February 19, 2014
As the sectional basketball tournaments got underway with AuSable Valley’s 70-33 win against Saranac Lake last night, we wanted to take a look at what games would be the most anticipated in the playoffs. What we are going to look at is quality of teams involved, round the game will be played in, past history between the squads as well as the results from the current season.
Here’s our top 10:
10. Elizabethtown-Lewis v. Westport boys: This is a potential Saturday Class D quarterfinal if the Lions handle their business at home against Johnsburg today. For no other reason, this is just a class MVAC rivalry game where anything can happen despite the seedings if the Eagles are not careful.
9. Northeastern Clinton v. AuSable Valley boys: This Class B semifinal between the Patriots and Cougars could be a classic defensive struggle, as shown by their last meeting, a 34-30 win for the Patriots.
8. Willsboro at Keene boys: two of the best scorers in the Valley will match up in this Class D quarterfinal Saturday, as Colton Venner leads Keene with 222 points scored while Nick Arnold leads Willsboro and is tied for the Valley lead with 242 points. Over the past four games, Arnold has averaged nearly 20 per, including 28 against Westport and 27 against Johnsburg two nights later.
7. Keene v. Elizabethtown-Lewis girls: The Lady Lions would hold a 2-0 edge heading into the third meeting between these two teams in a potential Class D semifinal next Tuesday. The saying goes, “it’s tough to beat a good team three times,” and Keene is indeed a good team led by Freshman point guard Hanna Whitney and the interior play of Naomi Peduzzi and Tucker Geiger. The Lady Lions, however, are led by Valley leading scorers Lily Whalen and Jasmin Barnes, who are looking to defend their sectional title of a year ago.
6. Schroon Lake v. Westport boys: It would be a battle of the Division III champ and the Division II runner-up in the Class D semifinals next Wednesday, with the Wildcats wanting to prove they deserved the second seed over the Eagles. Westport will bring the improving play of Anderson Gay along with a balanced scoring attack into the game in hopes of getting a potential round three against Moriah.
5. AuSable Valley v. Saranac girls: This game flip-flopped in seedings in the final game of the year for both teams and will be played as a Class B semifinal Friday. While the Patriots swept the regular season series against the Chiefs, Saranac has a win against top seed Beekmantown and the above saying on their side. It is also a battle of the last two teams to go to the NYSPHSAA Final Four in Troy from Section VII (Saranac in 2012 - Class B; AVCS in 2013 - Class C).
Now, onto the finals
4. Elizabethtown-Lewis v. Moriah girls: The Lions held an eight point lead with six minutes to go against Moriah last week but were unable to close out, suffering a loss to the Vikings. Round three would be for the Class D title at the Plattsburgh State Fieldhouse and a rematch of the 2013 final, which ELCS won.
3. AuSable Valley v. Beekmantown girls: If the two teams meet for the Class B title, it will give the Patriots the chance to knock off the Eagles for the first time in three meetings in 2013-14. It will be a battle of AuSable’s backcourt against Beekmantown’s frontcourt as the two main candidates for Division I MVP, juniors Meghan Strong and Shannon Ryan, meet up one more time.
2. Westport v. Moriah boys: Triple overtime, two-point game. That is the way the first two meetings between the Eagles and Vikings went this year. The teams are separated by just three points with Moriah winning both meetings, including the triple overtime thriller in the PSUC Fieldhouse to start the 2013-14 campaign. This Class D final would be a nice undercard bout before the main event, which we hope is...
1. AuSable Valley v. Plattsburgh High boys: Not to sound like Stefon from Saturday Night Live, but this game has everything - the best two point guards in Section VII, running the floor, shutdown defense, back-and-forth quarters, unexpected scoring options, physical play, heated rivalry and the Class B title on the line. Also, there is no, “third times the charm,” here, because both teams did what they were supposed to do and won on their home courts. This is our most anticipated matchup of the Section VII sectionals, should it take place.