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Sandstoners race past Larries

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POTSDAM — The Potsdam Central boys basketball team made setting the tone a priority heading into Wednesday night’s overall Section 10 high school basketball semifinal against St. Lawrence Central.

“The kids came out and got the job done in the first quarter. We led 28-0 and after that things got a little sloppy at times for us at both ends after that, but we’re happy with the win. Now we have a chance to play for a second straight overall championship and that means a lot to the kids,” said coach Steve Kmack after the Sandstoners relayed their overwhelming start into an 82-45 decision over the Larries at SUNY Potsdam’s Jerry Welsh Gymnasium.

With the win, the Class B champion Sandstoners improved to 19-2 overall and advanced to the overall final for the third season in a row where they will go up against Class D champion Madrid-Waddington on Friday back at Jerry Welsh Gym starting at 8 p.m.

M-W knocked off Class A champion Franklin Academy 64-59 in the other semifinal on Wednesday.

The Larries, who were playing in their first-ever overall semifinal after claiming their breakthrough Class C title last weekend with a third win over longtime NAC rival Brushton-Moira, slipped to 13-8 as they get set to make their New York State playoff debut on Saturday, March 10, at SUNY Canton in a quarterfinal round game against the winner of a first-round game between the Section 2 and Section 7 champions.

“We expected this to be a tough one,” said SLC coach Joey Reome. “Potsdam has a state playoff game to get ready for and we do too.”

“Still, this was a good test for us. You take away the first quarter and we scored 45 points in just three quarters. We were understandably nervous at the beginning but we settled down and kept working hard. We’re just not use to playing teams with the size, speed and aggressiveness of Potsdam,” he added.

Senior forward Josh Adams, who was later announced as a finalist for the Joe Jukoski Award as the outstanding all-around player in Section 10, led the Sandstoners with 28 points. Junior Konnor Bigwarfe opened the scoring two minutes into the game with the first of his six three-pointers en route to netting 20 points. Senior Mike Chambers connected for another 14 points followed by Owen Mitchell with nine, Lee Buchanan with eight, Shawn Clark with two and Tom Hobbs with one.

Zane Ramsdell paced the SLC offense with 10 points. Nate Cole and Donovan Patraw added eight points apiece followed by Josh White with seven. Tyler Savage and Regan Dunbar chipped in five points each while Jesse Greer accounted for the other two.

After generating 28 unanswered points in the first, the Sandstoners made it 30-0 to open the second before Ramsdell finished a strong drive to the basket with a left-handed lay-up 51 seconds into the quarter for the first two points of the night for the Larries.

The teams went on to score 16 points each in the quarter and the Sandstoners gradually pulled away from their 41-16 halftime lead for the win.

“I’m very proud of our kids. We’ve had a very good year when you consider how much we lost from last year’s team,” noted Kmack, who will be guiding the Sandstoners into the state tournament starting next Tuesday night at SUNY Plattsburgh against a Section 7 champion that will be decided this weekend between Plattsburgh High and Saranac Central.

NOTES: Chateaugay’s Michael Boyea earned the Joe Juskoski Award. The other finalists along with Adams of Potsdam were Troy Myers of Massena and Kyle Binion of Lisbon. The Glenn Bisselle Team Sportsmanship Award went to St. Lawrence Central. Coach Reome was honored as the North Division Coach of the Year for guiding the Larries to their first league title since the mid-1970s.

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