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Tupper Lake Boys shades Lisbon in OT; Canton, Harrisville roll to title

Feb. 24—Lisbon and Tupper Lake produced a stage full of drama on Friday evening at SUNY Potsdam's Maxcy Hall where the top ranked NAC East Champion Lumberjacks secured the Section 10 Class C title with a 60-56 overtime victory.

The Lumberjacks won their first sectional title and state tournament berth since 2014 and denied the Golden Knights' all-out bid for their program's first postseason crown since a Class D title in 2005.

"This was such a big win for our program and our community. Lisbon was so well prepared they knew our plays as well as we did," said Tupper Lake Coach Brian Bennett.

"This victory started when these guys were playing in fifth grade together. They get together 20 weekends a year to play together and they are always playing. This was our first sectional basketball title since 2014. It hasn't happened a lot at our school and these guys really went after it.

The Class D and Class B titles were secured by Harrisville and Canton matching the dominant fashion in which they won NAC West and NAC Central Division titles. Harrisville downed Chateaugay 60-39 and Canton bested Potsdam 67 36.

Friday's winners joined Class A Champion Massena in the state tournament and in the playoff for the Overall Section 10 Crown. The semi-finals will be staged on Tuesday at Maxcy Hall.

Canton (19-3) will play Tupper Lake (19-3) at 5 p.m. and Massena (15-7) and Harrisville (20-2) will play the second game following the Northern Conference Boys Basketball Awards Presentation. The Overall Section 10 Championship Game will be played on Friday.

CLASS C

Tupper Lake scored an 83-50 nonleague win over Lisbon during the regular season. The Lumberjacks showed every intention of repeating the one-sided win when their two 1000-point scorers, Tom Peterson and Mikey Corneau, buried back to back 3's for a 21-7 lead in the second quarter.

But the Golden Knights' 1000-point scorer Cooper Rutherford answered with two quick inside scores and AJ Donaldson connected twice and the margin was cut to 22-17.

The Lumberjacks re-upped their lead to 30-20 at half but Isaiah White revived Lisbon hitting back to back 3's to open the second half. The Knights closed within two points and later staged a stirring comeback after falling behind 47-39 with 5:10 to play. Rutherford converted four drives down the lane and after Tupper Lake missed some close range shots AJ Donaldson created a 52-52 tie with a majestic nothing-but-net three-pointer with 46.2 seconds to play.

The Knights earned a shot at the buzzer which wouldn't go down sending the game into overtime where Tom Peterson scored five points and Tyler LaPlante dropped in two free throws after a steal under the defensive backboard with 6.1 seconds to secure the 60-56 win.

"I can't say enough about the way the guys battled and battled. We lost 80-53 at their place but we never gave up. Tonight we just battled and battled again and came very close to getting the win," said Lisbon Coach Bob Jordan.

"Tupper Lake is a very good team and Tom Peterson is just a great guard. We had a lot of guys make big plays we just came up a little short."

Peterson made three of four free throws in the overtime and finished with a game-high 26 points with eight assists, six rebounds and two steals and three times converted his own missed shot on the offensive boards.

"We have the kind of team which works so hard and we don't get down. Tonight we lost the lead but we stayed positive. Tyler LaPlante went to the line at the end and we have all the confidence in the world in him and he made the shots," said Peterson.

Mikey Corneau buried six of nine 3-point attempts scoring 24 points and Tyler LaPlante (6 steals) and Garrett Pelkey (5 rebounds) rounded out the scoring with six and four points. Ashton Clark grabbed a team-high nine rebounds.

"Tom Peterson really led us today. I want the ball in his hands as much as possible," said Tupper Lake Coach Brian Bennett.

Cooper Rutherford delivered a 21-point, 10-rebound, 3 assist double-double for Lisbon and AJ Donaldson buried three 3s in an 18-point, 7-rebound, 4-steal effort to complete an outstanding freshman season for the Knights. Isaiah White netted two 3s for six points and Connor Bell scored four points with six rebounds and three blocks and had Lisbon's lone field goal in overtime. Lucas Gravlin sank two free throws in overtime in a five-point effort for the Knights and Connor Flack added two points complementing an exhaustive on the ball matchup with Peterson.

Gravlin, Bell, Flack, Coby Mills and Hayden Vesel all completed their basketball careers as Lisbon finished the season at 16-6.

CLASS B

Saturday's Class B Championship game was billed as a race to 50 between two reigning champions. Defending Class B Champion Potsdam and NAC Central Champion Canton which won the Class C crown last season and Class B laurels in 2022.

