Monday, February 17, 2014

NYSPHSAA Section 2 Boys Basketball Sectional Preview

So the brackets are out, and teams are preparing for the fight that is ahead.  Basketball's heating up, culminating in 8 teams (A-D) playing at the Civic Center come March 1st, and two (AA) playing at the Times Union Center come March 3rd.

Below the jump is our look at the brackets, going in depth on the local teams making up the fields.  While we're at it, a reminder that we're going to be at the Class D Quarterfinals on Saturday, February 22nd.


ROUND OF 16 - All games played Tuesday 2/18
B8 - Bishop Maginn at S1 - Shenendehowa - 7PM
S5 - Saratoga Springs at B4 - Schenectady - 7PM
S7 - Bethlehem at B2 - Green Tech - 7PM @ Washington Ave. Armory
B6 - Colonie at S3 - Shaker - 7:30PM
B7 - La Salle at S2 - Guilderland - 7PM
S6 - Ballston Spa at B3 - CBA - 7PM
B5 - Albany at S4 - Columbia - 7:30PM
S8 - Niskayuna at B1 - Catholic Central - 7PM

QUARTERFINALS - All games played Saturday 2/22 at Hudson Valley Community College
S5/B4 winner vs. B8/S1 winner - 7:45PM
B6/S3 winner vs. S7/B2 winner - 4:15PM
S6/B3 winner vs. B7/S2 winner - 2:30PM
B5/S4 winner vs. S8/B1 winner - 6:00PM

SEMIFINALS - Both games played Wednesday 2/26 at Times Union Center
7:45PM winner vs. 4:15PM winner - 7:30PM
2:30PM winner vs. 6:00PM winner - 6:00PM

CHAMPIONSHIP - Monday 3/3, 7:30PM at Times Union Center

Thoughts: Without much of a local presence with the exception of Saratoga Springs, the Class AA bracket doesn't get our full attention whereas if we were closer to Albany, it would.  Catholic Central has been hot in the class all throughout their run to the Big 10 title, and the one team that knocked them off won't be playing them in the sectionals as Troy is playing as a Class A school this year.

However, the team I'm interested in seeing would have to be Green Tech.  Not affiliated with any of the conferences, Green Tech played a small sample of Section 2 opponents during the season, but the teams they did face are those fighting on in this tournament.  That includes either prospective second round opponents.  Green Tech beat Shaker by 21, and Colonie by a dozen.  If Tech could survive that, a potential match with Shenendehowa lurks.

Speaking of Shen, a potential rematch with Saratoga Springs could be the nightcap Saturday at Hudson Valley Community College.  Saratoga Springs didn't look comfortable in either of their showdowns, but the heat of a local rivalry always intensifies when the playoffs come around.

But until we get to the semifinals, I'm not seeing any real upsets.  The top teams look to be too strong for the lower seeds to topple.

My final four teams: Shenendehowa, Shaker, Guilderland, Catholic Central


1-Scotia - BYE
9-Burnt Hills at 8-Lansingburgh - Wednesday 7PM
5-Amsterdam - BYE
4-Averill Park - BYE
3-Gloversville - BYE
11-Bishop Gibbons at 6-Queensbury - Wednesday 7PM
10-South Glens Falls at 7-Mohonasen - Wednesday 6PM
2- Troy - BYE

QUARTERFINALS - All games played Sunday 2/23 at Hudson Valley Community College
9/8 Winner vs. 1-Scotia - 5:30PM
5-Amsterdam vs. 4-Averill Park - 1PM
11/6 Winner vs. 3-Gloversville - 2:30PM
10/7 Winner vs. 2-Troy - 4PM

SEMIFINALS - All games played Thursday 2/27 at the Glens Falls Civic Center
5:30PM winner vs. 1PM winner - 7:30PM
2:30PM winner vs. 4PM winner - 6PM

CHAMPIONSHIP - Saturday 3/1, 7:15PM at the Glens Falls Civic Center

Thoughts: The Queensbury Spartans may enter sectionals at 9-9, 9 wins better than Bishop Gibbons, but the Spartans cannot take the Golden Knights lightly.  Thinking about their next opponent now means an end to the season when these two teams play Wednesday night.

Bishop Gibbons has to endure the Big 10 schedule throughout their regular season, which means multiple games against top ranked teams like Troy and Catholic Central.  And while they may not have top-of-the-league statistics because of stifling defenses, we did get to see a little of what Brandan Maloney can do when he scored 26 against Bishop Maginn on February 7th for his season's high.

