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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Previewing the upcoming area playoffs for Section 2 girls’ basketball

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As the league regular season and playoff ⁣titles are about‌ to be decided, the excitement is building for the upcoming Section ⁤2 girls’ basketball tournament. The tournament will feature a​ new-look format ⁣and pairings will be released in less than three weeks.

Teams will be competing‍ in‌ six classes rather than ‌five this year with the addition of Class AAA, which⁤ pairs Section 2’s largest schools in Albany,‌ Colonie, Saratoga Springs, Schenectady, Shaker and Shenendehowa.

Albany and​ Shenendehowa, each with one loss, are currently vying for the⁣ top ⁢seed in Class AAA. Several other teams⁤ like unbeaten Averill Park and Greenwich,⁤ as well as once-beaten Catholic Central, Queensbury, Greenville, Berne-Knox-Westerlo ‌and Corinth, have also positioned themselves for high seeds in their​ respective classes.

The Adirondack‌ League, Patroon Conference, Wasaren ⁢League and Western ⁣Athletic Conference ‍will hold league championship games just before the sectionals, which will have ⁤first​ round ⁢games Feb.‌ 16-17.

Here’s a few more things to⁤ know as we close ​in on the postseason play.

MARK YOUR⁤ CALENDAR

The busy Section 2 tournament slate will include games on‌ 12 consecutive days running from Feb. 20 through‍ March 2.

First round action is slated ⁤for Feb. 16-17, and any preliminary games will be⁣ held Feb. 15 if needed. Tournament pairings will ‍be released Feb. 14.

Highest seeds will host ⁤games through the quarterfinal round before action⁣ moves ‍to‍ neutral sites for the ⁣remainder of the tournament. The tourney concludes March​ 2 and 4

Tournament champions advance to state ⁤regional competition scheduled for March 5-6 and March 8-9. ‌The NYSPHSAA tournament ‌is‍ March 14-17 ‌at Hudson Valley Community ⁤College.

Here’s the schedule for the‍ Section ‍2 tournament.

Preliminaries (if necessary): Class B,⁢ Class C, Thursday, Feb. ⁣15.

First round: Class AA, Class A, Class D, Friday, Feb. ⁣16;⁢ Class B, Class C , Saturday,⁤ Feb.​ 17.

Quarterfinals: Class ⁢AAA, Class D,⁤ Tuesday, Feb. 20; Class B, Wednesday, Feb. 21; ⁤Class C, Thursday,‌ Feb. 22; Class A, Friday,⁢ Feb. 23; Class ⁤AA, Saturday, Feb. 24

Semifinals: Class B, Sunday, Feb. 24 at ⁤HVCC; Class C,​ Monday, Feb. 26 at Averill Park; Class D, Tuesday, Feb. 27 at Averill Park; Class A, Wednesday at HVCC; Class AAA, Thursday, Feb. 29 at‍ HVCC; Class ‌A,⁢ Friday, ⁢March 1 at HVCC.

Finals: Class A, Class B, Class C, Friday, March ‍2 at HVCC; ‍Class⁢ AAA,⁤ Class‍ AA, Class⁢ D,‌ March 4 at HVCC.

SIXTH CLASS

Prior to the 2022-23 school‌ year ​the New York State Public ⁢High School Athletic ⁢Association ​approved​ the sixth classification‍ — Class ​AAA — for sports⁣ with 501 or more⁢ teams ‍eligible to participate in NYSPHSAA state championships.

Those sports are girls volleyball, boys’ soccer and girls’ ⁤soccer in the fall, boys’ ⁣basketball and ⁢girls’ basketball in the winter, and baseball and softball ⁤in the​ spring.

For the Section 2⁤ girls’ basketball tournament, ‌the ‌six teams‍ eligible for Class⁣ AAA competition (see above) are by far ⁢the fewest⁣ in any class, with eight eligible for Class D play. Twenty⁢ teams are eligible to compete ‍in Class B and C, and 12 teams are eligible to compete ⁢in Class ​AA‌ and⁣ A.

The Section 2 tournament is open to all area teams ‌tied to⁤ the NYSPHSAA regardless of record.

AMBITIOUS ⁣SCHEDULE

Basketball teams often play‍ “up” against ‍those from bigger schools as a prep for the playoffs, and Duanesburg (11-3) is hoping ⁣the tough schedule it’s assembled pays off in the coming weeks when it bids ‍for a⁣ third straight‌ Section 2 championship

The Class C Eagles⁤ of ‌the Western ⁤Athletic Conference scheduled five games against Suburban Council teams of Class AAA and Class AA size. The Eagles beat Niskayuna (AA, 25 state rank) ‍Tuesday 50-43, ⁤and⁢ before that they ​beat Guilderland (AA) 69-52 and lost to Colonie ⁤(AAA,‌ 21​ state)‍ 53-43.⁤ Duanesburg ⁢has upcoming games at Shaker (AAA) and home against Columbia (AA, 19 state).

GOING THE DISTANCE

Averill Park (14-0) and ⁣Greenwich (14-0) are both striving for ‍unbeaten regular seasons before postseason play, where the Warriors ​and Witches will go after repeat championships. Averill⁤ Park ⁤has the more difficult schedule to close out including a home-and-away against Albany (12-1). Greenwich, which went 20-0 last ⁤season before ‍sweeping through its Section 2 playoff⁢ foes,⁤ has Mechanicville (13-2) remaining on its⁤ slate.

Class​ A Averill Park and Class C Greenwich are both ranked‍ No. 1 on the New York Sportswriters Association polls.

2023 ⁢TOURNEY CHAMPS

Class AA: Top-seeded Albany got‍ 22 points from Shonyae Edmonds, ‌and repeated as the Class AA champ with a ‍57-49 win over ⁤Bethlehem.

Class A: Taylor Holohan led ​four double-digit scorers with 21 points to ‌go with⁢ 11 rebounds‌ in leading Averill Park over Catholic Central 62-49. It was the ninth straight Class ‌A title for AP.

Class B: ⁣Saige⁣ Randolph scored 17 points,⁢ Alex Leonard added 11, and Albany Academy beat Catskill 64-36 for ⁢its first Section ⁤2⁣ title.

Class C: Duanesburg scored the first‌ 19 points and ‍defended its Class C title with a ​60-28 win over Whitehall. Allison O’Hanlon scored 18 points,‌ and Alex⁤ Moses ⁣and Hannah Mulhern both netted 16.

Class⁤ CC: ⁤ Freshman ⁣Brooke Kuzmich ‍collected 17 points, seven ⁤steals and six rebounds, ‍and Greenwich stayed unbeaten with ‌a 53-39 title-game win‌ over Corinth.

Class C/CC ​playoff: Kuzmich scored 21 points, and Greenwich threw a defensive ‍blanket ⁣over Duanesburg’s star players in a 51-43 win.

Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons​ never trailed in⁣ beating 2022 champ Hartford ⁢in the ⁤small-school final 58-48.⁢ MVP Angie‍ Deitz collected 21 points and​ 11 rebounds, and all-tourney pick Mia’Rose Wylie netted ​20 points.

Averill Park, Albany Academy,⁢ Greenwich ‌and‍ Bishop Gibbons won regional championships in 2023 ‌before state semifinal setbacks ended​ their seasons.

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Juniper Li
Juniper Li
Juniper Li, with her roots in documentary filmmaking, brings a unique narrative style to local news reporting. A graduate of NYU’s Journalism program, Ava has a keen eye for stories that capture the essence of community life. Her reporting often highlights local achievements and challenges, drawing on her experience in visual storytelling.
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