POTSDAM — Madrid-Waddington made the plays down the stretch Tuesday night — and Moriah, as hard as it tried, wasn’t able to.
The Vikings dropped a heartbreaking 49-46 decision to the Yellowjackets in the NYSPHSAA Class D boys’ basketball regional semifinals at Potsdam State’s Maxcy Hall.
High School Sports Magazine
“For a half and half of the third quarter, we played very well,” Moriah coach Brian Cross said. “But then turnovers off their press killed us in the third quarter, and we missed some foul shots down the stretch that you have to make. Then we turned the ball over twice in a row in the final minute.
“The kids played hard all game, and I’m proud of them for the season they had and the nice run they made at the end to win the sectionals. But the little things came back to haunt us tonight.”
The Section VII champions (10-12) held a 22-16 lead at the half.
“We fouled them at the end of the half, and they hit two free throws to make it a six-point game,” Cross said.
Derek Brassard then nailed a 3-pointer and Adam Jaquish scored on a rebound to give the Vikings a 27-16 advantage early in the third.
But then the Section X champions’ press started to rattle the Vikings, forcing them into a number of turnovers. Madrid-Waddington was able to cut its deficit to 33-30 after three.
Jacob Barney’s 3-pointer pulled the Yellowjackets into a 33-all tie early in the fourth, and the game then went back and forth.
A clutch Tyler Pratt 3-pointer put the Vikings into a 43-all tie in the late going before Colin O’Bryan answered with a 2-pointer for the Yellowjackets.
Brassard then connected on an equally-clutch 3-pointer to put Moriah back on top, 46-45. But those would be the final points for the Vikings.
Moriah had possession of the ball when Greg Thompson stole it and went in for a layup with 29.4 seconds remaining to give Madrid-Waddington a 47-46 advantage.
The Vikings then turned the ball over again in the lane, and Maurice Rease canned two from the line to give the Yellowjackets a 49-46 lead with 10.9 seconds left.
Moriah had one good look at a 3-pointer but missed, and a long desperation try fell well short as time expired.
“Even though it was a tough one to lose, I’d rather lose a game like this instead of a one-sided game,” Cross said. “You’re always going to wonder what could have been.
“It hurts to end the season like this. The O’Bryan kid got hot and he hurt us.”
O’Bryan finished with 16 points for the Yellowjackets (17-7), while Richard Wright added 10. Thompson and Rease finished with eight apiece.
Brassard and Jaquish were strong for the Vikings in a losing cause with 16 and 12 points, respectively. Ryan Shpur chipped in with eight.
“We played hard, and I can’t think of a better group of players to be with on a team,” Brassard said. “The third quarter killed us when we had some key turnovers, and then we had some at the end.
“They’re a good team, and they’re fast. It was a disappointing game to lose, but I would much rather see us lose this way, playing as hard as we did the entire game and losing a close one.”
The Vikings fell behind 4-0 early on and trailed 11-9 after one quarter.
But 2-pointers by Jaquish, Brassard and Shpur, along with a 3-pointer by Pratt, rallied Moriah into an 18-11 advantage.
Madrid-Waddington got to within 18-14 before Moriah scored the next four points and ended up taking a six-point lead into the half.
Madrid-Waddington 49, Moriah 46
Calkins 1-2-4, Gaddor 0-0-0, Pratt 2-0-6, Shpur 4-0-8, Mero 0-0-0, Jaquish 5-2-12, Belzer 0-0-0, Brassard 6-2-16. Totals: 18-6-46.
Barney 1-0-3, Wright 3-4-10, Brock 1-2-4, Thompson 4-0-8, Crump 0-0-0, Rease 2-2-8, O’Bryan 6-4-16. Totals: 17-12-49.
Moriah 9 13 11 13 — 46
Madrid-Waddington 5 14 14 19 — 49
3-point goals: Moriah (4): Brassard 2; Pratt 2. Madrid-Waddington (3): Rease 2; Barney.