When St. Mary's coach Dan Gill walked into his team's locker room after its 56-49 Federation Class B semifinal loss to Collegiate, he didn't talk much about the game.
"I didn't even talk about the fight or the comeback," said third-year coach Gill. "I talked about what those three seniors did for this program. Those kids [Vince Kazmierczak, Joe Barnhardt, Joe Cellino] not only took a gamble not only on me but on St. Mary's, and between the three of them, they have 35 wins, two Catholic state titles and a top 10 state ranking, so I think that's something to hang their hat on."
Yale-bound senior Will Bartlett had 22 points, hitting 6 of 8 from the field and 11 of 15 at the free-throw line, as the two-time defending Federation champion Dutchmen staved off a St. Mary's rally Friday evening before an estimated 300 at the Glens Falls Civic Center. The Lancers (18-10) finished their season in the semifinals the last two years after winning state Catholic Class B titles.
"The program has come so far," said Kazmierczak, who had 14 points and seven rebounds and was named to the all-tournament team. "Before two years ago, the program wasn't that respectable. To come this far is something I'm really proud of."
Collegiate, a New York City private school and a representative of the Alliance of Independent Schools, had a 19-8 second quarter to give it a 30-18 lead at halftime. St. Mary's cut it to 44-35 after three and came up with a game last-ditch effort.
Barnhardt hit an off-balance three-pointer from the right side to make it a 50-46 game with 1:15 left. After a Collegiate basket, sophomore Nathan Meyers hits a three-pointer from the right to make it 52-49. That would be the only time it would be a one-possession game, however, as Will Pagano hit two free throws with 38.7 seconds left for a 54-49 lead.
Six-foot-6 junior Peter Notaro (7-of-8 shooting before fouling out) scored 14 points while Cellino (five points before fouling out) joined Notaro in doing a solid job defending Bartlett.