Tuckahoe advances to NYS finals
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GLENS FALLS, N.Y. - No team went into the season talking so openly about goals so high as much as Tuckahoe did back in November.
And the Tigers are 32 minutes away from achieving every single of them.
Tuckahoe protected its flawless record and secured a berth in the the state title game by rallying past Mechanicville 80-73 in Fridays New York State Class C semifinal at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
"This is an incredible feeling," Tuckahoe senior Sky Williams said. "We've been talking about this all season. We need to win one more and our goals are complete. The journey is over."
Williams had a team-high 28 points as he the Tigers (24-0) overcame serious foul trouble and booked a spot in the title game against OTC Middle College at 7:15 p.m.
With Williams and Justin Nolan both getting three fouls before halftime, the Tigers couldn't get in a rhythm with the ball. They trailed for part of it and looked in trouble when Williams went to the bench with his third with 4:23 until halftime.
But Tuckahoe responded, scoring seven straight to reclaim the lead. Mark Raymond (seven points, eight rebounds) and Shyheim Nixon (13 points, 10 rebounds and five assists) carried Tuckahoe before Tyler Freire's jumper beat the buzzer to put the Tigers up 29-27 at the break.
"We just had to keep things together there," said Freire, who had 11 points and three assists. "Sky and Justin had three fouls. We knew we had to get them in a rhythm when they came back in the second half and we did."
The Tigers opened the third with. 10-2 run to put the lead to double digits. Mechanicville, behind guard Jordan McBride's 37-point effort, got within four a few times but couldn't close the gap.
"The best thing about Sky is that, he's the leading scorer in Section 1, but he's so good at getting his teammates involved," Tigers coach Al Visconti said. "We don't get to this point without everybody making major contributions."
Williams had nine points in the fourth and Nixon closed it out, going 9 for 9 from the foul line including some keys ones late.
Nolan had 13 points and three rebounds despite siting a significant amount of time with fouls. Nick Reisman and Kayvon Reid each gave pivotal minutes off the bench.
Tuckahoe will face a strong, athletic OTC Middle College. Tuckahoe, which won state football and baseball titles last school year, is searching for its first state crown since 1982.
The Tigers are Section 1's highest scoring team, one of two unbeatens left on the boys side, and have an impressive resume of victories over quality Class AA, A and B programs.
All that's missing is a state title.
"We've worked really hard to get to this point, to win a state championship," Freire said "Now we just have to go out and take care of business. We're ready."
Reach Kevin Devaney Jr at email@example.com