By Rob Potter
GLENS FALLS The most successful boys’ basketball season in the history of Livingston Manor Central School ended one game too soon, leaving Manor players, coaches and fans with a “foul” taste.
The Region 2 Class D champion Madrid-Waddington Yellow Jackets defeated the Region 1 Class D champion Manor Wildcats, 67-55, on Saturday in a New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) semifinal game at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
The complexion of the game changed dramatically just five minutes into the first quarter as senior point guard and catalyst Troy Correa was called for his third foul. He spent the rest of the half on the bench.
Though Manor was able to initially play through Correa’s absence taking a 14-13 lead at the end of the first quarter, Madrid-Waddington seized control of the game early in the second quarter behind a couple of three-point shots by Zach Marcellus and Alex Brock and really never looked back. The Yellow Jackets (24-2) built a 31-23 halftime advantage and then expanded it to 18 points at the end of the third quarter.
“When Troy [Correa] went out in the first quarter, it hurt our offense,” Manor’s Ken Fisk said.
Following the game, Manor Coach Charlie Hicks said he thought that two of the three officials for the contest were “horrendous.” But Hicks was quick to point out that he was not making any excuses or taking anything away from the Yellow Jackets.
“Madrid-Waddington is a very good team,” he said. “We needed to play our ‘A’ game to beat them today, but we didn’t play our ‘A’ game. Madrid-Waddington played a great game and deserved to win.”
Three Manor players Correa, Davis and Fisk fouled out in the fourth quarter. Madrid-Waddington took 26 foul shots in the game while Manor (16-6) attempted just nine free throws.
Hicks noted the loss is very disappointing but the Wildcats’ season was a success. The team won the first boys’ basketball Section IX and Regional championships in school history and playing in the State Final Four was a first as well.
“We had a really great season,” Hicks commented. “This is a great group of guys and they played very good basketball all year. I am very proud of them.
“We have nine seniors on this team and we are going to miss them next season,” Hicks added.
Madrid-Waddington Coach Aaron Jones noted that his team played to its strength as a strong outside shooting team on its way to the 12-point win.
“We were able to make those shots from the perimeter today,” said Jones. “We also worked the ball inside to get some baskets.”
Leading the Yellow Jackets’ outside shooting attack was Kendall, who made four 3-pointers and finished with 15 points. In his last three games, Kendall has connected on 15 three point shots.
Brock led the Yellow Jackets with 20 points, while Marcellus and O’Bryan added 14 points apiece.
“Matt [Kendall] made a couple of big 3-pointers in the first quarter,” Jones said. “Brock was hitting shots from all over the court and Marcellus made a lot of baskets as well.”
Manor’s Mills scored a game-high 25 points, 21 off seven three-pointers.
Fellow senior Dharmet Khangura had nine points.
Like Hicks, Fisk noted that the Wildcats’ historic hoops season will be remembered for a very long time.
“It was nice to be able to get this far for the first time ever,” Fisk commented. “It was a great season. It was nice to make it to the Final Four with this group of guys. Playing with these guys this season meant a lot.”
Fisk said that he hopes the Wildcats’ four returning players can lead the team to another successful season.
Notes: Moments after the game, Manor’s Jesse Jurgans was presented with a Sportsmanship Award by tournament officials.
The nine seniors the Wildcats will lose to graduation are Troy Correa, Jon Davis, Kenny Fisk, Robert Johanamen, Dharmet Khangura, Mike Mills, Neal Mock, Brandon Pagan and Nick Ziemis.