PLATTSBURGH — Watervliet would go on a little run Wednesday, and Beekmantown would come up with a run of its own to stay close.
Until the fourth quarter.
Then the Cannoneers outgunned the Eagles 16-4 and pulled away for a 53-37 win in the NYSPHSAA Class B boys’ basketball regional semifinals at the Plattsburgh State Field House.
“Our focus tonight was to try to slow them down, and I felt like we did that for three quarters,” Beekmantown coach Ryan Converse said. “We didn’t want to get into a running game with them. That was not our plan.
“And I think that was the difference in the game in the fourth quarter — they were able to get out and run a little bit. And that’s their style; that’s what they like to do.”
Jordan Gleason scored 19 to lead Watervliet (15-8), which advanced to play Ogdensburg Free Academy in Saturday’s regional finals. Keegan Ryan had 19 points for Beekmantown (13-8).
The Cannoneers led by three at halftime, and they started to distance themselves in the third, taking their biggest lead of the game, 35-26, in the middle of the quarter. Beekmantown’s Greg Manney hit a pull-up jumper at the top of the paint to stop the Watervliet spurt, and that sparked the Eagles to a 7-0 run. Ryan scored from right underneath the basket and then converted an and-1 on the next trip to make it 35-33, the closest Beekmantown had been since the opening minutes of the game.
“I was proud of our kids for the way they fought. They never gave up,” Converse said. “I don’t think that team was expecting a dog fight when they came in here. I don’t think the crowd was expecting a dog fight.
“And I was proud of our kids for the way that they came out and pushed them and made a game of it.”
Gleason got a big rebound and a putback near the end of the third to push Watervliet’s lead to four points. Early in the fourth, Shane Ray’s persistence paid off with a basket down low, and then the Cannoneers took advantage of bad turnover.
Gleason scored on a fast break to give Watervliet its biggest cushion to that point, 43-33, and then added to it by knocking down a triple with 4:15 left. Beekmantown didn’t score in the quarter until Tyler Begor hit a 3-pointer past the midway point.
Ryan was held scoreless in the fourth.
“I think in the fourth quarter, their pressure really got to us and we had trouble getting inside,” Ryan said. “The rest of the game we had gotten it inside to open it up for us.
“And then we committed turnovers, and they were able to get easy shots.”
Tyler McLeod scored 16 for the Cannoneers, and Ray added nine.
The Eagles closed the first quarter with an 8-3 spurt that put them within 17-14 at the end of the quarter.
Watervliet stretched it to 21-16 early in the second and looked to add to that when Gleason got down the court alone on the fast break. But Beekmantown’s Justin Stevens caught up just in time to bother Gleason on the layup and the putback, and he missed both.
Ty’Jon Gilmore buried an open three late in the quarter for a 6-point Watervliet lead. The Eagles pulled back within four by the half after they found Ryan on a nice look out of an inbounds play and Stevens made two at the line.
Stevens and Manney both finished the game with six points.
Beekmantown was making its first regional appearance since the 1996-97 season.
“I mean, besides I think our parents, no one in the gym really believed in us, and we had all the faith in the world in ourselves,” Ryan said. “We knew we were going to give them a game, and we left everything on the court.”
Watervliet 53, Beekmantown 37
Gleason 8-2-19, McLeod 5-5-16, Ray 4-1-9, Bruce 1-0-2, Gilmore 2-2-7, Parker 0-0-0, Dockstader 0-0-0, Dennis 0-0-0, Capitula 0-0-0, Lindsay 0-0-0. Totals: 20-10-53.
Begor 1-0-3, Koktowski 1-0-2, Manney 3-0-6, Pelkey 0-0-0, Rabideau 0-1-1, Remchuk 0-0-0, Ryan 8-3-19, Singh 0-0-0, Stevens 1-4-6, Trombly 0-0-0. Totals: 14-8-37.
Watervliet 17 10 10 16 — 53
Beekmantown 14 10 9 4 — 37
3-point goals: Watervliet (3): Gleason, McLeod, Gilmore. Beekmantown (1): Begor.
Email Courtney Lewis: email@example.com