What: New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class B final four.
Today’s semifinals: Olean vs. Woodlands, 6:45 p.m.; III-Westhill Warriors (23-0) vs. X-Ogdensburg Blue Devils (22-1), 8:30 p.m.
Saturday’s final: 9 p.m. (broadcast on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel Ch. 323 and TWCSportsChannel.com.)
Where: Glens Falls Civic Center.
New York State Sportswriters Association Class B rankings: 1. Westhill (last week: 1); 2. Ogdensburg (2); 3. Olean (4); 5. East High (5); 8. Woodlands (9).
How they got here: Olean beat East, 62-59, in the Section VI final and routed Section V (Rochester area) champion Charlotte, 75-56, in the Far West Regionals. Woodlands beat Putnam Valley, 55-51, for the Section I title before winning two regional playoffs, beating neighboring Section IX champion Spackenkill , 53-46, and then Long Island champion Southampton (of Suffolk County’s Section XI), 73-47, to reach Glens Falls.
Where’s Woodlands? In the hamlet of Hartsdale in Westchester County, about 20 miles north of New York City. Woodlands is champion of downstate’s Section I, which also includes Putnam, Rockland and most of Dutchess counties.
Olean starters and key reserves: 6-4 Sr. Wil Bathurst, 5-9 Sr. Luke Hennessy, 6-0 Sr. Nick Schmidt, 6-7 Sr. Sam Eckstrom, 5-11 Sr. Dante Tarr; 6-4 Jr. Chucky Martin, 6-2 Jr. Connor Prizel.
Court vision: Three-time reigning Section VI champion Olean returns to Glens Falls with multi-talented, Cornell-bound Bathurst and St. Rose-bound big man Eckstrom making a last run at a state title with classmates Schmidt (three-point marksman) and Hennessy (excellent point guard). The quartet reached Glens Falls when all were sophomore starters. This year it played an independent schedule with impressive results like a split with Section V AA champion Greece-Arcadia, a loss to season-long No. 1 large school Canisius and a loss at Section V AA power Aquinas. Woodlands is a balanced squad led by 6-3 Sr. Jamil Gambari, 6-0 Jr. Ross Joseph and 5-11 Jr. Brandon Johnson. The Falcons have just three seniors.
Bracketology: Section III (Syracuse area) champion Westhill won a clash of unbeaten teams last week when it ousted Section IV (Binghamton area) winner Norwich. Ogdensburg is a frequent visitor to Glens Falls from the North Country, making its fifth visit in the last 10 years.
Coming Saturday: Coverage of Olean’s semifinal as well as a game-day capsule for Jamestown in Class AA.
At BuffaloNews.com: Our #PrepTalkLive blog will have play-by-play coverage of all Section VI games in Glens Falls; comment in the blog or via Twitter using the hashtag #PrepTalkLive. Photo galleries and a video recap will follow.
– Keith McShea