ALBANY, N.Y. –Onlookers packed into the Albany Academy for Boys gym Monday to watch the highly-anticipated rematch between the Cadets and the Green Tech Eagles, both of whom held a 12-3 record.
Maintaining the competitive edge that made for a heated faceoff the last time the two schools met at Siena College in January, each team left it all on the court for the 32 minutes of playing time. There may not have been a league title at stake, but the sheer desire to win still led to five technical foul calls, just one shy of their first meeting when Albany Academy won 79-68. In this back-and-forth battle, however, the Eagles came out on top, besting their opponent in a 66-61 victory.
Green Tech trailed 24-19 early on, but went into the locker room feeling confident after having changed that momentum with an 11-0 run.
Coming out of the break, the Cadets then watched junior guard Jamil Hood Jr. open the half by draining a long range jumper.
Quick to respond, the Cadets took control of the court with a 17-3 surge of their own. The Academy squad was led in a large part by the efforts of junior center Marcus Jackson, who contributed 15 points, 12 rebounds and eight blocks. Also leading the team in scoring, senior guard Jack Morrow ended with 12 points.
Getting in on the action, the Eagles' junior guards Najee Ward and Jizziah Carr drained key 3-pointers throughout the fourth quarter. Green Tech still couldn't pull away from Cadets, despite the Academy's failure to convert on six of their 10 foul shot opportunities in the final stretch.
The score was tied with 90 seconds remaining, but having already lost to the Academy once this season, Tech refused to be denied. Doing what they do best, the Eagles revved up the pace to find and execute scoring opportunities in transition.
Led by Hood Jr., who finished with a game-high 21 points, the Eagles offense successfully broke the Cadets' pressure defense for a pair of big buckets. Hood Jr. slashed through the full court press, hitting senior guard Maurice West, who finished the transition layup. In their next possession, Hood Jr. drove the lane to connect with senior center Kristopher Clark for another basket.
After Monday's matchup, Green Tech now holds a 13-3 overall record, Albany Academy drops back to 12-4 overall.