Saugerties basketball repeats as MHAL champs

S901 team photo sIn a game that was closer than it should have been, the Saugerties boys’ basketball team repeated as Mid-Hudson Athletic League champions after defeating Spackenkill 65-54 on Feb. 26 at SUNY Ulster.

Several nights earlier the Sawyers defeated FDR to win their division and get into the MHAL playoffs and then cross-river rival Red Hook to get into the finals with a chance to repeat.

Spackenkill, which narrowly defeated Coleman to make the finals, came out right from the opening tip-off, which they won, and got a quick two points. Saugerties committed a foul and it was quickly 3-0 Spartans.

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Saugerties was getting the chances and taking the shots but nothing drop during the first two minutes of play, until Darnell Edge popped in two points.

Junior Dondre Francis then netted three of his six points, and at the end of the first quarter it was knotted at 12 all.

Both teams came out playing sloppy ball in the second period, with Saugerties managing to take a one point lead with two minutes gone in the quarter.

After Curtis Jorgensen’s three-pointer at the 3:20 mark, it was pretty much all over for the Spartans. Of course they didn’t know it at the time. But from then on out, every time they got close Saugerties would pull away to keep the game out of reach.

At the half it was 32-22 Saugerties and the Sawyers started coasting.

When the game recommenced Edge came out and hit two quick baskets and it was 34-22.

Spackenkill managed to put Saugerties off its usual game, which calls for scoring points from the paint. The Sawyers were forced to make their points from outside. This approach normally hurts the Sawyers because outside shooting is not one their strong suits, but the players stepped up their game and started netting threes. Sophomore Omar Mazariego dropped in two three-pointers before the third period drew to a close. Saugerties was up 43-31.

At the 5:20 mark of the final quarter Saugerties increased its lead to 50-36 but then the wheels came off their bus and the Spartans were able to mount a quality attack.

Saugerties defense lost its way and Spackenkill managed to pull to within three, 52-49, with three minutes left in the game.

Shawn Jansen then stepped up and seized control of the game, hitting a two-pointer, getting fouled and dropping in two points from the charity line, and then pulling down two big rebounds.

Three minutes later the final buzzer sounded and Saugerties had won its second straight MHAL championship.

“The second championship is just as good as the first,” head coach Mike Tiano gushed after the game.

“Now we have to go out and win the regionals,” Tiano added.

Darnell Edge finished with 21 points and was named the tournament’s most valuable player. Other scoring: Paton Gibbs – 14, Dondre Francis and Omar Mazariego – 6, Nick Teitter, Shawn Jansen, and Curtis Jorgensen – 5, and Darius Edwards – 2.

The Sawyers were scheduled to play Port Jervis in the opening round of the regionals today but inclement weather pushed the game back to March 4.