By Rob Potter
NEW PALTZ With nearly six minutes elapsed in the opening quarter of Monday night’s Section IX Class D boys’ basketball championship game at SUNY New Paltz, Livingston Manor’s Troy Correa scored to give his team a 7-6 lead.
But keyed by six points from senior guard Don Timbrouck, the No. 4 seed John A. Coleman Catholic Statesmen responded with a 12-0 scoring run.
Manor junior guard Mike Mills swished a 3-point shot as the buzzer sounded to end the first quarter. The shot cut Coleman’s lead to single digits at 18-10 and fired up the Wildcats and their fans.
However, Coleman outscored the third-seeded Wildcats 11-8 in the second period to hold a 29-18 advantage at halftime.
The Statesmen then outscored Manor by a 17-5 margin in the third quarter on their way to a 58-37 victory and their fifth consecutive Section IX Class D title.
Coleman (11-9) will play the Section XI champion in a regional semifinal tomorrow at Farmingdale State College.
The Statesmen began the third period with an 11-0 run to expand their lead to 20 points at 38-18.
Manor’s Brandon Smith stopped the run by making a free throw with 4:43 left in the stanza. But Coleman answered with baskets by Chris Chatelain and Jordan Shaw in the next minute to make it a 42-19 game.
Smith and Lee Sharshakuv each added another free throw and Kenny Fisk made a pair of foul shots later in the quarter for the Wildcats, but Coleman still held a commanding 46-23 lead going into the last eight minutes of play.
Mills led Manor (11-7) with 14 points, while Smith and Fisk finished with six points and four points, respectively.
“They are a big, fast team,” Manor Coach Charlie Hicks said of the Statesmen. “They are as good as advertised.
“We are going to miss our seniors Brandon Smith, Lee Sharshakuv, Victor Roman and Indy Khangura next year,” Hicks added.
“Our goal for this season was to get to the title game, which we did,” Hicks said. “We gave it our best tonight, but they were the better team.”
Coleman had three players score in double digits. Shaw led the way with 14 points, Timbrouck had 12 points and Chatelain netted 11 points.
Benjamin Mesuda added nine points for the Statesmen.
Coleman Coach Alex Albany noted that his team’s defensive effort was one of the key factors in the game.
During the third quarter in particular, the Statesmen scored several fast-break baskets after making steals at midcourt or in the Wildcats’ half of the court.
“Our defense was great and we did a good job of rebounding,” Albany said.