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Red Raiders Run Ends in Glens Falls

Glens Falls, NY After beating the favored Aquinas Institute last weekend at the Far West Regionals the Jamestown Red Raiders were playing with house money. The big win at Buffalo State last Saturday earned Jamestown a shot at the NYSPHSAA Boys Basketball Class AA Finals here at Cool Insuring Arena located north of Albany. All that stood in the way was a very talented Green Tech Eagles team who hail from this neck of the woods.

Unfortunately for the Red Raiders it ended in a 61-31 defeat on the biggest stage this team has been on since 2014.

“By far this was the best team we’ve played this year,” Ben Drake said after the game. “They were very good at both ends of the floor. Making it very difficult for us. We didn’t come out well offensively, we had a real tough time communicating.”

Watching courtside it was easy to see from the beginning that the Eagles (21-2) were going to be a tough match-up for the Section VI champs. For starters there was 6’8 big man Henry Perkins. Picture a mini Shaq O’Neal with a side of Charles Barkley and that’s what you had with Perkins. It took him a while to get going, but once the train was on the tracks the Red Raiders became passengers. He finished with just four points, all in the first few minutes of the second half, but his eight rebounds proved critical.

“He is a big man,” Drake said. ” He did a great job of staying vertical and he’s well coached. Made everything difficult under the basket.” Perkins was a challenge. Even when Jamestown went at him to draw fouls they would literally bounce off.

The Eagles played as good a first quarter as they had hoped, outscoring Jamestown 12-3 in the opening stanza. Their only mistake was leaving Trey Drake open for a last second three-pointer to close out the quarter. Head Coach Ben Drake made some adjustments and a quick but assertive speech in between quarters sparked some life into his squad.

The Red Raiders began crawling back into the game. Butera and Farmer began hitting their shots. The aggressiveness of each player getting down on the floor, diving for loose balls was apparent. The Eagles saw the momentum starting to slip as they took a much slimmer 21-15 lead into halftime.

The Red Raiders (20-4) got within four points of the Eagles at the start of the third but that’s when the Eagles, bigger, faster and more athletic side began to show. They had their wake up call, answered the phone and pulled away. That was about the same time the Red Raiders had to go to their bench as the fouls started to add up.

Besides Perkins, presenting issues for Jamestown was senior Zaveon Little who finished with a game high 18 points. Little started to take over in the second half, particularly in the 3rd quarter where the Eagles outscored Jamestown 18-7. Haisi Mayben one of three freshman playing for the Eagles was the games second leading scorer with 14.

“We knew they had two of the best players in the Albany area. We played hard, which was the hallmark of our success, tough, good defense, we just didn’t have enough offense to get the job done offensively,”

With the loss it was also the end of a run for one of WNY’s most dominant high school athletes in Jaylen Butera. The Mercyhurst football commit finished with a team high 10 points.

This wasn’t a team built around one player though, the Red Raiders had a cast of characters that were easy to root for. From Jaral Farmer, Andre Maple, Drayce Garland all the way through to Trey Drake. These were good boys that played their hearts out over the past month. They just ran into a better team, nothing more, nothing less. It happens at these state tournaments. Hearts are broken for many but the memories made throughout the season and especially these last few weekends last much longer then the sting of defeat.

There’s no telling where each of these kids will go from here but their futures look bright having lived through a memorable season.

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