J-D rips Burnt Hills, returns to state final four

It's all become part of the annual routine for the Jamesville-DeWitt boys basketball team -- dominate in the regular season, sprint to the Section III Class A title, then prevail in the regional round and earn another trip to the state final four.

Still in line to earn its third consecutive state championship, the Red Rams moved to 22-0 with a 67-32 destruction of Section II champion Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake in last Saturday's Class A regional final at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy.

J-D now returns to Glens Falls Civic Center to try and finish off the state three-peat. On Saturday morning at 9 a.m., the Red Rams meet another undefeated team, Section I champion Red Hook (22-0), in the semifinals, with the winner to get Newark (Section V) or Westbury (Section VIII) in Sunday's 1 p.m. title game.

Burnt Hills, a surprising sectional champion with a modest record of 11-11, had played the night before, scraping past Massena 39-31. So while the Spartans were playing its second game in less than 24 hours, J-D had rested since its 68-50 win over Nottingham in the Section III Class A final on March 7, and came in with a full store of energy.

Right away, the Rams knew it would have an inside advantage. Sophomore center DaJuan Coleman, with his 6-8, 280-pound frame, squared off with two 6-5 Burnt Hills forwards, Zach Morton and Jacob Meyers, and it wasn't close.

Coleman (wearing no. 25 instead of his normal no. 32) made 10 of the 14 field goals he attempted, finishing with 23 points to go with 15 rebounds and two blocks. His inside baskets quickly established J-D's superiority as the Rams took a 20-7 lead before the first quarter was done.

When Coleman went to the bench in the second quarter, J-D stumbled a bit, but a ramped-up man-to-man defense to start the second half produced the decisive avalanche.

In the third quarter alone, the Rams had 30 points. Coleman dominated -- but at the same time, Lamar Kearse got hot, the senior guard putting up 17 points by the time it was done, including a trio of successful 3-pointers.

By mixing up defenses, J-D kept Burnt Hills baffled and frustrated. Of the 53 shots it attempted, the Spartans only made 11, for a measly 20.8 percent total. The Rams' pressure also forced 18 turnovers.

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