Westhampton vs. Wadleigh 3/29/98|
Federation CLASS B State Final
Westhampton 62 Wadleigh 51
Glens Falls - The buzzer sounded as sophomore Bronson Martin
tossed the ball high enough to glance off the Glens Falls Civic Center
scoreboard. Then he led a pile of Westhampton boys basketball players at
center court. The final piece to that warm huddle - 6-5 senior Jermain
Hollman - rested on top of all the others, his arms extended and his
inviting grin wide for the charging cameras to capture.
This will forever be the final moments of a glorious championship
season for the Westhampton boys basketball team, which survived a scare
from PSAL champ Wadleigh, 62-51, last night in the state Federation
Class B title game.
The Hurricanes, the state public schools champions, finished 28-0
and with one of the more memorable runs by a Long Island team in recent
memory. They also become the first public school from Long Island to win
a Federation title since Bridgehampton took the Class D championship in
"It's assumed the Catholic and the private schools are automatically
better than the public schools," Westhampton coach Rich Wrase said. "But
I think there is something to the closeness we have. We've played
together for five years."
Hollman proved a final time just how valuable he has been over five
seasons. After missing his first five shots, Hollman hit his next six
and carried the Hurricanes whenever they needed a spark. He was named
tournament MVP for a night that included 22 points (10-for-16 shooting),
8 rebounds, 4 assists and poise.
"I watched him the other day, and I told my guys that's who we
needed to key in on," Wadleigh coach Steve Romagnoli said. "We wanted to
double him whenever he got the ball in the post. But we were a step or
two slower than him."
But years of work toward this precious goal looked to be unraveling
before a raucous crowd of 2,000 midway through the third quarter.
Wadleigh senior Kendal Hannon hit only net with a three-point attempt
and backed away from the arc with a swagger in his step. It sent shrieks
through the Civic Center and put the Tigers in front for the first time,
39-38, with 2:55 to go.
Then came another blow to the Hurricanes. Senior point guard Dale
Menendez was hit with his second charging call of the quarter with 1:36
left, his fourth foul of the game. He would sit on the bench for the
next 3:08. Six-foot-six forward Dwayne Sanders then collected his fourth
foul with under a minute to go in the third and also went to the bench.
"We put it all on the line against St. Mary's in the semifinal, and
I didn't know how much was left in our tank," said Wrase, whose team has
been playing at playoff intensity for more than six weeks. "I felt we
had a quarter of a tank left. But a quarter of a tank got us through the
Up stepped junior Jeremy Liggon to fill in for Menendez against the
swarming Tigers' press and in came 6-3 senior Mike Ford, who pulled down
key rebounds. They were stop-gap measures that held off Wadleigh (26-1).
"Teams don't press us like that," said senior Jason Ritchie, who
was named to the All-Tournament team. "I wasn't worried when Dale went
out. Jeremy is a great player, and he played great when we needed it."
Meanwhile, Hollman worked his magic. Twice he broke ties in the
final two minutes of the third, the last by making 1 of 2 free throws
with 26 seconds left, making it 42-41. It was the last time Wadleigh
held a share of the lead.
After 5-7 junior dynamo James Parks - who had a game-high 23
points, but only five in the second half - drilled a three to pull the
Tigers within 50-46 with 3:38 left in the game, Hollman countered with a
pair of inside baskets over the next 1:15 to seemingly break Wadleigh's
Not to be lost in the war of unbeatens was the play of Menendez, who
had 14 points, 7 assists and 6 rebounds. When he wasn't scoring,
Menendez helped set up his teammates with penetrating drives and crisp
passes. He also passed up on chances to go over 1,000 points in his
three-year career. Asked about coming up one point short of the
exclusive scoring plateau, Menendez shrugged: "This is the way I wanted
it to end, with a championship."
STATE FEDERATION CLASS B Championship
Wadleigh: Mack 1-0-2, Rahman 1-4-6, Hannon 2-0-5, Walters 5-2-12, Morris
1-1-3, Parks 9-0-23. Totals: 19-7-51.
|Team||First QT||Second QT||Third QT||Fouth QT||Total|
Westhampton: Menendez 7-0-14, Hollman 10-2-22, Ritchie 2-5-10,
Sanders 1-1-3, Martin 1-0-2, Liggon 1-3-5, Ford 3-0-6. Totals: 25-11-62.
Three-point goals - Wadleigh 6 (Parks 5, Hannon);
Westhampton 1 (Ritchie).