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Monday, March 26, 2018: Park School beats Albany Academy at the buzzer

   Leading off today: Noah Hutchins' buzzer-beating layup gave Park School a 59-57 victory over two-time defending champion Albany Academy on Sunday for the Federation boys Class A crown at Cool Insuring Arena in Glens Falls.

   After Albany Academy tied on Andre Jackson's free throw with 20.1 seconds to play, Hutchins brought the ball down the court and put up a straight-on 3-point attempt with :05 to go. The rebound came out to Hutchins' right, where the junior guard gathered the ball, drove the baseline and released. The ball went through to complete a comeback from five points down with 1:48 to go.

   Hutchins (who also had eight rebounds and four assists) finished with 19 points in the second half and 24 overall. He combined with junior Dan Scott (20 points overall) to account for 31 of the Pioneers' 35 points after halftime -- with Hutchins bagging the final nine.

   Not insignificantly, the game-winning play came as Park eschewed the use of a timeout to set up a play after Jackson's free throws had knotted the game.

   "Coach was going to call timeout," Hutchins said. "Once I crossed half-court I said, 'Coach I've got this.' We've been practicing for this."



   "That's what a great leader does," first-year coach Rich Jacob said. "We're fortunate to have a no-quit attitude. You always have to play to the final buzzer. Noah did take charge with his great confidence. To get that follow up basket to win it is flat-out hustle."

   August Mahoney paced Albany Academy with 26 points.

   Boys Class B final: Fannie Lou Hamer rattled off the contest's final 13 points and defeated Mekeel Christian 74-62.

   Down by 14 points early in the third quarter and nine early in the fourth, Mekeel took a 62-61 lead with 3:25 left on a layup by Gideon Agbo.

   "It's irritating, honestly," Fannie Lou Hamer senior Charles Davis (19 points) said of Mekeel's persistence. "They're a really good team. We knew they'd come to fight."

   Anthony Rose (14 points) gave Fannie Lou Hamer a 63-62 lead with a layup, the Panthers' Tyree Morris (23 points) made two free throws, Rose scored again and the Jaquan Mack connected on a 3-pointer.

   Fannie Lou Hamer shot 26 of 43 (60.5 percent) from the field.

   "We came back and got up by one, and they made another tough shot," Mekeel senior Jordan Jackson (29 points) said. "Coach told us to keep fighting, and we did, and they just executed."

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   Girls Class B final: Susquehanna Valley blew out Bronx Aquinas 72-28 as senior guard Trinasia Kennedy led the way with 18 points.

   Point guard Holly Manchester and Alexis Drake scored 16 apiece and Hannah Haskell finished with 10.

   "I don't think we were anticipating winning by that much at all," Manchester said. "I think we were confident we'd be able to win but we did a really good job of not underestimating that team and knowing that we had to play the way we can play."

   Defensively, Susquehanna Valley forced 20 turnovers and limited Aquinas to 10-for-43 (23.3 percent) shooting.

   "I have shooters, but we couldn't even get shots off because of their size," Aquinas coach Roger Collier said.

   Hall of Fame inductions: The Basketball Coaches Association of New York welcomed nine new members to its hall of fame during a ceremony Sunday.

  • James Colligan, who won 388 games in 33 seasons with Carle Place (Section 8) and served as president of the Nassau Country Boys Basketball Coaches Association.

  • Terry Feeley, who has won over 300 games as well as six sectional championships at Spackenkill (Section 9) and John Jay East Fishkill (Section 1).

  • Robert Gravelle, who has won more than 350 games, eight sectional titles and a NYSPHSAA boys championship at S.S. Seward. where he is also an athletic director.

  • Michael Junsch, who piled up 673 wins coaching boys for 16 seasons and girls for 20 (his current role) at Poly Prep, picking up seven Association of Independent Schools state titles.

  • Kenneth Kern, a 300-game winner before retiring after 29 years at Fort Hamilton in the Public School Athletic League.

  
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  • Stephen Kmack, retired from St. Lawrence and Potsdam after 373 wins and eights Section 10 boys championships in 23 seasons.

  • Bob McKenney, who won 145 games in Vermont and has tacked on more than 400 since at Jamesville-DeWitt, where he won five NYSPHSAA titles, and now at Bishop Grimes.

  • Henry Sassone, who rolled up 414 victories at 35 years at Noth Salem, where he won four sectional titles and has played a major administrative role in Section 1 basketball.

  • Denny Seitz, who amassed 472 wins in a 35-year career coaching boys at Newfane, Williamsville North, Indian River and Morristown.

   As always, the acceptance speeches were wonderful, and one of the highlights was a beautiful tribute to her late husband (whose players included Bernard and Albert King) by Lillian Kern, who drew a heartfelt standing ovation.

   McKenney easily had the day's most memorable line, poking fun at the guideline asking the inductees to keep their remarks relatively brief.

   "I've been fired twice. I've been divorced twice," he said. "You think I'm worried about a five-minute time limit."

   On a more serious note, McKenney also called for protections for coaches' jobs, including perhaps union representation. I think more than a few of us would have considered it preposterous 20 years ago. It's now approaching 'necessity' territory."

   More later: Long Island Lutheran boys basketball coach John Buck tweeted some interested stuff Sunday in the aftermath of the huge controversy over the Federation boys Class AA semifinals Friday night -- and I don't think it got as much attention as it deserved.

   I talked to him this morning and will be writing more extensively later today.

   The outcome of the game isn't going to change, but someone in charge of the tournament owes LuHi an apology.


  
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