If Queensbury is to move on, they need to come out of the gate better than they did against Scotia on Tuesday.  They allowed the Tartans to score the game's first 10 points, and thus had to play catch-up throughout the entire game.  If the Spartans treat this game right, this will be a tune-up for the quarterfinals when a rested Gloversville squad await them.

When you look at the South Glens Falls/Mohonasen game, you may see two similar teams.  But the surface is deceiving, and that could be fatal for the Bulldogs.  Mohonasen hails from the Suburban Conference, which means they've been battle-tested all season long with games against Colonie, Shaker, Guilderland and Shenendehowa.   Most of Mohonasen's games have been close, including a 3 point victory over Guilderland, who owns a #2 seed in the AA tournament.  Mohonasen is that kind of team you have to keep a close eye on because they could be the surprise of the tournament.

South Glens Falls's wins have come against Glens Falls, a team that opted out of playing in the Class A tournament this year.  All but 1 of South Glens Falls's losses have been by double digits.  The Bulldogs will need to have a flawless game from leading scorers Travis Ramsey and Matt Legac in order to move on in this tournament.

Personally, I'd love to see Mohonasen move on because I think that could be a real dogfight between the Warriors and the Troy Flying Horses.  Mohonasen's ability to make games stressful for the opposing team could find them with a strong chance to make it to the Glens Falls Civic Center come next week.  Mohonasen and Amsterdam are two teams you can't overlook in this bracket, especially considering that the Rams have registered a win over Troy.

Most are hoping for a Scotia/Troy final, and while there's a good chance this will come true, we're forecasting an upset on the southern side of the bracket.  Troy is strong, but vulnerable, and Mohonasen is that type of team that could exploit those vulnerabilities.  Queensbury's last game against Gloversville, in Gloversville, was by 9 points and was during a stage where the Spartans were on a six game losing streak.  If Queensbury get their game together, including more buckets from Kalen Minot, who looked better than he did all season on Tuesday, they could pull off the upset.

My final four teams: Scotia, Amsterdam, Queensbury, Mohonasen


ROUND OF 16 - All games played Tuesday 2/18
16-Stillwater at 1-Voorheesville - 7PM
9-Watervliet at 8-Catskill - 7PM
12-Johnstown at 5-Mechanicville - 7PM
13-Fonda at 4-Mekeel Christian Academy - 7PM
14-Hudson at 3-Cohoes - 7:30PM
11-Schulyerville at 6-Broadalbin-Perth - 7PM
10-Schalmont at 7-Taconic Hills - 7PM
15-Coxsackie-Athens at 2-Hoosick Falls - 7PM

QUARTERFINALS - All games played Friday 2/21
16/1 winner vs. 9/8 winner - 8PM at Hudson Valley Community College
12/5 winner vs. 13/4 winner - 6:30PM at Hudson Valley Community College
14/3 winner vs. 11/6 winner - 5PM at Shenendehowa
10/7 winner vs. 15/2 winner - 6:30PM at Shenendehowa

SEMIFINALS - All games played Tuesday 2/25 at the Glens Falls Civic Center
Hudson Valley Community College winners - 8PM
Shenendehowa winners - 6:30PM

CHAMPIONSHIP - Saturday 3/1, 5:30PM at the Glens Falls Civic Center

Thoughts: Like in AA, Class B doesn't have a whole lot of teams with local interest.  That's a shame, because B is the most interesting bracket of the 5 in Section 2.

We've expressed our shock regarding Hoosick Falls being denied the #1 seed on Twitter.  But truth be told, Hoosick Falls is one of probably six teams in this bracket with a legitimate shot of being the last team standing come March 1st.

Hoosick Falls is undefeated against New York teams, with their lone loss being against Vermont's Mount Anthony.  They've had to sweat out a few games, including both matches against Hoosic Valley.  Voorheesville has one loss, and that's against a prospective 2nd round opponent in Watervliet.  Cohoes has two losses, one being a 5 point loss at Voorheesville, and the other being against Scotia.  Mekeel Christian Academy has one loss, against Duanesburg.  Three of the four losses for Mechanicville have come at the hands of Cohoes and Voorheesville.  And Broadalbin-Perth had to suffer through the Foothills Council schedule, which includes the distinction of allowing the fewest points against Scotia all season.

It just shows you how deep this tournament can be.

