Adam Jaquish lines up a free throw for the Moriah Vikings in the Class D semifinals against the Elizabethtown-Lewis Lions.
The Moriah Vikings used a 29-7 first half to punch their ticket to the Section VII/Class D finals with a 48-33 win over the Elizbabethtown-Lewis Lions Feb. 28 at AuSable Valley High School.
The Vikings used tough defense and an advantage on the boards to pull out to a large first half lead, as Adam Jaquish had 14 rebounds and seven blocked shots while Derek Brassard had 12 rebounds and Jessup Calkins had three steals.
"We were looking to push the tempo and crash the boards," Jaquish, who finished with a team-high 15 points, said.
"We needed to show up on the boards if we wanted to win, and it feels good to make it to the finals," Brassard (five points) said.
"We hit the boards good in the first half and played solid defense," head coach Brian Cross said. "We gave them only one shot and then got the rebound in that half. We knew that it was not going to be easy and they played hard until the end of the game."
Calkins scored 10 points for the Vikings, while Brian Mauran scored four, Tyler Pratt scored three, Ryan Shpur scored two and Dakota Marcotte added two. Jaquish led the team with three assists.
For the Lions, Charlie Huttig finished with 20 points in his final game as a Lion.
"He is our leader," head coach Colby Pulsifer, who took the job late in the preseason. "It has been a blast this year. It is a fun group of kids to work with and they are good young men on and off the court. This season was a big success, and one game is not going to change that."
Justin LaPier scored seven points for the Lions, while Zac Noka-Bailey added four and Hugh Harwood scored two.
"Zac has improved leaps and bounds this season," Pulsifer said. "He is starting to mentally understand the game, and we have a lot of young athletes who are really starting to learn the game."
The second seeded Vikings will face the top seed Schroon Lake Wildcats in the Class D final March 2 at the Plattsburgh State Fieldhouse with a noon tip. The Wildcats are the third ranked team in the state of New York among Class D schools and beat the Vikings earlier in the season.
"We have to keep Jesse (Shaughnessy) off of the boards," Jaquish said about a game plan against the Wildcats.
"We are going to work on tightening up our defense and execute crisper on offense," Brassard said.
"It's going to be about what we have preached all year, and that is going to be defense," Cross said. "We know what Schroon Lake has, and they are a tough team to defense."