Tuesday night’s Class D semi-finals of the Section 10 Boys Basketball Tournament at SUNY Potsdam’s Maxcy Hall was all about defense.
Heuvelton (19-3) used an extended zone defense as a key to a second half pullaway to 70-52 win over Lisbon which took six point leads in the first and second quarters. Harrisville (18-4) advanced past Chateaugay 35-30 in a grind it out affair staged at close quarters where the Pirates took an 18-10 halftime lead and then rallied from a 24-23 deficit in the fourth quarter.
The defending Class D Champion Bulldogs won both meetings over the Pirates in posting a 12-0 NAC West Division Championship and claimed sole possession of the title in a 45-44 overtime decision on the final night of the season. Heuvelton and Harrisville enter Friday’s Class D Championship ranked second and third in the New York State Class D Poll.
Heuvelton went scoreless for the first 3:20 of the game where Lisbon’s Cooper Rutherford grabbed four defensive rebounds.
But the defense held the fort.
When Lucas Thornhill broke the ice with a 3-pointer he tied the score at 3-3.
Lisbon (10-11) answered with six straight points for 9-3 lead but the Bulldogs pulled into an 11-11 tie at the quarter pole when reserve Camden Johnson buried a three.
In the second quarter Rutherford netted a 3 and Connor Bell scored inside as the Knights took a 19-13 lead.
It proved to be their final micro burst of the game as the Bulldogs went to a zone defense, extended it out to the halfcourt line and forced a steady stream of turnovers. Turnovers which disrupted the Knights’ offensive flow and jump-started the Heuvelton offense which found the ignition switch when Nate Mashaw buried two straight 3s and Chris Ashlaw scored on a drive to produce a 33-28 halftime lead.
Thornhill, Ashlaw and Mashaw all hit 3s in the first 90 seconds of the third quarter where the Bulldogs took a 42-30 lead which quickly swelled to 47-32 with 19-4 run.
“We have had slow starts offensively in recent games and we always seem to start slow against Lisbon. Today we put the zone defense in and it got us going,” said Heuvelton Josh McAllister.
“But we going forward we can’t afford any more slow starts. Connor Phillips really played well inside. He is really coming on”
Mashaw buried four 3s scoring a game-high 20 points and also passed out eight assists while combining in defensive traps and on offense with fellow senior guards Chris Ashlaw (3 assists, 4 steals) and Jake Venette (8 assists, 5 steals) who both finished with 13 points.
Connor Phillips (5 rebounds) came through with another 13 points on 6-6 shooting in a skillful low post scoring duel with Lisbon’s Connor Bell (7 rebounds) who scored a career high 18 points on 8-11 shooting making his first start of the season in place AJ Donaldson who was sidelined with a foot injury.
Cooper Rutherford put together a high energy 19-point, 12-rebound double-double, scored nine in the second quarter and went 5-5 from the free throw line leading the Knights who went 10-11 at the charity stripe.
Thornhill finished with seven points for Heuvelton followed by Cam Johnson with three and Rhys Brossoit with one. Isaiah White tallied seven points with six rebounds in a solid two-way effort for Lisbon, Connor Flack buried a 3-pointer and Coby Mills added a free throw.
The disappointment of seeing the season end was tempered for Lisbon Coach Bob Jordan because his entire regular rotation will return next season.
“Heuvelton is an outstanding team with five senior starters. They play great defense and we really missed AJ Donaldson as a third option on the perimeter,” said Coach Jordan.
“But Connor Bell gave us a huge lift with his play inside.”
Tanner Sullivan tallied 11 points and Aiden Chartrand and Brendan Loos each tallied eight for Harrisville which ended an outstanding season by number 3 state ranked Chateaugay (18-4) which went 14-0 winning the NAC East crown.
“Offense was weak but the D was great. Brennen Loos did an amazing job off the bench and on the boards,” said Harrisville Coach Brian Coloney.
The Pirates prevailed with a 12-6 margin in the fourth quarter and closed out the decision in the final 90 seconds. Nolan Sullivan tallied six points and Joe Sheppard added two.
Ethan Cook scored seven of his team-high 10 points for Chateaugay in the third quarter where the Bulldogs outscored the Pirates 14-5. Walker Martin finished with nine points and Justin Johnson and Pat Reynolds followed with five and two.
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