GLENS FALLS - As the Pine Plains Bombers were celebrating their thrilling 52-49 victory over Silver Creek in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class C semifinals at the Glens Falls Civic Center, members of the Black Knights sat at their bench stunned.
Not much could be said.
"We had them," Silver Creek coach Rob Genco could only say.
OBSERVER?Photo by Craig Harvey
Pictured is Silver Creek’s Stephen Marcey (34) being guarded by Pine Plains Drew Evans, during their NYSPHSAA’s Class C boys’ basketball semifinal, on Friday, at the Glens Falls Civic Center, in Glens Falls.
Trailing 49-46 with 1:48 left, the Bombers made the plays they needed to, and got the calls they needed, to pull out the victory and leave the Silver Creek faithful, who drove more than five hours, wishing the final 24 seconds of the game never happened.
With a 49-48 lead, Silver Creek called a timeout and had the ball in its own end. Pine Plains' Zach Lydon stole the inbound pass from Silver Creek's Zeddie Williams and forwarded a pass to Justin Cooper, who was fouled on the play with 20 seconds remaining. Cooper drained both free throws for a 50-49 lead.
"I wish I would have called a timeout," Genco continued, beginning to second-guess himself. "I should have called it for him. I was sitting right there and saw (Steve) Marcey break. (Williams) had Marcey, but the kid got his hand on it. I will go over that and a couple other things we could have done."
The Black Knights had two more chances to get the win.
With 10 seconds left, Silver Creek's Kaine Kettle missed a 3-pointer and teammate Billy Brooks grabbed the offensive rebound. As he went up with it, the Bombers' Tyler Lydon got his hand on the ball and a jump ball was called in favor of Pine Plains.
"I don't know how you call a jump ball in that situation," Genco said. "The kid's hand was on the ball for a split second."
On the ensuing possession, Pine Plains' Adam Miller was fouled to stop the clock and hit both free throws to extend the lead, 52-49.
And with 2 seconds left, Marcey was fouled and sent to the line. After missing his first shot, he purposely missed the second shot in hopes of his team getting an offensive rebound. In fact, Marcey got his own rebound, sprinted to behind the arc and launched a desperation 3-pointer which fell short as time expired to end Silver Creek's memorable season.
But the telling tale was the fact the Black Knights did not make a field goal in the final 3:48.
"We could just not get that one basket," Genco said. "We needed one basket to put it away. We had a drought and could not hit a basket. We just couldn't drive it home."
The first three minutes of the game did not go how any coach planned as the teams combined for five straight air balls - three by Pine Plains.
After falling behind, 5-2, Marcey and Brennan White hit consecutive treys to give the No. 2 ranked team in the state an 8-5 lead with 4:23 left.
The lead changed hands three times in the opening quarter and the Black Knights' last lead was with a minute remaining as Marcey drained another trey to make the score 13-11 with a minute left.
In the second quarter, Silver Creek went nearly six minutes without a field goal, but got to the foul line and went 5-of-10 while Pine Plains went on a 16-9 run to take a 29-22 halftime lead.
It had the feeling that if the Bombers opened up the third quarter on a run, the game could easily be out of reach for Silver Creek.
Enter Kaine Kettle.
Kettle single-handedly led the Black Knights on a 9-2 run to start the third quarter with three consecutive treys on as many possessions to tie the score, 31-all.
"I told everybody, 'You have to stop talking about him being off,'" Genco said of Kettle's shot. "I told them, 'You will see. In a big game, Kaine Kettle will shine.' He was just awesome in that third quarter. He has ice-cold water in his veins. That's what he did again tonight."
Just like that, it was a new ball game and Silver Creek was in the driver's seat. Kettle finished the quarter with 10 points and Williams added five more as the Black Knights took a 41-37 lead into the final eight minutes.
Through most of the second half, Pine Plains could not buy a basket and consistently missed shots in the paint.
Bombers coach Brendan LoBrutto noted it was because of the big man Silver Creek has down low in Billy Brooks.
"Brooks is a tremendous player," LoBrutto said. "He did to us what we have done to teams all year and that's adjust shots. Even if he didn't block them, he adjusted shots."
Genco added, "I told Billy he was better than their two big guys. I told him he needed to step up and he did big time. That's what we needed out of him, once he started playing."
Despite Pine Plains clearly having the height advantage, it was only able to outrebound Silver Creek, 22-21.
"Their height doesn't show when you do all the right things," Genco said. "We matched up the right way. We liked our defense adjustment. We have played more physical games than they have given our division and the way we play against teams like Randolph. Either way, it didn't work. We lost."
Though the season came to an end a day earlier than hoped, Genco noted how proud he was of his team.
"Kaine hit some 3s and Marcey was phenomenal," he continued. "Brennan White was guarding a 6-8 guy and he did a very good job. All five guys, I couldn't be more proud of them. This season could only last one more day. We went on this journey as long as we could. I am happy for them and proud of them. I'm happy for the community. I just wish we could have taken it to another game."
NOTES: Marcey led Silver Creek with 18 points while Kettle had 14 - all of which came in the second half. Pine Plains was led by Justin Cooper's 18 points (nine in the fourth quarter). Zach Lydon, Tyler Lydon and Andrew Miller each had 10 points in the win. Pine Plains shot 15-for-22 from the charity stripe while Silver Creek was just 10-for-19.
No. 1 Pine Plains 52, No. 2 Silver Creek 49
Silver Creek (49)
Williams 1 4 6, Kettle 4 3 14, Marcey 6 3 18, Brooks 4 0 8, White 1 0 3, Totals 16 10 49
Pine Plains (52)
Cooper 4 9 18, Z Lydon 4 1 10, Piazzi 2 0 4, T Lydon 4 2 10, Miller 3 4 10, Totals 17 15 52
3-point goals: Z Lydon, Cooper, T Lydon, Kettle 3, Marcey 3, White.
Silver Creek 13 9 19 8 49
Pine Plains 13 16 8 15 - 52