After winning the Section III Championship and then their State Regional Final, five Section III teams tried to advance to the State Finals this weekend.
The Bishop Ludden boys had one of the most intriguing stories going into their State Semifinal matchup, as they were trying to follow last season's Class B State Championship with a Class A State Championship this season. Their road started with a 57-44 victory over New Hartford to win the Class A Section III Championship. They followed that win with a 58-53 win over Section II Scotia-Glenville to make it to Glens Falls. But, Ludden ran into a fast, athletic team in Buffalo-McKinely from Section VI in their semifinal matchup. After winning the first quarter 19-13, Buffalo-McKinley took the lead in the second quarter and never looked back with a 75-61 win, ending Ludden's run. The Gaelic Knights finish at 20-3 on the season.
A bright spot for Bishop Ludden will be Pat Donnelly's induction to the New York State Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame on Sunday, March 17th. Coach Donnelly has won two State Championships, 15 League Championships and nine Section III Championships. He was also selected as a member of The Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame this year.
The Cicero-North Syracuse girls basketball team started their second straight State Final Four run (this time without standout Breanna Stewart) with a 60-31 win over Corcoran to win the Section III title. A two point 51-49 win over Section II Albany powered the North Stars into the State Final Four. But, Gates-Chili from Section V shot the lights out, defeating the North Stars 58-47. C-NS finished with a 19-4 record.
The Westhill boys basketball team first defeated Skaneateles 63-51 to win the Class B Section III Championship, followed by a narrow one-point victory over Norwich of Section IV. In the State Semifinals in Glens Falls, the Warriors held a 37-24 halftime lead, but Babylon's Fernando Vasquez scored 40 points, to lead his squad to a 67-57 victory over Westhill. The Warriors finish with a 20-3 record.
The boys New York Mills team first won the Class D Section III Championship over Cincinnatus 60-35, and then won their regional over Section IV winner Marathon 70-57. The Michael Adey coached team could not do the same against Section II Argyle in Glens Falls on Friday, losing 67-60. New York Mills finished with a 20-4 record, while also getting longtime coach Michael Adey's 300th win in the process.
The Oriskany girls basketball team started their run by defeating New York Mills 40-37 to win the Section III Class D Championship. The squad then defeated Franklin to advance to the State Final Four. Oriskany was the only successful Section III team in the State Semifinals, pounding Livingston Manor 46-31. Oriskany now plays Batavia-Notre Dame for the Class D State Championship on March 17th at noon.