Glens Falls, N.Y. (NEWS10) — It’s been a dream season for the Ichabod Crane Riders boys basketball team, and they weren’t ready to wake up from that dream in the Class B state championship game Sunday afternoon.
The Riders faced an early 13-0 deficit against Friends Academy, but the bigger concern was Brett Richards’ first quarter exit due to injury. Thankfully for Ichabod, the senior big man returned at the start of the second quarter, and the Riders immediately began to chip away at a 19-6 hole after the first.
Richards picked up a few buckets inside and junior guard Alex Schmidt hit a couple threes to bring Ichabod within five at halftime, as Friends led 32-27 at the break.
While Gabe Ferencz led Friends with a game-high 21 points and Malachi Polson chipped in another 19, the Riders simply refused to lay down, finally taking their first lead with 5:41 to go in the game thanks to strong defense into transition opportunities.
The Riders led by as many as six in the final minutes of the game with Richards leading the way with 19 points and 17 rebounds while Schmidt added another 19 points, but Friends wasn’t ready to head home either.
They got it back within one at 63-62 with six seconds to go and Jack Mullins headed to the line, and Mullins missed the free throw and grabbed his own rebound to seal the first state championship for the Riders in school history.
“I couldn’t ask for anything more this is the best possible way we could’ve gone out,” Richards said. “Ending my season on a win, ending my season as a state champion, I never dreamed I could get here, even in the state tournament so to win it means everything and I have to thank my team, my coaches, and everyone who supported me along the way.”
“We’re winners,” Schmidt said. “We fought this whole sectionals, this whole regionals, whole states, everyone’s banged up but we just pulled through together and our teammates have our backs and we know that.”