Clymer coach Irvin King said his team was willing to let Andy Marchand fire deep three-point shots a few steps beyond the arc.
Well, Marchand took them. And he hit them. Again and again and again.
Marchand hit six three-pointers during a 20-point first half to lead C.G. Finney to a 61-34 rout of Clymer in Friday night's Class D Far West Regionals. An estimated 1,000 fans, including a loud contingent supporting the private Christian school from the Rochester suburb of Penfield, watched Marchand finish with 24 points as Finney (23-3) advanced to the state final four for the first time in school history.
"We banked on the fact that Marchand wasn't going to be that hot and hit that many," said King. "I don't know what else he should have done."
Marchand, a 5-foot-8 junior guard, calmly swished high-arcing threes from NBA range. He hit four threes in the first quarter, including one in the final seconds to give Finney a 21-16 lead. He added two more for a 29-17 lead, which Finney extended to 35-21 at halftime, and also had several long, no-look passes to set up his teammates for baskets.
"I've been taking shots like that all year," said Marchand. "If I feel I can make the shot, I'm going to take it, no matter how far it is from the basket."
Chris Verosky (10 points) hit a three-pointer at the third-quarter buzzer as the Falcons had a 47-27 lead.
Clymer (19-4) had a significant size advantage by starting three players 6-3 or taller, including 6-3 junior Alex Lictus (who had 16 points in the sectional title game against Sherman). But Finney dampered it by packing in a zone on the Pirates.
Clymer was led by junior guard Tyler Bailey's 12 points while Lictus had nine, but six of those came in the first quarter.
"When we went cold in the second quarter, and [Marchand] was that hot," said King, "we were in trouble."
Finney players wore T-shirts with "Soesters 20" on the back in honor of Alex Soesters, a German exchange student who played basketball and soccer before he died in an bicycling accident in his native Europe last summer.
"As soon as they found out he passed away, they decided that they would dedicate the season to their fallen friend," said coach Joe Marchand, Andy's father. "Every huddle they broke all year long wasn't '1-2-3 intensity' or '1-2-3 win,' it was '1-2-3 Alex.' "