SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — Though they headed into Wednesday night's Class A regional match-up undefeated , the Scotia Tartans still seemed like they would still have their work cut out for them with a clear size disadvantage down low against their Section X champion opponent, Massena.
The defending Section II Class A champions, a team that has long been predicated on defensive excellence, made it their primary objective to eliminate second chance opportunities for the Raiders' big men. The tactic proved effective in leading the Tartans to a pummeling 89-46 win at Saratoga Springs High School, where they held the Raiders to only seven offensive boards for the night. Scotia's outstanding performance on the glass led them to outrebound the Raiders 37-27 overall.
Behind that effort, four of the Tartans went on to score double digits by the final whistle. Sophomore forward Joe Cremo led all scorers with 28 points. He also grabbed seven rebounds and made seven assists. Senior guard Andrew Tabbert recorded a triple-double with 15 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Juniors Dom LeMorta and Alex Sausville each added 14 points.
Early in the first Massena's Rhodes Tarbell knocked down a score-tying field goal, but the 3-3 score would be as close as his team would come all game. Shortly after, Scotia leapt out to a 9-3 lead after capitalizing on fast-break opportunities that would set the pace of the competition. LeMorta knocked down his third 3-pointer from the corner to cap the first quarter and put his team up 23-11.
Massena made a brief 5-0 comeback attempt at the beginning of the second half, having gone into halftime down 46-19. Scotia effectively halted that momentum before they were able to really take off after Head Coach Jim Giammattei called a timeout.
For Scotia's big win, it was attention to the small thing that made all the difference. On the defensive end, boxing out to grab the rebound was the focus; on the other end of the court, it was staying patient to make the extra pass for a true open look at the hoop. Not surprisingly, they finished with 20 assists as a team.
Scotia will now head to Syracuse, where they will meet Section III and defending Class B state champion Bishop Ludden at 8 p.m. Saturday.