continued New Hartford would go cold at the start of the second half, unable to make any kind of shot, inside or outside, for more than three minutes. Donnelly said his team stopped watching rebounds and started to shore up its work on the glass, denying the Spartans second and third opportunities.
As this went on, Ludden spread around baskets, outscoring the Spartans 16-6 in the third quarter. It got four points apiece from Hawk and Rauch, and capped it with a fast break capped off by Kaigler’s second powerful dunk of the night.
The Gaelic Knights carried a 38-27 edge to the final quarter, but the Spartans tried to rally as the Henderson brothers both made 3-pointers to cut the margin to seven, 42-35, with more than five minutes left.
Once more, Ludden would have a timely answer, and it came from Hackett. Held to two field goals so far, he delivered a trio of baskets in the fourth quarter, augmented by five more points from Hawk, that made it 49-35 and put it out of the Spartans’ reach.
Hackett, named the tournament MVP, had 10 of his 14 points in that final period, while Hawk picked up 12 points. Kaigler had nine points as Littlejohn gained eight points, Walser seven points and Rauch six points. New Hartford’s Mark Chanatry led both sides with 16 points.
Ludden will return to Onondaga Community College’s SRC Arena this Saturday night to face the Section II/X survivor (Scotia-Glenville or Massena) in the Class A regional final at 8:15.
One more win brings the Gaelic Knights back to the state final four in Glens Falls, where Donnelly will be inducted into the New York State Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame - and just might work from the bench, too.