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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Section 2 Boys’ Basketball: Stillwater Showcases Strong Defense in Semifinal Victory Against Fonda-Fultonville

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GLENS ​FALLS — The​ Stillwater and Fonda-Fultonville boys’ basketball⁣ teams had a delayed start to their season, ⁢as many of their players were participating in their respective football state ⁤championship games.

When⁤ the‍ basketball season finally kicked off, it​ was clear that these two schools were on a path to meet each other on the court.

Although there was no Stillwater/Fonda-Fultonville face-off ⁢in⁢ football, both schools are Class B ‍basketball programs. On ‍Monday ⁣night, they ​clashed in a thrilling semifinal game at the Cool Insuring Arena.

Both teams are packed with highly driven athletes, but it was Stillwater that demonstrated‌ its seasoned experience‌ and defensive prowess on Monday, clinching a 57-33 victory and securing a spot in the Class B section ⁣championship.

“It’s rare to find kids who can channel their focus into two sports like that,” commented Stillwater’s Thomas McDonough. “I recall playing ‌the state championship in football on a Saturday, and⁢ then returning ‌to beat Hoosic⁢ Valley in ‍a ⁤basketball game​ the following Monday by 20 points.”

“They’re ⁤a strong, battle-hardened team. They’re always ready to defend, making it ‍challenging for us ​to ‍execute our plays and find our rhythm,” ⁢admitted Fonda-Fultonville coach Eric ‌Wilson. “In the ‌first half, we had some decent opportunities ⁤that I was pleased with, but their defensive pressure made us rush and we​ never fully settled into the game.”

Throughout the‍ first three quarters, Stillwater, ranked No. 1, kept Fonda-Fultonville, ranked No. 5, to‍ single digits in each ​period,‌ with a notable performance in ‍the⁤ third quarter where they allowed only two‌ points.

By the end of the third quarter, the Warriors had‍ built a commanding 50-15 lead.

“Our team is tightly knit,” ⁢McDonough‍ said. “Having five guys playing defense and holding a state-ranked team‍ to 15 points through three quarters is remarkable.”

Jaxon Mueller was the top scorer for Stillwater with 21 points, while McDonough and Kaelan Leak contributed 13 points each.

Most of Stillwater’s senior-heavy team remembers making it‍ to the state championship game two years ago.​ If they win ​Friday’s Section 2 championship game, Stillwater will return to the state tournament, with a clear objective in ‍mind.

“We’re determined to⁢ claim what’s rightfully ours,‌ and that’s the championship on March 17,” McDonough declared. “We’ve grown up​ playing together,⁤ and to ‌compete for a second section‌ championship⁣ in basketball, and having done it in football with‍ these guys too, it’s a ⁤unique experience. It’s something we cherish.”

“That group, when most of them were sophomores, reached the‌ state finals,” Wilson said of Stillwater. “Adding someone ​like [Kaelan] Leak ‍to an already experienced group, they’re a formidable team. Everything that‌ everyone says about them is absolutely accurate.”

Despite Fonda-Fultonville finally finding its offensive rhythm‌ in the fourth quarter on Monday, it was a case of too little, too late.

Fonda-Fultonville ended its season with an impressive overall record of 19-4.

“It’s tough,” Wilson said of the season ending. “This is a competitive ​group, and they’re not just excellent basketball players, but they’re outstanding young men who conduct themselves with integrity.”

Stillwater (22-1 overall) now awaits the ​winner of the other⁢ Class‌ B semifinal, ‌which⁢ will be played on Tuesday night between No. 3 Schuylerville and No. 7 Mechanicville.

Fonda-Fultonville⁤ 4 9 ⁢2 18 — 33

Stillwater 15 13 22 7 — 57

Fonda-Fultonville scoring: Walker 1-0-2; Bulan 2-0-5;‌ Wilson 2-2-6; Croucher 1-1-3; Smith 1-0-2; Miller 2-0-5; Melious 4-0-10. Stillwater scoring: ‍ McDonough 5-0-13; Leak 5-1-13; Lilac 1-1-3; Cocozzo 3-0-6;‍ Mueller⁣ 9-3-21; ‍Wichelns 0-1-1. Team scoring: Fonda-Fultonville 13-3-33; Stillwater 27-6-57.

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Jack Sullivan
Jack Sullivan
Jack Sullivan, an informed and passionate sports reporter, is a former college athlete with a degree in Sports Communication from Ithaca College. Go Bombers!
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2 COMMENTS

  1. Disagree – Stillwater’s defense was lackluster in the semifinal matchup, allowing too many easy baskets for Fonda-Fultonville.

  2. Disagree – Stillwater’s defense was solid throughout the game, shutting down Fonda-Fultonville’s offense and leading them to victory.

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