NEW PALTZ, N.Y. -- Through three quarters, Tuckahoe had learned that East Rockaway was determined to try and steal the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Boys Basketball Class C regional final on Saturday.
The undefeated Tigers could not shake the Section 8 champion. Each time Tuckahoe extended its lead, East Rockaway came storming back, including a 27-foot three-pointer by Mickey Lores at the third-quarter buzzer.
Tuckahoe had enough and in the fourth quarter, seized command of the game for good and went on to a 72-58 victory at SUNY-New Paltz.
Tuckahoe, now 23-0, advances to the state final four for the first time since the early 1990s, according to coach Al Visconti. The Tigers will face Mechanicville (Section 2) in a semifinal on Friday at 5 p.m., at the Glens Falls Civic Center. The other semifinal will be OTC Middle College of Buffalo (Section 6) facing the Cooperstown (Section 3)-Elmira Notre Dame (Section 4) winner. The semi-final victors play for the title on Saturday at 7:15 p.m.
It feels good to get over the hump, said senior Justin Nolan, who finished with 15 points, five rebounds and two blocked shots. We, the seniors, felt that we had to get it done. Last year, we got to this game and didnt get it done.
Shyheim Nixon led Tuckahoe with 21 points, including seven in the fourth quarter, and had four assists. Sky Williams added 20 points and five assists and Mark Raymond finished with 13 points, including 12 in the second half.
Tuckahoe had a seven-point lead cut to four, 49-45, on a Lores triple at the third-quarter buzzer.
Going into the fourth quarter, we felt we had to step it up, even more, because we did not want this to be our last game, Nolan said. We just kept being persistent in the fourth. Usually, teams get gassed against us in the fourth quarter.
Tuckahoe led, 53-48, with 6:21 remaining in the game, then proceeded to run off eight of the next 10 points. Raymond capped this with a power move to the basket, stretching the Tigers lead to 11 points, at 61-50, with 3:23 to go.
I think our defensive energy kicked in and I think maybe we wore them down a little, Visconti said. They were a well-coached team, with good shooters and they deserved to be here.
East Rockaway, which finished 12-8, was led by David McClure and Sean Bohan, who had 14 points apiece.
East Rockaway 11 19 13 13 -- 58 Tuckahoe 15 17 17 23 -- 72
East Rockaway (58) David McClure 6-0-14, Dylan Delury 2-0-4, Mickey Lores 5-1-12, Justin Jonas 2-0-5, Joey Lores 1-0-2, Sean Bohan 6-2-14, Luke Fahrenkrug 2-0-4, Danny McClure 0-0-0, Kevin Bessington 1-1-3. Totals: 22-4-58. Tuckahoe (72) -- Sky Williams 7-6-20, Justin Nolan 5-5-15, Mark Raymond 6-1-13, Tyler Freiere 0-0-0, Shyheim Nixon 7-2-21, Nick Reisman 1-0-2, Brian OToole 0-2-2, Kayvon Reid 0-0-0, Mike Walker 0-0-0, Joe Liebowitz 0-0-0. Totals: 26-16-72. 3-point goals -- ER: Dav. McClure 2, M. Lores, Jonas; Tk: Nixon 4.
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