GLENS FALLS – International Preparatory at Grover simply couldn’t come any closer to advancing to the Class D state championship game in boys basketball than it did on Friday.
Alas, the Presidents suffered a heart-breaking overtime loss to New York Mills, 66-58, Friday morning.
The Marauders came back from a 47-41 deficit after three quarters, outscoring I-Prep, 13-7, in the fourth quarter to send the game to overtime.
“The game plan we had was working, we put pressure on them, and we got the fast break going,” I-Prep coach Shaunessy Ryan said. “We got up by 11, and Mills went into a 3-2” defense. “We missed some easy opportunities, and before we knew it we were in a dogfight.”
The Presidents had a chance to win the game in regulation, but missed a shot shortly before the buzzer.
Then New York Mills, the defending state champions who are located just outside of Utica, scored all of their points from the free-throw line in overtime. The Marauders were a perfect 12 of 12 to wrap up the win.
“I don’t know if they hit the rim once,” Ryan said. “You have to take your hats off to them.”
Terrance James, a 6-foot-2 senior, had another monster game to lead the Presidents. He scored 26 points on 10-of-17 shooting, including a 4-for-7 day on three-pointers. James added 17 rebounds and five assists before fouling out. Xavier Maye added 15 points and 16 rebounds for I-Prep.
New York Mills had a standout of its own in Terrance Nichols. He had 25 points, including an 8-for-8 day at the free-throw line. Nichols, who came into the game averaging 18.6 points per game, added 11 rebounds and seven assists.
“He’s a lot bigger than I thought,” Ryan said. “He is 6-2 with long arms, and he knocked down some threes.”
Corey Pastorelli added 12 points and Andrew Suprenant scored 11.
I-Prep finished the game with a 5-for-7 performance from the line as a team, while New York Mills was 15 for 22.
The Marauders face Bridgehampton for the state championship on Saturday. Ryan was left to reflect on a fine season that could have had an even happier ending.
“We were 19-5, we won the Yale Cup, won the sectional title,” he said. “All of those games were good games. We had a stretch of six or seven really good games in a row. ... I’m proud of the kids. We obtained a lot of the goals we had set out to win at the start of the season.”