I'm going to be perfectly honest with you. I have not watched a high school basketball game live and in person since 2005.....before tonight. I went up to the Civic Center, one of the greatest atmosphere's there is to watch a high school basketball game by the way, and watched both Class C semifinal games. I have never professed to be a x's and o's guy which is why I stick mostly to math, but there are a number of things I took away from the games that the scores didn't indicate.
The first thing is that, while the scores were almost identical, Lake George won 57-31 and Hoosic Valley won 55-30, that is where the similarities stopped. Lake George actually trailed in their game by 2 points at half time. They broke it open in the third quarter with some "show me" full court pressure. As I've said, I'm no master tactician, but I played at the JV level, kept stats for the Varsity team in my Junior year, watched almost every game my Senior year and have seen dozens of games between my graduation and 2005 (if you haven't guessed, I went to a C school). The best full court press I've ever seen was the 1995-1996 Mechanicville team. Lake George's was not even remotely close. They may have a better one, but they certainly didn't show it or need it tonight. Greenwich had very little in terms of ball handlers and it didn't help that they couldn't make a shot, but the minute they felt that limited full court pressure they became extremely sloppy with the ball and mostly folded like a wet paper towel. It was not an effort I'm accustomed to seeing from a quality Wasaren League team. Another thing I noticed was that neither team made any substitutions that I noticed until the fourth quarter, literally, not one. Only ten guys played the first 24 plus minutes.
In the other game Hoosic Valley basically dominated from the outset. Within the first 2 minutes Canajoharie took the ball to the basket and were blocked 2 or 3 times (I don't recall seeing one in the Lake George-Greenwich game). From that point on, all the dribble drives resulted in wild underhanded flings to the basket obviously aware of what was waiting for them. Hoosic Valley plays a tough man to man defense and has under Calhoun for a long time. They were also able to break Canajoharie's press with relative ease. The first time Canjo applied pressure, there were three passes down the floor and J.T. Sawyer drilled a 3 from the corner. The press stopped and wasn't used again until late in the game.
My take away from these two games is that Hoosic Valley has the best two overall players of the four teams that played tonight and while Joel Wincowski may be the best pure shooter, Hoosic Valley as a whole is taller, faster, stronger and deeper (if only slightly, they played 7 guys) than Greenwich and should present him with a much tougher night. In fact, the speed difference between the first game with Lake George and the second game with Hoosic Valley was startling and I'm still a little amazed by it. One thing I love about watching sectionals is you get to watch the games featuring teams that will play each other in the next round and judge for yourself who is better. To me it was clear, Hoosic Valley is the favorite and if they play even half as well as they played tonight, they should easily be the C Champions. It's late and I'm tired, but if I remember any other important details when I'm thinking more clearly tomorrow, I'll let you know.