GLENS FALLS — In last week’s Far West Regional, Sherman hit 10 of 20 three-pointers in the first half to help it beat a private school to reach the Class D final four.
On Friday morning at the Glens Falls Civic Center, the Wildcats faced another private school, but their shooting performance couldn’t have been more different.
Sherman was 1 of 15 from three-point range in the first half and finished 5 of 23 for the game as its season ended one game short of its ultimate goal with a 65-51 loss to Coleman Catholic of downstate’s Ulster County in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class D semifinals.
An estimated 2,000 in the Civic Center, including several hundred clad in blue, white and gold from the tiny village tucked in the very southwest corner of the state, saw Sherman shoot 30.3 percent for the game (20 of 66) and fall behind by 28-21 at halftime.
“It was kind of like the Batavia Notre Dame coach said actually,” said Sherman coach Cory Emory of the team Sherman beat, 57-52, after taking a 20-point halftime lead in last week’s regional.
“You want to end when you’re playing well, and we just didn’t play our best game today. We played very hard, but we just didn’t hit shots that we normally hit … it’s a credit to their defense. We just didn’t play as well as they did today.”
Coleman Catholic increased its lead to double digits in the second half. Twice Sherman cut the margin to six, but Coleman always had a response. One time the lead went back to nine thanks to one of the seven three-pointers hit by senior Kevin Davis (7 for 11 threes, 23 points).
“We were getting the same looks – they just didn’t fall,” Emory said. “And because we shoot long shots, that led to them getting some runouts and easy baskets. We tried to claw our way back. Every time we would get a run – they would get a run or hit a big three. No. 22 for them would hit a big three to just kind of stick a dagger in our heart.”
Coleman Catholic (17-4), playing in its seventh final four in the last eight years, will play in its third championship game over that time (runner-up in 2010 and 2011) when it faces the state’s top-ranked team, New York Mills (22-1) of Utica, tonight at 5:30.
This is the second time that Emory’s team lost in Glens Falls to a private school; it lost to eventual champion Faith Heritage of Syracuse in the 2002 semifinals.
“You just have to play the games, but obviously from a person who lives in a town that doesn’t even have a stop light, you can see how we could see it as unfair that they could even be in the lowest classification,” Emory said. “My boys went out there and fought, but we got beat by a team that played better than us today.”
Senior Andrew Graham led Sherman with 13 points on 6-of-22 shooting, including 1 of 12 from three-point range, while junior Nathan Ottaway had 11 points.
Friday’s loss marked the end of a tremendous reign for Sherman’s seniors as Section VI’s top Class D team. The Wildcats won two straight sectional titles and this final four trip was the third in the school’s history (2000, 2002).
“The thing that I loved to hear, is that people just loved to watch them play,” Emory said. “Not about winning basketball games – just their style: the way that they would play fast, move the ball, be unselfish, and just be an enjoyable game to watch, win or lose.
“That’s what I’m going to miss, but I hope that’s what will carry down to my younger guys and future SCS hoopsters.”
Emory was particularly close to this year’s group, as senior Ryan Robson is his stepson. The team had eight seniors – others were starters Devin Moorehead and Ryan Myers, along with Trevor Gleason, Jordan Boland, Chris Greiner and Corie Alger.
“It’s been a great couple of years, and I’m real close with this group,” said Emory, holding back some significant emotions after his final postgame talk with this group. “That’s what makes it hard, because I’m obviously going to see them a lot and I’m not going to get to coach them again. That’s why we had a little heart-to-heart talk in there because I’m going to miss those guys like crazy.”