continued Still, F-M stayed close behind T.J. Wheatley and John Schurman, who scored the team’s first 10 points of the second quarter. Guards Jake Wittig and Louis Avellino hit back-to-back threes in the final 40 seconds of the half to put the Hornets in front 32-30 going to the break.
The opening sequence of the second half suggested that F-M had shaken off any lasting nerves. Avellino, the top man in the zone, forced a turnover and nailed a three at the other end to give F-M a 35-30 lead.
However, the Raiders responded with 10-0 run, capped by Narron Harvey’s thunderous dunk.
Avellino hit another three at the 5:08 mark to end the Hornets’ dry spell, and sub Cormac Bettinger put in an easy layup to give the Hornets a momentary lead at 42-41.
Proctor had an answer for every F-M basket, as Chris Simmons responded with a three-point play of his own. The Raiders took a 51-47 advantage into the final period, and never looked back.
Avellino and Schurman did their best to shoot the Hornets back into the game, but the stroke that propelled F-M in the previous game did not show up at Le Moyne.
Proctor entered the foul bonus early in the fourth quarter, and kept the Hornets at arm's length until the final buzzer.
“We just didn't shoot it,” Blackford said. “Credit Proctor for getting two feet up closer to us on our shots, contesting all the shots.”
Avellino finished with a team-high 16 points, and Schurman, who passed 1,000 career points this season, contributed 14 points despite struggling from behind the arc.
The Hornets say farewell to seniors Tomer Nesher, who had 11 points, and Parker Harris, a regular contributor off the bench. They will also lose the services of Wheatley, who moves to Buffalo next year.
They also might be without Blackford, who hinted that this 31st year of coaching may be his last.
“I'm going to take some time off and decide where I'm going to head, what I want to do right now. You can't make decisions when you're emotional. I do know that this is a great group of kids. They're a great team, probably one of the better teams I've had in my coaching career.”
Proctor will square off against Henninger for the Class AA championship, the third straight year that the Raiders and Black Knights battle for the title.