GLENS FALLS — McKinley made history today.
The Macks won their first state title with an epic, 76-73 overtime victory over Burke Catholic in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class A championship game before an estimated 2,500 at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
It is the first state championship by a Yale Cup large school since Bennett won in Class B in 1984. Prior to 2004, the state was divided into four classes (A, B, C and D).
Senior Lovell Smith earned MVP honors by scoring 24 points on 12-of-18 shooting, a performance the Macks needed when leading scorer Marcus Morris was forced to the bench with foul trouble. Smith also had eight rebounds, three assists, two blocks and two steals.
Morris had 16 points on 6-of-17 shooting, including 2 of 6 from three-point range, and seven rebounds and finished with four fouls; he picked up his fourth late in the third quarter.
McKinley, as it has done throughout the postseason, appeared it would claim control of the game in the third quarter. The Macks played exceptionally, outscoring Burke, 22-15, to take a 47-41 lead to the fourth.
The highlight of the third was a play in which Daequan Warren blocked a shot on defense, Morris grabbed the ball and threw a long pass downcourt, where Jordan found Lovell Smith, who hit Samuel Smith, who scored while being fouled for a 43-36 lead with 1:16 left in the third. The free throw missed, but another Lovell Smith-finished break would put McKinley up nine (45-36).
McKinley’s lead hovered around eight before it reached nine again (57-48) when Jordan beat his man and hit a bank shot.
From there, a Burke Catholic team making its third straight appearance in Glens Falls (Class B champion in 2011, Class B semifinalist last year) showed its final four pedigree. The Eagles went on what would be a 12-0 run during which McKinley displayed some questionable shot selection into the final minute. Burke Catholic junior Michael Coffey swished one of his four three-pointers from the right corner to put Burke up, 60-57, with 47.8 seconds to play.
Morris missed a three on the next possession, but the Macks earned several offensive rebounds and the ball was tapped back out to Morris, who nailed an NBA-range three from the left side to tie it at 60.
Burke 6-6 senior Stan Buczek (19 points) was fouled down low with 14 seconds left. He hit both. Jordan then drove and passed to Samuel Smith, who had Buczek fall on him for a foul with 5.8 seconds left.
At first, the Macks had Morris step up to the line, but the officials conferred and ruled that Samuel Smith had been fouled. He hit the first free throw, then, after a timeout, he hit the second to tie the game. Burke’s runner from inside halfcourt at the buzzer was off.
McKinley’s championship also marks the first time since 1984 that a Section VI large school not from Niagara Falls (that includes LaSalle) has won a state championship. Sweet Home (Class A) joined Bennett as a state champion that season.