CLINTONVILLE - Ticonderoga held off a late comeback by AuSable Valley to clinch the Division II title with a 63-59 overtime win in CVAC boys basketball Feb. 12.
The Patriots came in just a game behind Ticonderoga in the division, having already lost to the Sentinels once this season. An AuSable Valley win would have split the series between the two teams and left them tied for the best record in Division II.
Trailing by as much as seven throughout the first three quarters, the Patriots tied the score 43-43 halfway through the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer by Matt Hamilton.
With 47 seconds left and the score still tied, AuSable Valley's T.J. Burl hit a 20-footer to put the upset-minded Patriots up 52-49.
"Our kids came back when they could have just rolled over and given up," said AuSable Valley head coach Jamie Douglass. "When T.J. hit that shot, the whole team just got elated."
Still down by three with time running out, Sentinels swingman Josh Demarais connected on a buzzer-beating shot from the corner to send the game into overtime.
"You've got to hand it to Demarais," Douglass. "He put up a big time shot for them and got it to fall."
Ticonderoga was able to rely on their superior size in the extra period, scoring and rebounding well in the low post. Jake Taylor grabbed some crucial offensive boards in the final minute to keep the Patriots from mounting another comeback.
"Our rebounding helped us early and at the end," said Ticonderoga head coach Dan Dorsett.
Jake Kelly led the scoring for the Sentinels with 14 points. Demarais finished with 13 points and Taylor added 12. Jesse Clark notched a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
"Jesse Clark was big on the boards for us," said Dorsett. "He had a lot of guys on him, but kept his composure."
Ricky Lee pitched in a game-high 16 for the Patriots while Burl had 13 points to go along with 12 rebounds. Jordan Coolidge hit three 3-pointers to finish with nine, and Hamilton added nine points and four assists.
"Our guys just had so much effort," said Douglass, praising the Patriots' defense. "They left it all out on the floor."
"Both teams played really well," said Dorsett. "We're big and they're quick, so it was a tough match-up for both teams."