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Salamanca’s Magical Season Ends in Glens Falls

GLENS FALLS, N.Y. – For the first time in program history, Salamanca (17-8) boys’ basketball made it to the Class C state semifinal round. Unfortunately, that is where their season came to an end as they fell to Stillwater (23-3) 64-56 earlier today.

As the final buzzer sounded Salamanca head coach Adam Bennett and his team went to the locker room and had a long conversation with his players. Reminding his squad why this season was an historic moment to be apart of.

Salamanca won their first section title since 1968 and secured their first ever Far West Regional Championship in school history.

“I’m just so proud of them, their the most accomplished basketball team in the history of our school,” said Bennett. “Its earned…that’s who they are, their great kids, I’m sick to my stomach that they didn’t get to play for a state title.”

Sophomore Lucas Brown finished the day with 26 points throughout the contest while hitting four of his shots beyond the arc, he also added six steals. Junior Andy Herrick had 13 points while senior Hayden Hoag had six points and six steals.

Brown scored nine of his 26 points in the first quarter. His shooting while being fierce on the offensive glass kept the offense on the attack. Salamanca pushed out to an early 19-15 lead to end the first quarter.

Hoag Brothers hooking up, Hayden finds Harley for the swish .@SalamancaBB in front of Stillwater 14-13, Q1 | 1:25 pic.twitter.com/WopkreYO13 — FW (@wolf3328) March 18, 2022

They extended it a bit further in the second quarter going up 26-20, but Stillwater stayed persistent and showed on the court why they’re in the position they were in.

It began with a 7-0 run led by their senior point guard CJ McNeil. When the first half was almost over, McNeil drove to the hole and was fouled while making his bucket, he converted the three-point play and took his team to the locker room up 33-31. McNeil ended the day with 22 points and a perfect 7-7 from the charity stripe. He also dished out four assists and snagged four rebounds.

Sophomore Jaxon Mueller became a problem for Salamanca in the paint. The second half saw Mueller use his strength to go grab second and sometimes third-chance opportunities, Mueller finished the night with 18 points and 9 rebounds.

“50 [Jaxon Mueller] is a great player,” said Bennett. “You watch him on film…he is a major reason why their [Stillwater] here.”

As McNeil and Mueller were brining the pressure, Brown, Hoag, Herrick and Harley Hoag continued to move the ball around efficiently and made Stillwater commit turnovers with good defense.

With a little over five minutes to go in the game, Hayden Hoag, who was their main point guard and came into the game averaging 6.6 assists a game, picked up his fifth and final foul. That changed momentum towards Stillwater’s side as they became more aggressive on defense and forced turnovers down the stretch, eventually leading to the win.

Salamanca will have six players that will be graduating once this academic year ends. Some of the notables will be Hayden Hoag, Harley Hoag and RJ McLarney. Brown will have two more academic years left with Salamanca while Herrick will become a senior next school year. There will be turnover for the program, but very good pieces on Salamanca that will make a tough team next year.

Follow me on Twitter: @Jacob_Fyock

Featured Image Courtesy of Levi Sponeybarger/Special to WNYAthletics.com

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