GLENS FALLS – The Dolan brothers added one more memory to the collection they’ve amassed as teammates over the years. Unfortunately for them and their Williamsville South teammates, it’s not the one that involves “We Are The Champions” blasting on the Glens Falls Civic Center sound system while they are all celebrating madly at center court.
The longest postseason run in Billies boys basketball history is over and it ended rather quickly at the New York State Public High Schools Athletic Association boys basketball tournament.
Section II champion and potential-state-champion-in-waiting Troy (19-5) saw to it Saturday morning before a crowd of an estimated 2,000. The Flying Horses shot lights out from the field pretty much throughout the game during their 78-39 victory over the Section VI champions in the Class A semifinal.
The Flying Horses will face VIII- Elmont at 1:30 p.m. Sunday for the state title. Elmont defeated I-Byram Hills, 50-48, in the other morning semifinal.
Jordan Buell’s trey just 1 minute, 20 seconds into the contest gave South 3-2 lead. That was the only time the Billies led in this one as Troy’s 2-3 zone defense slowed down a normally fast-starting South team, while the Flying Horses sizzled on offense. Darius Holmes-Hines scored five points and Ryan Carmello had two and an assist during a 9-1 run that allowed Troy to take the lead for good.
“I thought we were really well-prepared,” Billies coach Gabe Michael said. “Again, I told the guys, ‘Today is on me.’ Obviously, we didn’t prepare well enough or do the right things to get ready for this game. … Today was completely on me.”
“The loss wasn’t on coach,” said Graham Dolan, who led his team with 12 points. “Coach has done so much for us.”
No amount of preparation can beat a team that seemingly can’t miss.
Troy shot at a nearly 54-percent clip in the first half, canning 5-of-10 three-pointers, to take a 40-19 lead into the intermission. While the Flying Horses were making shots outside and inside against a defense that came in yielding around 50 points per game, South’s offense struggled against the 2-3 zone – making just 7 of 21 in the first half. For the game the Billies shot 26.5 percent, including 3 for 22 from three-point range.
“We saw them on tape a few times,” Troy coach Rich Hurley said. “We were really worried about their three-point shooting. We’ve been a great resilient team. I know they started out their sectional games fast. That was one of the things we talked about today. We couldn’t let them get on top of us. … That’s a very good team over there. They caught us on our best night.”
Sophomore Daniel Buie scored 13 of his 17 points in the first half for Troy while senior big man Jack McLaren had 16 points and 10 rebounds. Buie went 4 for 8 from beyond the arc as the Horses finished 9 for 18 from long range.
When sophomore point guard Greg Dolan (11 points, eight rebounds, four assists) hooked up on an alley-oop with older brother Graham (12 points) with 5:47 left, that simply reduced the deficit to 67-29 Troy. At least the two return home with a positive memory from their time on the court in Glens Falls.
“Just a great last memory to go out on,” Graham Dolan said. “It feels very nice.”
Though this wasn’t the ending South envisioned, it doesn’t change the fact these Billies, who finished 22-4, went further than any other squad before them in school history. That’s something they’ll never forget.
“It stinks to go out like this but we have to remember what we’ve accomplished and not let this define the whole season,” Greg Dolan said.