Watervliet's star guards rack up the points to end Batavia's season a game too soon
Buddy Brasky said it before the game, the key to a Blue Devils win in the semi-final of the Class B state championship basketball game would be slowing the attack of Watervliet's two Division I guards.
That didn't happen.
"We knew we had to try and keep those two guards combined in the 30s and they got 43," Brasky said after Batavia's 60-53 loss at Glens Falls. "It seems to me they seemed like they were shooting from 30 feet out and making them. I don’t know what to say. I mean we hung in there, we battled and they answered every time."
Three times, the Canoneers built 10 and 12 point leads, and for extended periods, Watervliet would maintain a nine-point lead, and then Batavia would pull close enough that a single basket -- three or two -- would tie the score.
But that one shot wouldn't drop and Jordan Gleason, Tyler McLeod or freshman Ty'jon Gilmore would pour in a three-point jumper on the return. Gleason finished with 25 points, McLeod, 18 and Gilmore, 11. Gleason hit six three-pointers and McLeod and Gilmore had two apiece.
"We knew they were hard workers," Batavia's Jalen Smith said. "We knew they could shoot the ball. We knew they had an athletic guard. That was the game plan, stop their guards and their guards caught fire. There wasn’t much we could do about it. We played as tough as we can."
Smith finished with a team high 21 points. Justin Washington added 14 and Jamesson Etienne, 12.
Throughout Batavia's post-season run, the team has proven there's no quit in their approach to the game. Saturday night was no exception.
"They’ve got a lot of heart," Brasky said. "Jalen made some big shots. We kept crawling back. We would get it within two. We’d get it within three. We had the ball a couple of times with a chance to tie and we’d get good lucks but we could never get the final one to drop."
It was a special season for Batavia and even though the season ends a game sooner than anybody would like, there's no reason not to be proud of three championship wins.
"I told them it doesn't take away from their league championship, their sectional championship, their regional championship," Brasky said. "They're a great team. What stinks about the state tournament is only one team goes home with a win. Everybody else goes home with a loss and you feel horrible."
After the game in the locker room, Brasky hugged each of his senior players.
"They mean so much (to me)," Brasky said. "They're the ones who led us this year. They’ve been with me since third, fourth, fifth grade most of them, so we’ve got a bond that’s hard to explain. It’s going to be hard to see them go."
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