The race never developed as Canton sprinted out of the blocks and matched its season-long defensive prowess with its best offensive outing of the season. The Bears took an 18-0 lead after one quarter and held the Sandstoners scoreless until explosive freshman guard Ian VanWagner converted a hanging drive to the goal 4:06 before the half which ended with a 38-7 lead for Canton which went on to a 67-35 win.

Guard Ryan Jones opened the Bears' run with lefthanded and righthanded drives to the goal and finished it with a reverse layup at the first quarter buzzer. Ethan Francey complemented signature defensive efforts by hitting 3-pointers on back to back trips down the floor early in the quarter where he tallied eight points combining with Jones who tallied 10 for all of Canton's points.

"We played man-to-man defense and we really locked everything down," said Canton Coach Troy Lassial.

"And we had a big game hitting our shots. If we play defense like that and shoot like that we are very tough to beat. We picked a great time to have a great shooting night and Ryan Jones did a great job of setting people up. He has such great court vision."

Potsdam Coach Justin Todd concurred while citing his very young team for a fine season.

"It was just one of those games. Canton played great defense like they always do

and they hit just kept hitting shots while we couldn't get anything to fall," said Coach Todd.

Jones tallied 22 points which included 6-7 free throw shooting and Francey finished with 12 points. Zadock Roiger buried two 3s scoring nine of his 17 points in the second quarter and other scoring came from Talon Green (5), Paul Redfern (3), Charlie Todd (2) and Jackson Ames (6).

VanWagner, who became the first eighth grader in the history of Section 10 Basketball to reach 1000 points last season, scored 20 of his game-high 27 points in the second half and buried three of his four 3-pointers in the fourth quarter.

"It was great to finally have a big scoring night and I think it all came from practice. We had five great practices this week and we really came out and played with great intensity," said Ryan Jones.

"Ethan Francey is an outstanding player but he doesn't look to shoot alot. So when he hit the those 3-pointers early in the game that was really big for us."

Theo Hughes tallied six points for Potsdam (15-7) and Dylan LaMora added two.

CLASS D

Harrisville came out of the first quarter of the Class D Championship game with an 11-10 lead over Chateaugay (17-5) and the Bulldogs' explosive guard Jake Johnston had tallied all of their points.

That is not what Harrisville Coach Brian Coloney wanted to see and he conveyed his feelings to his team.

And like they have done all year, the number two state-ranked Pirates responded at both ends of the court.

Junior guard Liam Winters led the tightening of the defense, which featured three players with eight or more rebounds, to a vice grip intensity. The Pirates limited Johnston to seven points for the remainder of the game and Harrisville's Tanner Sullivan buried a 3-pointer and converted three drop-step shots down the lane to spark a 19-4 second quarter run which was the launch point for a 60-39 victory.

"I was really pumped to guard Jake because I knew if I could stop him some that we would win the game. We played great defense and offense as a team," said Winters.

"We have an excellent team and it is so much fun to play with Tanner and Nolan Sullivan because they do everything so well."

It was the 15th Class D crown in the storied history of Harrisville Boys Basketball since the Section 10 Tournament was reorganized in the 1974-75 season to adapt to the arrival of state tournament play.

Pirate teams also won Class C titles in 1977 and 1978.

Tanner Sullivan finished with 16 points, eight rebounds, three blocks and two assists and led a balanced and diversified offense. Joe Sheppard (5 rebounds) worked the interior for 15 points, Aidan Chartrand (8 rebounds, 3 assists) delivered 11 points and Winters buried three 3s in an eight point effort. Nolan Sullivan tallied six points with a team-high nine rebounds and Brendan Loos and Brody Smith each chipped on two.

"Our defense was pretty good tonight. Liam Winters did a great job staying with Jake Johnston and our help was always there. Chateaugay is a good team they move their hands well and they play hard," said Harrisville Coach Brian Coloney.

"They are young and they have improved a lot."

Along with scoring 17 points, Chateaugay's Johnston, who scored 44 points in a semi-final win over Morristown, also added eight rebounds, three steals and two blocks. Daniel Strange and Peter Reynolds each tallied five points for the Bulldogs. Dylan Bashaw (4 rebounds) and Cam Kenison each tallied three, Grant Locklin snatched four steals and Cameron Dumas added two points.

"I am proud of the way we played. We gave it everything we had and never quit. But Harrisville is a special team and they have a lot of size," said Chateaugay Coach Jason LaPlante who will lose only two seniors from this year's squad.

"I have all the respect in the world for the Harrisville program. We have a young team and we will be back."