NYSPHSAA Class AA Boys Semi­fi­nal /

Ni­a­gara Falls vs. III-West Ge­ne­see

The Buffalo News - - HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL - – Miguel Ro­driguez

New York State Pub­lic High School Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion Fi­nal Four.

When: Fri­day at 5 p.m. at Floyd L. Maines Memo­rial Arena, Bing­ham­ton.

Records: Ni­a­gara Falls 21-3, West Ge­ne­see 20-4.

Rank­ings: Ni­a­gara Falls is ranked No. 3 in the Buf­falo News’ Large Schools poll and No. 7 in the New York State Sportswrit­ers’ poll. West Ge­ne­see is ranked No. 12 in the state poll.

How they got here: Ni­a­gara Falls de­feated Sec­tion V cham­pion McQuaid, 84-71, in the Far West Re­gional on Satur­day at Greece Athena High School. Wil­lie Light­foot led the Wolver­ines with 32 points and four as­sists, Jalen Brad­berry added 16 points, Jae­mon Turner 14 and Josiah Har­ris 13. Falls came out on the pos­i­tive end of a thriller that hung in the bal­ance un­til the Wolver­ines broke things open with a 16-3 run that spanned the fi­nal 53 sec­onds of the third quar­ter and open­ing 3 min­utes, 9 sec­onds of the fi­nal pe­riod.

West Ge­ne­see ral­lied for a 7055 over­time win over Sec­tion II cham­pion Saratoga Springs. The Wild­cats scored 44 points over the fi­nal 12 min­utes, in­clud­ing 22 dur­ing the four-minute over­time. Will Amica led the win­ners with 25 points, and went coast to coast for the game-ty­ing layup at the buzzer.

Ni­a­gara Falls key play­ers: So. Jalen Brad­berry, 6-3 (20.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 4.0 apg), Fr. Wil­lie Light­foot, 5-9 (18.0 ppg, 6.0 apg, 2.0 steals, 41 per­cent from 3-point range), Sr. Josiah Har­ris, 5-9 (12.0 ppg. 3.0 apg, 45 per­cent from 3-point range), Jr. Jae­mon Turner, 5-9 (11.0 ppg, 4.0 apg, 3.0 steals), Sr. Mo­ran Mont­gomery, 6-0 (9.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg).

West Ge­ne­see key play­ers: Sr. Lu­cas Suther­land, 6-7 (18.8 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 1.3 blocks), Jr. Will Amica, 6-0 (16.2 ppg, 4.9 apg, 3.9 rpg), Sr. Jack McLane, 6-6 (8.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg).

Scout­ing re­port: The Wolver­ines again will be at a size dis­ad­van­tage as the Wild­cats’ lineup con­sists of three play­ers, in­clud­ing Siena com­mit Suther­land, stand­ing 6-foot6 or taller. Amica is a Di­vi­sion I prospect at point guard and is fa­mil­iar with Light­foot and Brad­berry as they play on the same AAU team based out of Al­bany.

Although Falls won the re­gional, it lost the re­bound­ing bat­tle 38-23, yield­ing 20 of­fen­sive boards. The Wolver­ines can’t flirt with that type of dan­ger against the Wild­cats. “De­fen­sive de­ter­mi­na­tion doesn’t end un­til you get pos­ses­sion of the ball,” Falls coach Sal Constantino said.

Look for Falls to push the pace to cre­ate of­fense via tran­si­tion and to make West Genny un­com­fort­able. The Wolver­ines have had suc­cess shoot­ing from the perime­ter with three play­ers shoot­ing 38 per­cent or bet­ter from be­yond the arc. If they’re able to do that against the 2-3 zone, it could be a long day for the Sec­tion III cham­pion.

Next: The win­ner ad­vances to the state cham­pi­onship game at 9 p.m. Satur­day against ei­ther XIBrent­wood or IX-Kingston.

Derek Gee/Buf­falo News

Ni­a­gara Falls sopho­more Jalen Brad­berry is the Wolver­ines’ top scorer at 20 points per game.

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