Christian Brothers Academy’s grit and determination couldn’t match Mount Vernon’s speed and athleticism.
The Knights outscored the Brothers 30-12 in the fourth quarter to pull away for a 68-42 victory in Saturday’s state Class AA semifinal game at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
“The better team won today,” said CBA coach Dave Doemel.
The Brothers (21-3) kept the game close into the fourth quarter, but they couldn’t maintain their defensive intensity and started giving up easy breakaways to the Knights (23-2).
“They dictated the tempo the whole game,” said CBA guard Christian Leppanen. “It was working for us early, but we lost our legs.”
CBA got off to a good start. Joe Krong hit a pair of three-pointers, and the Brothers defense forced Mount Vernon into missing its first six shots as CBA built a 6-0 lead in the first quarter.
The rest of the first half was a taught affair. Mount Vernon started hitting its shots by driving through CBA’s defense, while the Brothers countered with clutch outside shots from Krong and Earl Ricketts.
The momentum swung Mount Vernon’s way late in the second quarter, though. The Knights turned three CBA turnovers into layups at the other end as part of a 10-0 run that gave the Section I champions a 23-17 halftime lead.
“I thought the crucial part of the game was at the end of the second quarter,” said Doemel. “We had the (17-13) lead, and we had four or five bad trips offen-sively and defensively.”
Mount Vernon threatened to pull away in the third quarter, but CBA was determined to stay in the game. Three-pointers by Leppanen and Chaz Lott helped spark an 11-4 run that trimmed the Knights’ lead to 33-30 late in the third quarter.
Mount Vernon quickly re-asserted control over CBA, though. Qwadere Lovell drained a three-pointer, and Randy Stephens slammed home a dunk off an alley-oop pass to put the Knights ahead 38-30.