An away win | News, Sports, Jobs
GLENS FALLS — Head coach Kevin Hind and the Randolph Cardinals boys’ basketball team had to wait 19 years between games at the Cool Insuring Arena at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association championships.
Hind and the Cardinals didn’t want to wait that long again and it worked because they’ll be back today.
Randolph battled through adversity in his Class C semifinal against Section IV Moravia on Friday, winning 50-43.
“I just don’t have the words,” said Hind about entering the state final. “Then when one of our best players goes down early, we roll and things are looking really good. We play six guys, a kid (Cooper Freeman) from the Jayvee team who hadn’t played a varsity minute came in and played 13 minutes, handled the ball and didn’t turn it over. Roan Kelly came in defensively and didn’t miss anything, but we were limited offensively.”
While the Cardinals have the best trio of shooters Hind has ever had, they’re a team that places a huge focus on defense. So when the heart of the Randolph defense, Griffin Nelson, went down with an injury at 2:15 of the first quarter, the Cardinals not only needed the big three to get up, they also needed the bench.
“It’s not good,” Hind said of Nelson’s injury. “He is the heart and soul of our defense and really our team. Losing him was huge and to still be able to pull it off; There was a time in the game where I really thought we should have put it down, and that just got out of sync, out of rhythm, out of line. … we just had to improvise.”
With Nelson down, Randolph controlled the game and took a 17-13 lead after the first quarter. However, with the substitutions coming into play earlier than usual, the rhythm was thrown off offensively, resulting in a quiet second quarter for the Cardinals, who managed to take just a 23-20 lead into halftime.
Randolph felt Moravia on their heels and needed their big three to improve in the second half and got just what they needed in the third quarter.
After what was by his standards a quiet Far West Regional, Drew Hind played one of his best games of the year against Moravia. The sophomore guard attacked the basket all game for the Cardinals – scoring 8 of his 20 points in the third quarter – and finishing three three-point games.
“Basically, in the second half, I gave Drew the ball and got out of the way,” Coach Hind said of offense. “It eventually went downhill. Not so much in the first half, but downhill in the second half, he was attacking the basket, finishing, getting shots from people and mostly taking care of the ball (and then) Carson Conley hit a huge shot after the other tournament. “
From beyond the arc, Conley was again fatal to Randolph, hitting four Treys in key situations that raised the Cardinals’ offense. Conley finished with a team-high 20 points to tie Hind.
Friday’s game was Hind and Conley who rose to the occasion on offense while Jaiden Huntington wasn’t at his best. Although his numbers weren’t in the usual place in the scorebook, Huntington chose his spot in the fourth quarter to make his two shots that helped put the game out of reach for Moravia.
“The three are just really good,” said Hind. “Jaiden said, ‘Don’t worry Coach, I’ll pick you up tomorrow,’ and we’re going to need him. That was the first thing he said to me when he came off the pitch. Let’s not forget that he ended up with the big bucket to make it five.
While the Randolph defense hampered leaders Moravia, the Blue Devils’ comeback made it even more difficult when their top scorer, Abram Wasileski, was injured in the third quarter. Wasileski finished with 12 points, forcing point guard Kyler Proper to look for different options.
Even without their top scorer, Moravia managed to reduce the game to possession in the fourth quarter. With 4:11 to go, Owen Nelson fouled, causing the Cardinals to go deeper into the bank to carve out the win.
Moravia managed to cut the lead to 46-43 with 2:47 left, but that was the last time it scored and Randolph made free throws down the stretch.
“We have several defenses that we can throw overboard,” Conley said. “When we watch a film, we immediately know what we’re going to play. It was 2-3 today and it was more of a last minute decision because we wanted to come in and play Diamond. As we play, we just figure out what works. In the end we settled in 2-3 and that worked out well for us in the end.”
The Cardinals are now a game away from their goal of a state championship and face another group of Blue Devils, this time against Section I’s Haldane, back at the Cool Insuring Arena at 5:15 p.m. today.
Haldane won’t be the only thing on the Cardinals’ minds, as they’ll also be thinking about their female counterparts playing Section IV Union Springs in Troy this afternoon in the NYSPHSAA Class C semifinals.
“The community … we’re just totally blessed right now,” Conley said of the girls playing in the state semifinals today. “This whole deal we’re doing is amazing. We’re going to go to bed tonight knowing we’re going to the state championships, wake up and watch the girls play their semifinals. We are just totally blessed and grateful for this opportunity.”
“Not many schools would spend money to bring their cheerleaders here and that’s just huge for us,” added Drew Hind. “Having them here just gives us that energy and then to see our girls go to the state championships too. It’s all great, our community is just amazing.”
Wasileski 5 2 12, Kelly 2 1 5, Proper 4 1 10, Bell 1 0 2, Baylor 4 0 8, Nye 2 0 6, Adams 0 0 0. Total 18 4 43.
ONelson 0 0 0, Hind 8 3 20, GNelson 1 0 2, Conley 8 0 20, Huntington 2 0 4, Kelly 1 2 4, Farnham 0 0 0, Freeman 0 0 0. Total 20 5 50.
3-Point Goals Proper, Nye 2, Hind, Conley 4.
Moravia 16 5 13 10 — 43
Randolph 20 3 18 9 – 50
Today’s breaking news and more in your inbox
As humans, we don’t like change. To be honest – at this point in my life – change is a bad word. Hold …
Four 700 series lit up the Lena’s Pizza Men’s League action at the Jamestown Bowling Company. Leading…