Caleb Maisonville of Schroon Lake and Sam Napper of Westport battle for a rebound.
When faced with their first deficit of the night at the end of the third quarter, the second-seeded Westport Eagles went to work to ensure their spot in the Section VII/Class D championship game.
Westport (15-5), trailing 31-29 entering the final eight minutes, scored the first four points of the quarter and went on a 12-3 run that spanned the first six minutes in scoring a 48-41 win Feb. 26.
John Doyle paced the Eagles offense with 24 points, 16 of them coming in the second half.
While Doyle paced the team late, Sam Napper started strong in the post, grabbing eight of his 11 rebounds over the first 16 minutes as he added 16 points to the cause.
“We were able to work the ball around to the open guy and make some smart decisions on offense,” Napper said. “We had two close games against Schroon Lake last year that we lost and we wanted to come here and show these guys we can play.”
“We have a full team where guys step up to the plate when they are needed to,” Eagles head coach Ike Tyler said. “Ryan Davis and Anderson Gay did not have big scoring nights, so John and Sam stepped up.”
While Davis only accounted for three points, he did play big on the defensive end with 13 rebounds, three steals and three blocked shots to go with five assists offensively.
“We had been working on our defense all week and we played tough tonight,” Davis said. “Coach (John) Konowitz came down and worked with us and it really helped out.”
“It was a total domination on the defensive side of the ball,” Tyler said. “We worked a 2-3 zone in practice and our kids felt comfortable with it so we tried it out in the game and it worked well.”
Gay added five points and four rebounds for Westport, while Thomas Mero had four rebounds and three assists in the win.
For Schroon Lake, Tanner Stone scored 16 points while Joe Maisonville added 11 points and eight rebounds. Caleb Maisonville scored seven points to go with seven rebounds, while Alex Shaughnessy scored four points.
The Eagles will next face Moriah, who scored a 60-39 win against Keene in the second semifinal game.
“Our plan is going to be the same thing that it has been all season: defense, defense, rebounding and more defense,” Tyler said.
The top-seeded Vikings jumped out to a 12-7 first quarter lead against the Beavers and continued to expand their lead over the remaining three quarters, leading by as much as 22 in the final quarter.
“They were able to put the ball inside with success and that got Brandon Dumas into foul trouble,” Keene head coach Chad Lopez said after the game. “We did not shoot the ball great. In the first half, they would not fall and in the second half we rushed everything.”
Colton Venner poured in 20 points to go with 10 rebounds, while Austin Brown scored 13 points and had four steals. Gabe Warner scored three points with Justin Haverlick scoring 2 and Seungyeol Ko 1. While not scoring, Jesse Summo had 12 rebounds, seven on the offensive end.
For the Beavers, this marked a milestone for a program two years back from three years of extinction and that was 0-13 with three games remaining in the 2012-13 season.
“I am very proud of these guys from 1-10,” Lopez said. “We worked hard in the offseason and got our feet under us early and played well. Every game they fought and gave 110 percent — and that is all you can ask for as a coach.”
For Moriah, Adam Jaquish scored 17 points to go with 14 rebounds. His most impressive deuce came in the fourth quarter on an alley-oop dunk with the assist going to Taylor Slattery, who ended with seven points and five helpers.
Noah Gilbo added 14 points, while Jarrod MacDougal added 11 points and five rebounds.Y