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Area athletes excelled in 2008

The Capital District sports scene provided plenty of storylines in 2008.

From Siena's NCAA basketball tournament run to the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake football team's trip to Syracuse's Carrier Dome, there was something interesting happening every season.

Here are the 2008 highlights:

Winter

The Siena Saints took the national stage by storm in their fourth trip to the NCAA men's basketball tournament. The 13th-seeded Saints defeated No. 4 Vanderbilt 82-61 in the opening round to reach the second round for only the second time in the program's history. Even though Siena lost to Villanova in the next round, it's dominating performance against a Vanderbilt team that was briefly ranked No. 1 in the nation will be the enduring memory.

In high school boys basketball, Bishop Maginn joined a select group of Section II teams to win a state title when it defeated Niagara Falls in the Class AA finals in Glens Falls. Along the way, the Golden Griffins knocked off Christian Brothers Academy in the Sectional final, though the Brothers made their own bit of history by reaching the championship game for the sixth consecutive year.

Guilderland nearly prevented CBA from getting to the Sectional finals. The Dutchmen who won the Suburban Council title with an undefeated record rallied several times before losing to the Brothers 56-55 in the Class AA semifinals.

Colonie also had an opportunity to get to the Sectional finals. The Garnet Raiders led Bishop Maginn by 10 points at halftime, only to be blown away 39-19 in the second half and fall to the Golden Griffins 60-50.

In other Sectional results, Voorheesville reached the Class CC finals before losing to Mechanicville, while Mohonasen and Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake got to the Class A semifinals before falling to Albany Academy and Bishop Maginn, respectively.

In girls basketball, Shenendehowa returned to the top of the Section II heap by beating Bethlehem 36-29 in the Class AA finals. The Plainsmen rallied from a three-point deficit in the fourth quarter by closing the game on a 10-0 run to win their first title in four years.

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