Chateaugay rides explosive spark past MCS; Harrisville rolls

Feb. 20—Chateaugay Boys Basketball Coach Jason LaPlante feels that he has been blessed to work with three "special guards" in the past three years.

Guards who can bury shots out to the midcourt logo, convert flashes to the goal under heavy pressure plus defend, dish and rebound with equal efficiency. Following 2020 graduate Jonah McDonald who became Section 10's all-time leading scorer with 2042 points and 2023 graduate Walker Martin who finished with 1163 points, junior Jake Johnston has put together a junior season to continue the line of succession.

In his Maxcy Hall debut as the Bulldogs' lead guard Johnston turned in a dazzling second half against Morristown in Monday's Section 10 Class D semi-finals. He delivered 21 points in a 23-11 third quarter run, tallied 29 of his team's 33 points in second half and finished with a near triple double of 44 points, 10 rebounds and eight steals as the second seeded Bulldogs (18-4) advanced 60-38 in the first of two Class D semi-final games.

"A lot of people haven't seen Jake play but I think he is as good as any guard in Section 10. We have a great line of guards going," said Coach LaPlante after his 18-4 Bulldogs moved into the Class D title game at 4 p.m. on Friday against top-seeded 19-2 NAC West Division Champion Harrisville which continued a long run of dominant performances in defeating fourth ranked Colton-Pierrepont 75-23.

"Defense has always been our thing and we played very well defensively tonight allowing just 18 points in the second half," Coach LaPlante added.

Chateaugay 60 — 38: Johnston buried three 3-pointers as Bulldogs opened a 27-20 halftime lead using their swarming defense and defensive rebounding to negate the third seeded Rockets' size advantage inside.

In the third quarter he mesmerized defenders with his quickness and shake-and-bake moves down the lane to score 21 points including seven straight free throws.

"They went man to man in the third quarter and Jake is really hard to cover," said Coach LaPlante.

"Now we have to get ready to play a very special team in Harrisville."

Daniel Strange, who was called up from the junior varsity ranks late in the regular season and withstood early foul trouble, finished with eight points and 11 rebounds. Grant Locklin (10 rebounds, 4 steals), Xavier Lamica, Jake Reynolds and Charles Breault all tallied two points while Pete Reynolds contributed seven boards and five steals.

Walker Belile anchored the Morristown offense with 13 points and tallied eight in the third quarter. Kam Toland tallied eight points followed by Sawyer Belile with six, Terin Rosenbarker with four, Peyton Donnelly with three and Dominic Perretta and Joe Wrobel with two each.

Walker Belisle, Hammond students Toland and Rosenbarker, Perretta and Wrobel were all cited for leading upgrade in the Rocket ranks which drew good crowds all season on the way to a 14-8 record, a home sectional game where they scored 91 points and an appearance on the storied floor of the Jerry Welsh Gym at Maxcy Hall.

"It is process and the guys did a great job this year. Tonight their guard had an outstanding game and we had one of the games where we played well at times but at other times we didn't play well," said Morristown Coach Jake VanArnam.

"You can't play that way in a game like this. We have some good players to replace but we have players who will work at it."

Harrisville 80, C-P 32: After trading baskets through the opening stages of the game the Pirates, who entered the game ranked fourth in the most recent New York State Sportswriters Association Class D poll, tightened up their defense and expanded a 12-6 lead to 32-8 by the quarters end.

"In the beginning of the game we were expending a lot of energy on our press but we were letting them get players loose. But we settled down," said Harrisville Coach Brian Coloney after his team used constant double teams to disrupt the Colts' offense and take control.

"Nolan Sullivan really came to play which was great to see."

The Pirates also showed great versatility and cohesive team play on both sides of the ball throughout their lineup.

The Sullivan twins, Tanner (17 points) and Nolan (16 points) and Aiden Chartrand (4 points) all took turns running the point, spotting up for 3-pointers on the wing and rotating down low on defense.

Joe Sheppard and Brian Loos combined as low post scorers and rim defending bookends. Sheppard scored 12 points in the first quarter and Loos dropped in 10 in the second quarter. Liam Winters and Connor Mantle both connected on two 3s scoring six points each and JV call-ups Maddox Sullivan and Jackson Jenack added three and two points.

C-P standout Eric Friedel led the game Colts (9-13) with 14 points and was constantly attacking the rim. Ty Farns with six, Cody Trimm with four, Todd LaBrake with three, Brayden Robert and Tyler Lovely with two points Jace Worden with one rounded out the scoring.