This is the second of three scouting reports for this week’s state semifinals up in Glens Falls. If you missed my look at Tuckahoe-Mechanicville, you can find it here.
No team has ever left Glens Falls with more state championship plaques than Mount Vernon’s nine, but the Knights face a program well versed in how to slay a giant. CBA upset defending state champ Newburgh two seasons ago, beating a loaded Half Hollow Hills West team along the way.
CBA and Mount Vernon have actually met two times previously in the state semifinals. Both were won by Mount Vernon, but not without CBA leaving the Knights with something to remember. The Brothers challenged Mount Vernon’s vaunted 2004 Federation champions, dictating the pace in a 52-49 thriller.
Here’s a look at the matchup, including thoughts from both coaches, which I posted after the scouting report.
Class AA state semifinal
Mount Vernon (21-2) vs. Section 2’s CBA-Albany (21-2)
When: Saturday, 2:15 p.m.
Where: Glens Falls Civic Center
Key players: Mount Vernon – Isaiah Cousins (6-4), Sr., G; Randy Stephens (6-3), Sr., G/F; Jarrel Marshall (6-6), Sr., F; Qwadere Lovell (6-0), Sr., G. CBA – Joe Krong (6-4), Sr., G/F; Chaz Lott (6-0), Sr., G; Christian Leppanen (6-1), Sr., G; Nate Robinson (6-6), Jr., C; Shelal Cancer (6-1), Sr., F.
How they got here: After winning its seventh straight Section 1 title, Mount Vernon drew a bye into the regional finals where it routed Middletown 98-44. CBA edged Troy in a controversial Section 2 final. It then rallied from behind in the fourth quarter to beat Utica Proctor 62-56 in the regional finals.
Outlook: Mount Vernon may hold the record for most NYSPHSAA state championships (nine), but CBA has rapidly become a Glens Falls staple. The teams met in the 2004 and 2006 state semifinals and CBA has advanced to the last four final fours. That includes its 2010 state championship victory over Newburgh, which, much like Mount Vernon, entered as a loaded defending state champ. This CBA team will try to avoid mistakes and prevent falling behind, according to coach Dave Doemel. The Brothers lack the Division I talent and depth of Mount Vernon, but they are tough, physical and steady. Krong, the team’s leading scorer, and Lott were key role players on the 2010 state championship team. Cancer’s older brother, Galal, is a freshman on Cornell. Robinson and 6-6 Greg Stire give CBA adequate size to compete against Mount Vernon’s front line. “We’re going to have to play them shot for shot and take advantage of our athleticism when we can,” Knights coach Bob Cimmino said.
Next up: The winner will meet either Section 5’s Aquinas or Section 8’s Baldwin Sunday at 3:15 p.m. at the Civic Center for the state championship.
Mount Vernon coach Bob Cimmino on the matchup:
“This year has nothing to do with last year. We lost all of our starters. We have experience, but it’s another year, another group of players and a totally new identity.”
“They take care of the ball. They’re not going to hurt themselves with turnovers, so you’re going to have to play them shot for shot and take advantage of our athleticism when we can. We don’t want to lead the stats in turnovers. We want to take care of the ball.”
“We’ll have a lot of weapons. We’re practicing everything this week. If we see something’s not going right, we’ll change something defensively. If we can change the defensive tempo, we’ll make moves there.”
“We have good parts. We are deep, but that’s why they play the game. Anything can happen at any time. I’m well aware of that. We’re going to practice like it’s the last game we’re going to play and hope to move on.”
CBA coach Dave Doemel on Mount Vernon:
“They’re extremely quick and apply so much pressure to you. Coach always has the guys playing their game. I think they’re deep and talented and probably going to be the deepest team we’ve faced.”
“It’s going to be a situation of if we can handle their pressure and keep them from getting quick runs. They can score in bunches.”
“(Isaiah) Cousins is pretty darn good, but I think with coach Cimmino one of the things I’ve always been impressed by is his guys always play together and play unselfishly despite the fact that the are extremely talented. Even the most talented guy is willing to scrafice and step up and play.”
Doemel on CBA and how it must contend with Mount Vernon:
“We have to control the basketball. We can’t turn it over and have empty trips. That plays into the them getting out and going. We have to certainly hope to keep them off the glass so they don’t get second third or fourth opportunities. They score too well on the first try. We don’t need to give them extras.”
“Defensively, certainly, we have our hands full there with the different personel they have. But we have a certain amount of resiliency that our guys have shown. I’m hoping that resiliency will allow us to maintain a certain amount of competitiveness throughout the game. If they get on some huge runs and get out ahead of us, I think we’d be up against it.”
“You just have to accept the fact there are certain things those guys can do. You’re not going to stop it all the time. You just have to hope to contain it. I tell my kids, just stay with it and stay close. Hopefully, you can stay close and hopefully we can capitalize.”
“Joe Krong was on the state title team, Lott was on the team, Leppanen was on team but didn’t play. Krong and Lott were in our rotation. Joe is a four-year player and was a key guy during that time.”
“The other guys are kind of new, but they were there last year when Jamestown beat us in the semis. That was a tough one for us, a very difficult game that we lost in overtime. They’ve had a taste of being up there.”
“I imagine we’re going to have to play our bench. You better be able to match their intensity all game, so we’re going to have to play (the bench) or our guys are going to get tired.”