GLENS FALLS, NY - On Saturday at Glens Falls Civic Center, the NYSAISSA champion Long Island Lutheran Crusaders went full circle.
After, losing two of their star players to injury early in the season, Luhi fought back through ups and downs to capture the Class A Federation Tournament Championship against the NYSPHSAA championship Jamesville-DeWitt Red Rams. With Tobias Harris and Kevin Johnson in full effect, the Crusaders handed Jamesville-DeWitt a 68-51 defeat.
The Red Rams started out strong as Syracuse-bound Brandon Triche took it to L.I. Lutheran, however Harris and senior guard Kevin Johnson quickly put Luhi out front by 6 points to start the second quarter as Triche all but disappeared offensively. Jamesville-DeWitt sought to quicken the pace while attacking Luhi's bigs inside. 6-foot-6 junior Malachi Davis turned out to be a hidden asset Luhi as he worked well in transition. A three pointer by senior shooting guard Alshwan Hymes pulled J-D to within 5 points half way through the second quarter but too many perimeter shots allowed the Crusaders to capitalize in transition.
With 3:35 remaining in the half, Johnson hit a three pointer to extend Luhi's lead to 10 points but Harris would go down and out temporarily, holding his chest. Achraf Yacoubou, the Crusaders talented sophomore would nail a bucket but the Red Rams also began to heat up from the perimeter.
Uncharacteristically out of sync, the Red Rams would pick up two techs as Zach Firestone picked up a flagrant tech and ejected for an excessively hard foul on E.J. Parry. Shortly after the first tech, a second tech was assessed to head coach Bob McKearney.
As the half ended, Jamesville-DeWitt would find themselves in a 37-23 hole as Triche stormed off the court clearly frustrated.
Halftime adjustments were made in J-D's defensive assignments, which initially forced Luhi to run more time off the clock then they are use to. Derek Klein, the Crusaders point guard, who step up would hit a floater as the shot clock wound down to temporarily release the pressure but the Red Rams were clearly attempting to make a run.
Hymes started getting good looks in transition and Steven Thompson and Hymes seemed to somewhat containing Harris and Yacoubou respectively, J-D would pull to within eight before Parry would hit a bucket with 1:39 left in the third.
Harris was the X-factor and could not be contained long as the quarter was drawing to a close. Harris' strong moves in the paint put the Brookville team back up 18 point cushion
As the fourth quarter began, Luhi was still up 17 but Coach Brian Carey inserted Tyler Harris to replace his brother who had picked up four fouls
The Red Rams tried to make a last run and with 6:57 left in regulation, the Red Rams had cut the Luhi lead to 13. Carey quickly put Tobias Harris back into the line-up and he would play out the game.
With 3:29 left in the game Luhi was able to push their lead to 16 and seal the victory.
Tobias Harris put up a double-double with 27 points and 15 rebounds with Yacoubou adding 16 points and Johnson contributing 10 points. Hymes led Jamesville-DeWitt with 17 points with Lamar Kearse scoring 9 points and Triche hitting 8 off of 2-8 shooting.
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