Buddy Boeheim did all he could to carry the Jamesville-DeWitt boys basketball team back to the state Class A final four – and then nearly saw all his work undone.
Yet the Red Rams held on and, with a 65-62 victory over Section II champion Lansingburgh Saturday afternoon at SRC Arena, gave itself an opportunity to add yet another state championship to the five it already owns.
Boeheim finished with 40 points, the last three of them coming on a basket and free throw with 1:25 to play. That gave J-D a 60-51 edge, but like it had done so many times in this game, Lansingburgh would fight back.
An 8-1 run, helped by J-D turning it over and missing free throws, cut the Rams’ edge to two, 61-59. With Boeheim double-teamed, the ball had to go somewhere- and it went to Ronald Lewis, who atoned for one of those misses by hitting two foul shots with 21.2 seconds.
Lansingburgh’s Jio Canty added to the drama by converting a 3-pointer to cut J-D’s lead to 63-62. Fouled with 6.6 seconds to play, Matt Carlin calmly sank both free throws, and when Davonte Jones, who led the Knights with 24 points, saw a 3-pointer bounced off the rim in the waning seconds, the Rams had won.
Up until the last minute, Boeheim owned the narrative. Having recorded a triple-double in J-D’s Section III title-game win over Syracuse Academy of Science six days earlier, he took charge of the attack at the outset, hitting on 13 consecutive points in the first quarter.
Unfazed by this, Lansingburgh scored 11 straight points of its own to briefly go in front, 17-16, heading to the second period, but then the Boeheim show resumed. At one point late in the half, he had as many points (25) as the entire Knights squad.
Even with that, though, Lansingburgh again closed the gap as Jones’ 3-pointer at the horn cut J-D’s lead to 39-34 at halftime. The third quarter continued the pattern, with the Rams gaining a double-digit edge at 50-39 and the Knights scoring the last six points of the period in response.
Yet another Boeheim 3-pointer (he made seven of them overall) pushed the margin to 57-47 early in the final period. J-D maintained it until Lansingburgh made one more comeback attempt that fell just short.
Carlin’s big late free throws gave him 11 points on the day, while Terrence Echols got seven points. Aside from Jones, Canty, with 13 points, and Jahidi Wallace, with 10 points, were Lansingburgh’s top scorers.
If, indeed, J-D does win a sixth state title, it won’t do so at Glens Falls Civic Center. After three-plus decades at that venue, the state final four moves this year to Binghamton’s Floyd L. Maines Veterans Arena.
And on Saturday at 9 a.m. the Rams face Section V champion and state no. 1-ranked Irondequoit (Section V) in the state semifinals, with the winner advancing to Sunday’s title game at noon.