The Nichols boys basketball team got just about everything it could ask for Friday night, right down to a rematch to determine who has the best Class A team in the entire state.
The Vikings got a devastating inside-outside performance by Will Regan and Stan Wier and great contributions from its bench in an exemplary team performance that ended with a 85-66 victory over Long Island Lutheran in the state Federation semifinals.
Wier, a 6-2 sophomore, hit six three-pointers during a 31-point night in which he surpassed the career 1,000-point mark while 6-8 senior and University of Virginia recruit Regan had 28 points and 19 rebounds as the Vikings (23-7) earned a date with state power Jamesville-Dewitt (25-0) in tonight's 7:30 title game at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
"We fight for this all year, and to get to this point and produce like we're able to, it's great to be able to do that," said Regan. "It'll be fun to battle an undefeated team which has so much tradition in recent years. It'll be a lot of fun to collide with them in the final."
Nichols lost to J-D, 71-66, on Jan. 29 at Onondaga Community College in Syracuse in one of the 11 games that standout senior guard Ron Canestro missed with a broken finger.
"We played great as a team," Wier said, "I can't wait for the next game."
Wier had four of his six three pointers in the first half and finished 11 of 18 from the field and 6 of 10 from three-point range. He now has 1,001 career points. Inside, Regan hit 12 of 18 shots, hit four of five free throws and had three blocks. Regan has 1,987 points and is on the verge of becoming the 14th member of Western New York's 2,000-point club.
"You have a big kid inside playing in the ACC [Atlantic Coast Conference] and Wier from the perimeter looked like he could play anywhere in the country," said coach John Buck of Long Island Lutheran (20-8), the representative for the Alliance of Independent Schools. "All the credit in the world to Nichols. I really don't know what they could have done better."
Nichols jumped to a 21-12 lead after one quarter and got a big lift from its bench in the second. With seniors Ron Canestro (five points, five assists before fouling out) and Conner Vandegriff (four points, eight rebounds, block) on the bench late in the second quarter, senior reserves Dieter Clauss (4 for 4 at the line) and Evan Grenda (rebound, assist, steal) helped Nichols expand its lead.
Grenda had a great hustle play on a Regan missed free throw in which he kept the ball alive and batted it to Regan, who scored while being fouled. The free throw put Nichols up, 42-28. Nichols took a 47-32 lead to halftime.
Nichols shot 68 percent from the field in the first half (17 for 25) and shot 58 percent (29 for 50) for the game.
Weir had two huge threes in the third quarter to quickly expand the lead from 16 to 22. Nichols lead was 24 to end the third (67-43) and was up by as many as 25 in the fourth. Senior Andy MacKinnon had 12 points, hit both of his threes and had four assists.
J-D won the Fed title in 2008 and lost last year's title game to Long Island Lutheran. The Red Rams are led by 6-1 senior guard Lamar Kearse and 6-9 sophomore standout Dajuan Coleman, both of whom had 23 points in a 67-54 victory over Bedford Academy, the champion of New York City's Public Schools Athletic League. Coleman had 31 rebounds to set a Federation record in all classes.