SYRACUSE — Lowville’s top-seeded boys basketball team became the first Frontier League boys team in 10 years to repeat as Section 3 champions with a 71-50 victory over No. 2 Solvay in the Class B final Saturday at Onondaga Community College.
No. 2 Lyme wasn’t as fortunate. The defending champion Indians fell to No. 1 DeRuyter 63-54 in the Class D final.
CLASS B FINAL
LOWVILLE 71, SOLVAY 50
The goal always is to win sectionals. Win that Section 3 banner and whatever comes afterward is a bonus.
Lowville won sectionals, its second consecutive Section 3 Class B title, taking down Solvay by 21. But what comes next isn’t a bonus for the Red Raiders anymore — it’s the next phase of the goal.
They’ll play the Class B winner out of Section 4, either Binghamton Seton Catholic or Norwich, next Sunday in Binghamton.
With 0.8 left on the clock, Lowville’s Chad Bach inbounded the ball to Aidan Macaulay who dribbled it once before the final buzzer rang. The two long-time teammates dapped each other up and Macaulay added a pat to the back of Bach’s head.
What took place in the 32 game minutes prior was typical Lowville (22-1). The Red Raiders hit the threes (10), out-rebounded Solvay 34-29 and kept the Bearcats (19-5) to 50 points, their third lowest total of the season.
Aidan Macaulay, who finished with a team-high 24 points and was named Class B tournament MVP, hit three 3-pointers, his final one coming in their second- to-last possession of the game.
Lowville can shoot the three with the best of them, but coach Zach Shambo doesn’t see that as the team’s identity.
“We decided a couple of years ago that we were going to play man-to-man regardless, that was our goal and we tried to learn it the best that we could,” Shambo said. “The 3-point shot has become such a weapon that we have to take it away.”
The Red Raiders played man-to-man against the Bearcats like they have all season. It helped limit what Solvay, a good shooting team, could do.
“Our man-to-man has been our bread and butter all year, we work hard and practice on it every day,” Bach said. “Against Solvay, we knew they were a good team and if we would have just sit in zone, they would have hit threes and it would have been hard to catch up.”
After scoring 18 in the first half, Solvay’s Justin Scott finished with only two in the second for a team-high 20 points.
Lowville became the first Frontier League to repeat as Section 3 champions since Sackets Harbor did it in 2008 and 2009.
The Red Raiders were one of four Frontier League teams at OCC for the Section 3 finals on Saturday, making it back-to-back seasons with at least four Jefferson or Lewis county teams competing for a sectional title.
“I think that Frontier League basketball has taken huge strides because I bet half the people in here didn’t even know what Frontier League was,” Aidan Macaulay said. “I think that not only us but all the other teams that are down here have done a good job of putting the Frontier League on the map.”
Aside from Lowville’s faithful community, players from multiple Frontier League teams traveled to OCC for the sectional finals and to see Lowville.
“It’s awesome to see everyone here, we try to go to as many games as we can, too,” Shambo said. “It’s great that they come here to support us and our crowd is awesome.”
CLASS D FINAL
DERUYTER 63, LYME 54
There would be no repeat for Lyme. Going up against undefeated DeRuyter, the Indians failed, like so many others, to overcome the Rockets — just this time, it resulted in losing the Section 3 Class D title.
DeRuyter’s strength has been its speed. Parents constantly screamed from the DeRuyter section that Lyme couldn’t keep up. While Lyme tried its best to stay with DeRuyter’s pace — with varying levels of success — it was apparent from the jump that DeRuyter (24-0) would be hard to contain.
Despite going down 15-3 late in the first quarter, Lyme (21-2) came back strong in the second and entered halftime trailing 32-29. At one point Lyme even held a brief 29-25 lead.
“They came out strong, we knew that’s the type of team they are, we played them last year,” Lyme senior Isaiah Wilson said. “They wanted that vengeance. We knew they could make that type of run but our identity is just fighting back and crawling back in, so we weren’t too worried when we went down then.”
Wilson, who had been dealing with injuries all season, finished with a team-high 26 points and hit five 3-pointers in the second half. Late in the second half, the five-year varsity player had already accrued four fouls, altering how aggressive he was able to be against the Rockets.
DeRuyter, as balanced as it is, featured four players with 10-plus points. Tristan Worlock led with 16 and unleashed a fierce dunk late in the third that put the Rockets up by seven.
Gavin Richardson also scored 15 points for DeRuyter.
“We knew that we could play with them and that if we got a lead that hopefully we could keep that lead, but they have a little stronger bench than we do,” Lyme coach Leo Wilson said. “Isaiah got in foul trouble, and I told him that I can’t take you out but you’re going to have to play off a little bit, and so that hurt a little bit.”
Isaiah Wilson, who surpassed 2,000 career points earlier this season, was understandingly broken up after fouling out late and the result of the game.
“I’m just thankful for my team and my family and everyone who supported me and followed me these five years,” he said. “I would have traded all of my personal accolades for a state championship, but as far as the people I had along the way, I wouldn’t have traded them for the world.”
Kyle Gaumes finished with 15 points for Lyme and made key baskets to help keep the Indians in the fight. This was the junior’s first and only season playing on the same high school basketball team as Wilson.
“You couldn’t ask for anything better, him as a friend and as a teammate, as a best friend actually. I wouldn’t want to play with anyone else for his senior year and my junior year,” Gaumes said. “Coming into a program where he’s taken me in, he’s given me rides after school. There is nothing better than Isaiah, he’s a great friend, not just a great teammate.”
Jake Bombard, also concluded his senior season Saturday, and while he didn’t score, he finished with three assists, three steals and seven rebounds.
Along with Bombard and Wilson, seniors Tanner Young (two points), Riley O’Brien and Trevor Weston all played their final high school basketball games.
DeRuyter will advance to play Chateaugay of Section 10 on Saturday in the SRC Arena at Onondaga Community College.