Willsboro's Clay Sherman goes up to block the shot of Hunter Mowery of Elizabethtown Lewis during the Section VII/Class D semifinals Feb. 29.
In a first half of runs, the Willsboro Warriors made the key push toward the end of the second quarter to score a 29-20 halftime lead en route to a 47-33 win in the Section VII/Class D semifinals Feb. 29.
The Warriors used an 11-2 run to end the opening half, after starting the game on a 14-2 run. The Lions had rebounded to tie the game at 16-16 and 18-18 before the Warriors push.
“There was a timeout called just before the run and I told them that we needed to get back to basics,” Warrior head coach Jim Spring said. “We needed to play good defense.”
“It was better to get that early lead, because we felt comfortable and were able to respond when they tied the game,” Clayton Cross, who continued his strong sectional performance with a 20 points effort, said. “We started on a run, and we knew when they tied it up that we needed to end the half on a big run.”
“We were knocking down shots to get a big lead to start, but they were able to answer that run,” Clay Sherman, who scored 10 points to go with five rebounds, five assists and three steals, said. “We had to lock in on defense and we were able to make another run.”
Brandon Porter added eight points and four rebounds, while Nick Arnold scored four points to go with seven rebounds, Dakota Sayward added three points and six rebounds, Brandon Bertrand scored two points to go with four rebounds in limited action due to a knee injury, and Cody Sayward added five rebounds.
Spring said that Cross has picked up his game since the injury to Bertrand, which has limited his time on the floor.
“Clayton has stepped up his game tremendously,” Spring said.
“Clayton and Brandon Porter have been great options on offense,” Sherman said. “We are confident that if we get them the ball in space, they are going to knock the shots down.”
“I just think that we are playing really well as a team right now,” Cross said. “These last five games have been incredible.”
The Warriors will face the Schroon Lake Wildcats in the Section VII/Class D final, a team that they beat in the Mountain and Valley Athletic Conference regular season finale with the injured Bertrand. The game is scheduled to tip at noon on Saturday, March 2.
“We’re not changing anything,” Spring said. “We are going to practice the way that we do and prepare to stop Jesse Shaughnessy and Ian Williams. Since our loss to Elizabethtown-Lewis in the regular season, we have really been playing at a different level.”
“We wanted that last game against Schroon Lake, and we have played really hard to get another chance to face them,” Cross said.
“We are going to work hard on our defense and make sure we focus on Jesse and Ian,” Sherman said.
Williams had a career night for the Wildcats, scoring 27 points. Shaughnessy, meanwhile, recorded his third triple-double of the season, combining 18 points with 14 rebounds, 11 assists and five steals. Uriah Harvey and Noah Gath each scored six points, while Matt Filler scored four points. Jeff Armstrong, Robert Rose and Caleb Maisonville each scored two points.
More photos from the game will be available later in the day Thursday, March 1.