SYRACUSE — The top-seeded Lowville boys basketball team will return to the Section 3 Class B finals. Third-seeded General Brown will not.
General Brown lost to No. 2 Solvay, 65-45 in the first of the two north country sectional semifinal games Saturday at Onondaga Community College. Lowville then defeated No. 5 Marcellus 73-57.
Lowville will take on No. 2 Solvay in a bid for a second straight sectional championship at 4 p.m. Saturday at OCC.
LOWVILLE 73, MARCELLUS 57
Toward the end of the first quarter, Lowville looked angry. Marcellus jumped out to an early lead and with 1 minute, 11 seconds left in the first period was up 11-10. No, Lowville was not in danger of losing the game in the first quarter, but they weren’t pleased with their start.
So, the Red Raiders turned it on.
In that final minute they scored eight points and then in the second quarter they finished with 19 more. In that same span, the Mustangs (16-7) scored only six. For the final nine minutes of the first half, Lowville outscored Marcellus 27-6.
The Red Raiders (21-1) ran the court quickly in the second quarter and finished every-other offensive possession with a 3-pointer.
“I think it’s just a weapon that we have because we obviously can’t play like that the whole game, that would be insane, we’d drop 200 points,” Lowville’s Aidan Macaulay said. “It’s nice to have it in our back pocket, when we get it going, we kind of just click and keep it rolling.”
While Lowville was never in any real danger of losing the game, its body language suggested that the team was disappointed with the slow start.
“Sometimes we give up really tough shots and sometimes I feel like our team thinks it needs to shut people out,” Lowville coach Zach Shambo said. “Then we settled back down and hit a couple of shots and got back in that flow of the game.”
Aidan Macaulay and Aidan Zehr were the most effective. They finished the game with 22 and 21 points, respectively, and hit a combined seven 3-pointers — the Red Raiders finished with 12 total threes.
“We try not to rely on threes so much, but when they’re open, we take them,” Zehr said. “We hit a lot of them today.”
Macaulay’s second three of the game was a corner shot off of a steal. It pushed him over 1,000 career points.
“It’s hard not to think about it because people always come up to me at school and are like, ‘oh how many points do you need?’” Macaulay said. “I think I’ve done a decent job of keeping it out of my mind and focusing on the game. It’s a big deal for me on the inside, but it’s also not as big as the goals we have as a team.”
Marcellus hung tough and never conceded defeat. Even in the final minutes they played hard, which resulted in Lowville committing some unnecessary fouls.
Luke Ingianni finished with a team-high 14 points for the Mustangs.
Inspired performances from teams like Marcellus is what Lowville can expect from here on out.
“After last year, we were pretty unknown for the most part and then all of a sudden we went from being the hunters to the hunted, that’s what we’ve been saying all year,” Shambo said. “We’ve got a giant bull’s-eye on our back and we know that. We just try to keep controlling what we can control, have good practices every day and hopefully come out and have good performances.”
SOLVAY 65, GENERAL BROWN 45
Coming in as the third seed, General Brown had to survive back-to-back close games at home in order to set up a date with Solvay in the Section 3 Class B semifinals.
But the Lions (18-5) weren’t as lucky against the Bearcats. Solvay, playing 10 seniors, stayed in control throughout the game and any time General Brown tried to get back in it, the Bearcats responded.
“We turned the ball over and telegraphed our passes a little bit — their aggressiveness got to us,” General Brown coach Jim Covey said. It seemed like every single time we made a play to get back in the game, they counter-punched.”
For Covey the result is a little more meaningful. After four years of being the head coach of the varsity Lions team, he will not return next season, citing a desire to be more involved with his kids as they get older.
For others who are returning, such as Nate Heller, the 2019-20 season was one that showed great promise and growth.
“I think it was a great season because a lot of people doubted us coming in, losing those huge players from last year,” Heller said. “I think it was a great season overall.”
Solvay’s biggest apparent advantage was its experience. The Bearcats (19-4) simply knew how to read the court, which resulted in 18 General Brown turnovers.
“It definitely caught us off-guard,” General Brown’s De’Shaun Thorigal-Brown said. “But we didn’t come out ready tonight, tonight wasn’t our night.”
Covey mentioned how Thorigal-Brown has been dealing with a hurt left arm, which limited his capabilities.
Solvay took advantage of almost every mistake. Justin Scott, who hasn’t played in over a month, finished with a team-high 19 points and had three 3-pointers. Brock Bagozzi added 16 points, two of which were from a dunk on a steal.
“I don’t fault my kids’ effort,” Covey said. “They battled to the final quarter and Solvay was just the better basketball team today.”