NEW PALTZ, N.Y. -- Mark Raymond had an uncharacteristic first half in Tuckahoes New York State Public High School Athletic Association Boys Basketball Class C regional final on Saturday.
The 6-foot-5-inch senior center had just one point. At halftime, Raymond decided he would assert himself in the second half, which meant trouble for Section 8 champion East Rockaway.
Raymond scored 12 points in the second half as Tuckahoe took off in the fourth quarter of a 72-58 win over East Rockaway at SUNY-New Paltz.
Tuckahoe, now 23-0, moves into the state final four where it will face Mechanicville (Section 2) in a semifinal on Friday at 5 p.m. at the Glens Falls Civic Center. A win would send Tuckahoe to the title game on Saturday at 7:15 p.m.
Raymond took control in the low post, securing position, and receiving entry passes from his teammates. Once Raymond received a pass, he took a drop step and laid the ball off the glass.
In the first half I started off a little slow, said Raymond, who also had seven rebounds and two steals. Things just came naturally in the second half. Once I hit my first shot, my confidence was up and I wanted the ball.
Raymond had six points in the third and fourth quarters. He had an offensive follow and made an off-balance layup on successive possessions in the fourth, pushing Tuckahoes lead to 11 points at 61-50.
We are always looking to get Mark the ball, said classmate Justin Nolan, who had 15 points, five rebounds and two blocked shots. He is very efficient when he gets it. When Mark started scoring we started feeding him the ball more.
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