My Final Four Teams: Hoosick Falls, Mechanicville, Watervliet, Broadalbin-Perth


16-Whitehall at 1-Hoosic Valley - Tuesday 7PM
9-Berlin at 8-Canajoharie - Tuesday 7:30PM
12-Schoharie at 5-Waterford - Tuesday, 7:30PM
13-Fort Plain at 4-Greenwich - Tuesday, 7:30PM
14-Hadley-Luzurne at 3-Spa Catholic - Wednesday, 7PM
11-Berne-Knox-Westerlo at 6-Rensselaer - Wednesday, 7PM
10-Maple Hill at 7-Duanesburg - Wednesday, 7PM
15-Middleburgh at 2-Lake George - Wednesday, 7PM

16/1 winner vs. 9/8 winner - Friday, 5PM at Hudson Valley Community College
12/5 winner vs. 13/4 winner - Friday, 8PM at Shenendehowa
14/3 winner vs. 11/6 winner - Saturday, 11AM at Hudson Valley Community College
10/7 winner vs. 15/2 winner - Saturday, 12:45PM at Hudson Valley Community College

SEMIFINALS - Both games Wednesday 2/26 at Glens Falls Civic Center
Friday Winners - 8PM
Saturday Winners - 6:30PM

CHAMPIONSHIP - Saturday 3/1, 3:45PM at the Glens Falls Civic Center

Thoughts: If you think this bracket is for Lake George to take, think again.  The Warriors are a favorite, but so too are the Hoosic Valley Indians and Spa Catholic as well.  The Warriors may enter the bracket on a momentum high after beating Argyle for the Adirondack League title, but has to be careful as they allowed Argyle to get comfortable and came back from 14 points down.

A game like that against Hoosic Valley could be dangerous.  Hoosic Valley has two close losses to Hoosick Falls, both which the Indians were involved in until the very end.  Their ability to pressure and take control has earned them several wins this season.

Don't count out Spa Catholic.  They're another strong team, losing the WAC title in close fashion against Mekeel Christian, and Mekeel has a good seed in the B bracket.  That loss in the title game was their only conference loss, as well.

A lot of outside teams, like Waterford, Greenwich, Rensselaer and Duanesburg, could make this bracket interesting.

My Final Four Teams: Hoosic Valley, Lake George, Spa Catholic, Waterford


1-Argyle - BYE
9-Northville vs. 8-Loudonville Christian - Tuesday 6PM at Shaker High
5-North Warren - BYE
4-Fort Ann - BYE
3-Hartford - BYE
11-Fort Edward at 6-St. Johnsville - Wednesday 7PM
10-Salem at 7-Heatly - Tuesday 7:30PM
2-Germantown - BYE

QUARTERFINALS - All games Saturday 2/22 at Stillwater
9/8 winner vs. 1-Argyle - 6PM
5-North Warren vs. 4-Fort Ann - 1PM
11/6 winner vs. 3-Hartford - 2:30PM
10/7 winner vs. 2-Germantown - 4:30PM

SEMIFINALS - Both games at the Glens Falls Civic Center
6PM winner vs. 1PM winner - Wednesday 2/26 at 5PM
2:30PM winner vs. 4:30PM winner - Tuesday 2/25 at 5PM

CHAMPIONSHIP - Saturday 3/1, 2PM at the Glens Falls Civic Center

Thoughts: Argyle's number 1 again, and if any of the 5 other Adirondack League teams might have a shot at upsetting Argyle, you may have to look at Hartford.  The Tanagers lost both of their matches with top-seeded Argyle, but the second meeting that was by only 9 gives them the best shot.  Of Hartford's 5 losses, two were against Argyle, one was against Lake George, one was against Class B's Corinth, and the other came against Salem on February 7th that may have served as a wake-up call.

Salem's season can be best described as "streaky", but outside of the win over Hartford, the Generals haven't beaten anyone of importance.  Both games against Fort Edward were too close for comfort, and they had one of the tightest performances in the league against winless Bolton.

But the tightest was a 14 point win that Loudonville Christian put up on January 7th.  Last year's number two seed has some close wins that makes you believe that they could put up a battle when they face Northville in the 8/9 game on Tuesday.  Of importance comes a 39-37 loss against Waterford that looks good in the Class C bracket.  But two conference games against Germantown leaves the Eagles vulnerable.

Germantown doesn't have as impressive of a resume that Argyle has.  But their losses, like Argyle's, have come at the hands of teams who won't be playing in the Class D tournament.  They split their season series against Waterford, lost to Class B's Schalmont and Ichabod Crane, and lost on Wednesday against Class C's Middleburgh.  None of their losses were blowout losses, but outside of the loss to Waterford, they all were by double digits.

One of the two undefeated-in-D teams are going to lose their first game against similar classification teams in the next couple of weeks.  It's hard to make a case for a final that doesn't involve Argyle and Germantown, but Hartford and Fort Ann may have the strongest cases for being sleeper teams.

My Final Four Teams: Argyle, Germantown, Hartford, Fort Ann

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