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Sunday, March 25, 2018: Stepinac, Baldwin, J-D grab Federation titles

   Leading off today: Archbishop Stepinac unleashed a barrage of 3-point baskets in the first half and defeated South Shore 88-76 in the Federation boys Class AA basketball final at Cool Insuring Arena in Glens Falls on Saturday.

   They hit 11 first-half 3-pointers on their way to 14 of 26 accuracy for the night beyond the arc. The Crusaders also connected on 24 of 27 free throws, finishing the two-game tournament 49-for-53 at the line.

   "We just wanted to come out here and make a statement that we were the top team in New York state," sophomore R.J. Davis said. "I'm pretty sure we proved that."

   The Crusaders got a 28-point, 16-rebound performance from Illinois-bound senior Alan Griffin. Davis wasn't far behind with Davis 25 points and seven rebounds, and Adrian Griffin Jr. chipped in with 16 points.

   Alan Griffin finished 5-for-9 on 3-pointers, including two in a row later in the first quarter to help build what would become a 44-34 advantage at the half. He connected twice more late in the third quarter and the lead grew to 69-46 -- too much for South Shore to overcome despite a run in the fourth quarter.

   "We knew what we were capable of doing," Alan Griffin said. "We knew we could get here and win it all. It's great to know that we'll go down as one of the best to ever play at Stepinac."

   The victory completed an impressive sports double two-thirds of the way through the school year for Stepinac. The football season ended with a 49-28 triumph against Canisius to cap a 10-2 season and capture the CHSAA state championship.

   Baldwin topples national No. 1: Kaia Harrison finished with 15 points and five assists as Baldwin pulled off a 58-49 win over Christ The King in the girls Class AA championship game.

   Aziah Hudson and Jenna Annecchiarico added 14 points apiece.

   Previously unbeaten Christ the King had been ranked No. 1 in the country by USA Today.

   After trailing by as many as six points in the first half, Baldwin took the lead on Harrison's runner in the paint and finished the third quarter on an 8-0 run for a 42-35 lead.

   Christ the King pulled within 46-45 on Natalija Marshall's putback, but Baldwin closed on a 12-4 run to wrap up the victory.

   "This is a legendary win for us," Bruins coach Tom Catapano said. "It takes a village, man, and you saw that tonight. This community, these kids, these parents, everybody wanted this, and it's a magical night for a magical group and a magical community."

   Added Harrison: "I feel like we all left a legacy in Baldwin, and I just feel like ... I can't even describe it."

   J-D girls break through: Senior Meg Hair scored a game-high 15 points and freshman Momoka LaClair dropped in the winning basket in the waning center as Jamesville-DeWitt made its third straight trip to the Federation tournament a successful one with a 42-21 win over James Madison for the girls Class A title.

   Madison was leading 41-40 and had possession when J-D's Kasey Vaughn drew a charging call to give the Red Rams the ball with :28 to play.


   LaClair hit a soft runner in the paint for the lead and Madison never got a decent look at the rim after inbounding from midcourt with :06 to play.

   "The play of the game was Kasey Vaughan taking that charge," coach Rob Seichen said. "That was huge. It gave us the ball back."

   J-D's last two seasons had ended with Federation losses to Staten Island Academy.

   Boys Class A semifinals: August Mahoney scored 24 of his game-high 31 points in the first half of Albany Academy's 83-61 win over Brooklyn Law & Technology.

   The Cadets shot 64 percent in the first half of their first

game in nearly a month, and Mahoney made all six of his 3-point attempts in the opening 16 minutes.

   "It was just one of those days where it felt that anything I was putting up was going in," the junior said. "We were worried about rust because we hadn't played a game but right when we went out there I knew I'd be ready."

   The Cadets didn't shut down Larry Moreno, but they did limit the 2,000-point career scorer to 17 points on 7-for-17 shooting.

   The other semifinal saw Park School dismantle Amityville 86-61.

   Junior Daniel Scott scored 11 of his game-high 22 points during the third quarter. Teammate Julian Eziukwu added 16 points and nine rebounds.

   With Park ahead 43-38 early in the third quarter, the Pioneers went on a 16-0 run to close the period. Scott's 3-pointer with 3:29 left made it 46-38, sophomore John Orogun (eight points, 11 rebounds) cashed in a three-point play and Scott tacked on two more 3-pointers and a bucket off a drive to the rim.

   Boys Class B semifinals: Charles Davis had 16 points and eight rebounds as Fannie Lou Hamer edged Lawrence Woodmere Academy 42-39. Frankie Williams added 12 points and 10 rebounds.

   Lawrence Woodmere was playing its first game since Feb. 25.

   It closed a five-point gap to 40-39 with 2:20 left, but Davis got inside for the games final bucket with :08 to go.

   Aidan Igiehon scored 16 points in a losing cause.

   Mekeel Christian started with a 12-0 burst, tacked on a 13-0 run and flew past Regis 76-50.

   Senior Jordan Jackson scored 22 points on 9-for-12 shooting to lead the way. The Lions shot 57 percent in the first half and 53 percent (27 of 51) for the game.

   "We came out with a full head of steam," Jackson said. "Everyone was playing great defense. Our passing was great. We were finishing. That was Mekeel basketball."

   More reading: We blogged Saturday on the aftermath of Archbishop Stepinac's win over Long Island Lutheran on Friday with the help of a controversial technical foul.

   There were more developments as Day of the tournament kicked off, with Long Island Lutheran unsuccessfully protesting the outcome and the team staged a protest on the court between the first two games of the morning.

   You can catch up on the developments here.

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