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Irondequoit coach Cardon's career ends in Class A state championship game

Irondequoit's state finals run during coach Chris Cardon's final season came to an emotional conclusion Saturday night.

In an effort to win the program's second state title, Irondequoit's Eagles fell short. They watched a halftime lead slip away during a 49-36 loss to Tappan Zee in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class A final.

Irondequoit leaned on senior Xavier Gissendanner for scoring. Ryan Heath, the team's leading scorer, battled foul trouble before fouling out in the waning moments. Tappan Zee's forced the Eagles into a 34% shooting night, and just 18% in the second half.

"I thought it was an absurd defensive effort," Tappan Zee coach George Gaine said to NYSPHSAA after the game. "We held our hat on defense, and on this stage, on this night, against that team, you saw a tremendous team defensive effort, and a team that loves each other."

Xavier Gissendanner of Irondequoit shoots against Tappan Zee during the NYSPHSAA Class A basketball championship at the Cool Insuring Arena in Glens Falls.
Xavier Gissendanner of Irondequoit shoots against Tappan Zee during the NYSPHSAA Class A basketball championship at the Cool Insuring Arena in Glens Falls.

What it means

Coach Cardon will end his 37-year coaching career as one of the state's most winningest coaches with 523 wins.

This was Cardon's fourth Section V title team, and third roster he's guided to the state final four since winning the title in 2017. The 2011 section title was Irondequoit's first since 1945. His 2018 team advanced to the state semifinals.

While Irondequoit's ended at 22-5, Section I champion Tappan Zee (25-2) will advance to the next week's Federation tournament. Gaine guided the Dutchmen to not only the program's first state title, but the first NYS crown for a Section I program.

Players of the game

Xavier Gissendanner

Irondequoit's senior forward led the team with 18 points on 7-of-16 shooting. He made one 3-pointer and pulled down eight rebounds. Gissendanner was the only Eagle in double figures.

Sean Berrigan

The Tappan Zee star scored a game-high 20 points. He shot 7-of-10 from the floor, 4-of-7 from the free throw line, made two 3s and grabbed six rebounds. Berrigan and three of his fellow starters played the entire 32 minutes.

Game balls

Isaiah Ballard

The junior forward had six points and eight rebounds in the state final. Ballard also dished out two assists.

Ryan Heath

Irondequoit's senior point guard scored seven points and four assists. Heath sat down a couple of times after picking up his second foul in the second quarter and third foul less than three minutes into the third quarter. He fouled late in the game.

Jack Maloney

The Tappan Zee star scored 18 points and had five rebounds. He shot 7-of-14 from the floor and made two 3s. Defensively, Maloney was part of a stifling unit that allowed just four second-half field goals.

Tappan Zee celebrates after defeating Irondequoit 49-36 to win the NYSPHSAA Class A basketball championship at the Cool Insuring Arena in Glens Falls March 17, 2023.
Tappan Zee celebrates after defeating Irondequoit 49-36 to win the NYSPHSAA Class A basketball championship at the Cool Insuring Arena in Glens Falls March 17, 2023.

Key moments

Gissendanner hit a timely 3-pointer that gave the Eagles a six-point second quarter lead. Quinn VanKerkhove and Isaiah Ballard were in a scrum for the ball against some Dutchmen players. Ballard gained possession and dished to Gissendanner wide open beyond the arc, nailing the 3 for a 22-16 lead.

The Eagles led 22-20 with 5:27 left in the third when Heath left the game with his third foul. Tappan Zee stepped its defensive pressure up and outscored Irondequoit 14-4 in the third and. The Dutchman led by as many as 13 points in the fourth.

This article originally appeared on Rochester Democrat and Chronicle: Irondequoit coach Cardon's career ends in state championship game