PLATTSBURGH — None of the AuSable Valley boys’ basketball players have been to the NYSPHSAA regionals before, and coach Jamie Douglass has told them to soak up the experience.
“Just enjoy it. Feel the moment,” Douglass said he told his players. He added that the Patriots aren’t intimidated by the bigger stage. “Just another basketball game — those kids are from a small town just like us. We’ve already played at the Field House. We’re not nervous.
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“Just told them, ‘Enjoy every second, have fun, play our style.’”
The Patriots (14-4) face Lake George today in a Class C regional final at the Plattsburgh State Field House. The winner will advance to next weekend’s final four at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
Lake George (21-2) won five playoff games to get to the Field House. The Warriors, seeded second in the Section II tournament, held off No. 1 seed Hoosick Valley 51-48 in the championship game and then pulled away in the second half of Wednesday’s regional semifinal for a 71-51 win over St. Lawrence.
Douglass called them “very talented offensively,” and they’re led in that department by sophomore guard Joel Wincowski. He scored 28 in the sectional final, surpassing 1,000 career points in the process, and then had 37 on Wednesday. He’s the second-leading scorer in Section II with 27.2 points per game.
Connor McCoy sparked the Warriors with 19 points against St. Lawrence, and Ethan Wincoswski and Greg Rosenthal are also scoring threats.
Douglass said AuSable Valley will mix up its defense to try to keep Lake George off balance.
“We just want to keep up the defensive intensity — deny every pass, contest every shot, box out every time,” he added.
And the Patriots expect to see some pressure from the Warriors in the backcourt.