GLENS FALLS - The Canajoharie Cougars had a bad quarter, and the Hoosic Valley Indians took full advantage of it.
The top-seeded Indians outscored the No. 4 Cougars by 11 points in the second quarter and cruised to a 55-30 victory in the Section II Class C semifinals at the Glens Falls Civic Center on Wednesday.
"It's not how we'd like to finish," senior forward Kevin Shannon said. "I don't think any team likes to finish with a loss, but only one team can come out with a win at the end of the season."
Canajoharie’s Dillon Veeder (23) drives against Hoosic Valley’s Frank Acker (24) during a Section II Class C semifinal game Wednesday night at the Glens Falls Civic Center. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)
Canajoharie’s Zach Bowerman (3) shoots while under pressure from Hoosic Valley’s John Rooney (22) and Ethan Ross-Hixson (21) during a Section II Class C semifinal game Wednesday night at the Glens Falls Civic Center. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)
All night, the Indians' Jordan Rooney hammered home the Indians' victory. He stole an inbounds pass and drained a 3-point basket from the left wing, giving Hoosic Valley a 27-12 lead going into the break at halftime.
"It was demoralizing," Shannon said. "I think it turned it into a -point lead or something. We were kind of down going in at the half. Everyone makes mistakes, and we're not pointing fingers at anyone."
Canajoharie never got anything going in the third quarter and Rooney slammed down the end to an 11-1 run by dunking his way through the Cougars' Zach Bowerman. Adding insult to injury, Bowerman was called for a personal foul and Rooney converted the three-point play, giving the Indians a 38-13 lead with 3:52 to go in the third quarter.
Rooney finished with a game-high 20 points.
"Tonight, we got outplayed," Shannon said. "Nothing else can be said for it. One team comes out on top at the end of the game and unfortunately, it wasn't us tonight."
The Cougars got the early jump on the Indians as Dillon Veeder grabbed the opening tip and brought it to the basket for a layup 5 seconds into the game. Then, with 6:18 to go in the period, Josh Gonzalez scored on a hook shot, giving Canajoharie a 4-0 lead.
The Cougars kept Hoosic Valley off the board for the game's first 3 minutes, but Ethan Ross-Hixson scored on a jump shot with 4:50 to go to cut the lead in half.
That was all the Indians needed as he started an 11-0 run to take an 11-4 lead with 2:19 to go in the quarter.
"We took the lead early and we got exactly what we wanted to get, fast-break points," coach Phil Schoff said. "But just like we expected, they took the ball inside, started penetrating and they out-toughed us. Hats off to them. They're an incredible ball club."
Bowerman, who finished with a team-high 13 points, cut the lead to 11-7 with a 3-point basket 19 seconds later, but Hoosic Valley's J.T. Sawyer restored the seven-point lead with a trey of his own.
"That's a championship-caliber team right there," Schoff said. "They deserved a one seed because in order to win a championship like this, you've got to be able to answer any situation. Any time we capitalized off a turnover, they came right back and answered."
But Bowerman wasn't done, answering with another 3-pointer with 41 seconds to go in the quarter, cutting the lead to a manageable four points, 14-10, after the first eight minutes.
The Cougars spent most of the second quarter trying to find a way around the taller Indians' defense, but the only basket they managed came from Logan Sala with 1:46 to go in the half. That stopped an 11-0 Hoosic Valley run.
"We were happy to see they would go man against us as we expected, but we never really got into a rhythm," Schoff said. "We couldn't put the ball in the ocean. We got some easy opportunities going into the paint and we didn't finish. We didn't execute any of our plays, really."
The Cougars only trailed by 12 when they had the ball under Hoosic Valley's basket with 1.8 seconds to go, but Rooney stole the pass and his 3 sent the Cougars reeling into halftime.
"It's a backbreaker and it's a learning experience for the younger guys," Schoff said. "Some of the guys that have witnessed that will know now with 1.8 seconds left on the clock, you throw the ball long."
The Indians (19-2 overall) will move onto the Section II Class C championship game at 3:45 p.m. Saturday at the Glens Falls Civic Center against No. 2 Lake George, which routed No. 3 Greenwich, 51-37, in the other semifinal.
The Cougars (17-4 overall) head into the offseason with their fourth loss of the season, but Schoff said the team has exceeded his expectations for his first year as coach.
Canajoharie will lose seniors Bowerman, Shannon, Karl Gustafson, Nick Taylor and Ben Kane. Starters Veeder, Gonzalez and Zach Folts will be back for another shot at a sectional title.
"It was the most fun year I've ever had in basketball," Bowerman said. "People didn't expect us to get this far. We're one team. We're 14 players but we're one unit and that got us this far. It was a fun year."
Section II Class C Semifinals
Lake George 57, Greenwich 31
GLENS FALLS - Joel Wincowski scored a game-high 27 points as No. 2 Lake George routed No. 3 Greenwich.
Connor McCoy and Ethan Wincowski added 10 points each for the Warriors (19-2 overall).
Colin Oswald led Greenwich (15-6 overall) with 13 points.
Section II Class C Semifinals
Hoosic Valley 55, Canajoharie 30
Canajoharie10 2 9 9 - 30
Hoosic Valley14 13 16 12 - 55
Bowerman 4-3-13, Sala 1-1-3, Veeder 2-3-7, Kane 0-4-4, Gonzalez 1-1-3. Totals: 8-12-30.
Schoonmaker 1-0-2, Sawyer 3-0-9, Gillespie 0-1-1, Ross-Hixson 3-3-8, Rooney 7-5-20, Acker 2-0-4, Pierre 3-4-10. Totals: 19-13-55.
3-point goals: Canajoharie 2 (Bowerman 2); Hoosic Valley 4 (Sawyer 3, Rooney).
Lake George 57, Greenwich 31
Greenwich6 16 6 3 - 31
Lake George13 7 27 10 - 57
Carruthers 3-2-8, Oswald 5-0-10, Winch 2-0-4, Barnes 1-2-4, Scott 1-0-2. Totals: 12-4-31.
Brown 2-0-4, J. Wincowski 10-4-27, Zibro 1-0-2, McCoy 2-5-10, Rosenthal 2-1-4. E. Wincowski 4-1-10. Totals: 20-11-57.
3-point goals: Greenwich 3 (Oswald 3); Lake George 6 (J. Wincowski 3, McCoy, Rosenthal, E. Wincowski).