PLATTSBURGH - The Patriots stunned many with a 54-53 win against Peru last week to advance to the Section VII Class B boys basketball finals against Plattsburgh High, but another AuSable Valley upset was not to be.
Plattsburgh's big second quarter dashed the Patriots' bid for their first title since moving up to Class B as the Hornets went on to win 65-54 at the SUNY Plattsburgh Fieldhouse March 6.
"Nobody expected us to be here," said AuSable Valley head coach Jamie Douglass, noting a good match-up between two teams known for speed and athleticism.
Despite falling to the Hornets 67-52 in their only regular season meeting, AuSable Valley showed early in the game that they were not to be taken lightly, erasing what had been a six-point Plattsburgh lead in the first quarter and building a 20-15 lead of their own early in the second. TJ Burl scored 11 of his 13 points in the first half, adding 11 rebounds.
But the tables soon turned as Plattsburgh opened up a 15-0 run, taking advantage of fastbreaks against a Patriot backcourt suddenly missing a foul-plagued Jordan Coolidge.
"We had some spots where there were some mismatches created with their speed," explained Douglass. "I couldn't stop the bleeding."
Tre Bucci and Kyle LaPoint combined for 13 points in the second as the Hornets built a 10-point lead that would grow to 16 by the end of the third. They would finish with 17 and 16 points, respectively, for Plattsburgh.
The Hornets would continue to hamper AuSable Valley on the offensive end. Despite several layup and free throw attempts, the Patriots struggled to put the ball in the hoop. They finished 9-of-20 from the line as a team.
"It just came down to foul shots and converting those layups," said Douglass.
Brody Douglass led the charge for AuSable Valley with 16 of his team-high 20 points in the fourth quarter, and would also finish with 11 rebounds. His 3-pointer with just over a minute left cut the Hornets' lead to six, but it would be as close as the Patriots would get.