Saturday, March 7, 2015

It just wasn't meant to be

Basketball season is over at Troy High, my alma mater. It ended on a pair of sour notes, as both the men's & women's teams dropped Class A finals this afternoon.

When I arrived at Hudson Valley Community College for the women's title game, I was apprised of the end result to the boys' game, played in Guilderland. Defending champion Scotia won their 4th straight A title in a walk. I'm told the final margin was in double digits. That meant the girls had to win to salvage what otherwise was a lost afternoon.

Unfortunately, it didn't happen. Like the boys did vs. CBA in the 2012 Class AA game, Troy ran out to a 12 point lead after 1, but saw it whittled to 9 at the half. Averill Park kept fighting to the very end, and with under a minute scored the game winner. A last second lay-up by Troy came up short, and Averill Park walked out a 58-56 winner. It was an edge of your seat thriller, much like last year's Troy-Scotia boys game, which went to double OT before the Tartans won.

However, the implication implied in today's Troy Record suggests that Scotia, which didn't need any help from the officials, got it anyway with a "controversial" foul called on Troy star Zach Radz in the 2nd OT frame that led to the game winning points. It can't be proven, of course, but why in the world does it have to happen at the high school level? We see it in college and pro games too often, games decided by questionable calls just because of a team or player's reputation. Bollocks! The game should be decided by the 10 players on the court, not the guys in the striped shirts, whose objectivity becomes second-and-third guessed by the losing team's alumni and fan bases.

In the women's game, credit goes to Averill Park for not giving up after falling behind by as much as 14 during the game. They kept coming back. Oh, sure, some of the fouls were of the ticky-tack variety that one fan sitting a few feet away from me said usually aren't called during the sectionals. I think the officials wanted to send a message. That being, we're going to call it like we would in the regular season. Which is exactly how it should be done.

Next year, with Troy entering the Suburban Council, the women will have a chance to avenge this wrenching loss, depending on the schedule. I haven't seen any highlights of the boys' game, but I know I'll read about it in the morning. Scotia, representing the Foothills Council, may not see Troy again until next year's tournament, barring a preseason tourney that both teams would be invited to. Their best player, Joe Cremo, graduates this June, so the question lies with the Tartans. Can they continue their recent run of success?

Two years ago, when Troy won the AA boys title and the A girls title, neither team, to my knowledege, was invited to march in the Flag Day parade. That snub, for all we know, might be a bad omen that has haunted them ever since. Now comes the familiar refrain that sports fans know so well.

"Wait 'til next year".

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