sports Magazine
“I think that’s the general impression of everybody else but ourselves,” Beekmantown coach Ryan Converse said. “I think the kids believe that we belong here and we earned the right to be here and we’re here for a reason.”
The Eagles (13-7) will match up with the Cannoneers at the Plattsburgh State Field House, and the winner will advance to meet Ogdensburg Free Academy in the regional final Saturday.
Watervliet (19-3) had to win four games to claim the Section II title, including a 64-52 victory over Schuylerville in the championship contest. The Cannoneers have outscored their opponents by an average of 25 points in the playoffs. They went 13-0 in the Colonial Council during the regular season.
Watervliet is led by its dynamic backcourt combination of seniors Jordan Gleason and Tyler McLeod. Gleason has been one of the top scorers in Section II this season, averaging 23.2 points per game, and he has knocked down 66 3-pointers.
McLeod, the team’s second-leading scorer, put up 24 points in the Section II final and was named the tournament’s MVP.
“They’re going to be a big part of our defensive focus,” Converse said. “Gleason with his ability to spread the floor. McLeod, he’s good at getting to the basket and creating things. So they’re going to be a challenge, for sure.”
The Eagles, who are led by 6-foot-7 center Keegan Ryan, will try to counter the Cannoneers’ speed and athleticism with size inside.
“I think we’re going to continue to do what we’ve done well all year; that’s to play inside-out,” Converse said. “One thing they don’t have is a ton of size. I’m hoping we can exploit that and play solid team basketball, make the extra pass. As long as we take care of the basketball and play our game, we should be all right.”
Ryan, a senior, is the top scorer in the Champlain Valley Athletic Conference with a 27.4 points-per-game average. He netted 27 in the Eagles’ 59-54 win against Peru in the Section VII final.
Junior guard Greg Manney is Beekmantown’s other main scoring threat, averaging 8.0 points per game. He has hit 35 triples this season.
The Eagles dropped their last two regular-season games but then defeated Saranac in the Section VII semifinals before claiming their first championship in 16 years.
While none of the current players have ever been in a state playoff game, Converse expects them to handle the bigger stage just fine.
“I think our kids are up for the challenge. They’re excited about the opportunity,” he said. “They’re looking forward to representing our school and Section VII in regional play, and I don’t think it will be a problem to get mentally prepared for this game.”
Email Courtney Lewis:
Player FG FT PTS 3FG
Gleason 164 94 488 66
McLeod 98 65 278 17
Gilmore 58 28 161 17
Bruce 63 10 137 1
Ray 54 25 133 0
Player GP FG FT PTS PPG
Ryan 20 204 140 548 27.4
Manney 20 52 21 160 8.0
Stevens 19 33 23 92 4.8
Pelkey 20 32 7 71 3.6
Trombly 20 25 20 72 3.6
Player GP No.
Manney 20 35
Begor 20 8
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