Guilderland’s great season ends with Class AA final loss
The Enterprise — Michael Koff
War cry: Guilderland’s Marc Du Moulin loses the basketball while driving to the hoop on Monday during the Class AA final, which the Dutch lost, 65 to 56, to Green Tech High Charter School. Du Moulin, a senior, scored 10 points and had two rebounds as Guilderland finished the season at 19-3.
ALBANY — Guilderland’s first-ever sectional basketball title was within reach on Monday night, and then it slipped away.
Green Tech High Charter School, led by clutch baskets from Jamil Hood Jr. and Ramion Burt in the fourth quarter, held off a strong Dutchmen team that many thought would get over the championship hump this season. However, it was the Eagles that grasped its first title.
“Honestly, I think it sucks, I really do,” said Guilderland Head Coach Ron Osinski after the 65-to-56 loss at the Times Union Center. “We went a long way, and worked hard to get to where we were.”
The Dutchmen’s playoff path to its second Class AA final included an exhausting five-overtime victory over Columbia last week. During the regular season, most of Guilderland’s wins were by 10 points or more.
Osinski, who has more wins (446) than any active Section 2 coach, said that the Dutchmen players were very disappointed to be walking off the court without a championship on Monday. “I am, too,” he said. “It’s hard to get here, and, when you get here, it’s tough when you don’t get it done.”
Green Tech had opened up a nine-point lead in the second quarter, but Guilderland closed the gap to three points at halftime, and continued to hang close in the second half. Off an Eagles’ turnover at the beginning of the fourth quarter, Vincent Simeone found Andrew Platek in the corner for a three-pointer that got the Dutch to within one point, and then Simeone made two free throws to give Guilderland the lead, 49 to 48.
Burt scored on a hook shot, and then Platek answered with another three, but that would be the last meaningful shot made by Guilderland, as mistakes would mount down the stretch.
“They [Green Tech] made some late shots and we didn’t,” Osinski said, adding that the Times Union Center had given the Dutchmen a “tough time” over the last two games.
After Hood Jr., who scored a game-high 27 points, made a three-pointer, Platek aired one at the other end. Later, with Guilderland down by only three points, Platek missed two free throws, and then Billy Floyd badly aired an open look from three-point range.
The Dutchmen were still only down two points with 1:20 left in regulation play after Platek scored on a teardrop shot through the lane. But, Hood Jr. made another huge three-pointer, and Green Tech made some foul shots to secure the win.
Osinski said that he fooled with Guilderland’s game plan a little to prepare for Green Tech. “We tried to play zone, but they spread us out too much,” he said. “Hood is a tough player.”
The Eagles’ defense hustled hard all evening, and caused issues for the Dutchmen, but Osinski said that his team had seen harsher defenses this season. However, the Dutch usually shoot better than it did on Monday night; some shooting lanes were shut off by Green Tech.
Green Tech Head Coach Jamil Hood Sr. said that his family lived in Guilderland for some time when his son, Hood Jr., attended Farnsworth Middle School. Hood Jr. had played basketball with Vincent and Ralph Simeone, brothers on the Guilderland team.
“Their like a second family,” Hood Sr. said of the Simeones; some Guilderland players hugged the coach during Monday’s introductions.
“We spoke before the game, and, regardless of what happened, we’re still family,” Coach Hood said. “They’ve been great to us.”
Following Guilderland’s loss on Monday, Osinski told The Enterprise that the Dutchmen “play with their own kids,” implying that Green Tech doesn’t. “They’re from all over the place,” he said of Green Tech’s players. “They don’t have their own kids.”
Green Tech, located in Albany, is a charter school, which is a school that receives public funding but operates independently.
Hood Sr. said that 98 percent of his players are from Albany, and he wished that he had an address book with him. “I really don’t know where they live exactly,” he said. “I understand the politics going on here.”
Even though Guilderland could have won Monday’s game, Osinski said that Green Tech has an unfair advantage of being an independent school playing with public schools that are bound by district lines for their players.
“Always have been,” said Osinski. “But, we’ve taken our kids a long way, they’re from Guilderland, and we’re proud of that.”
The Green Tech players have “humbling confidence,” Hood Sr. said. He wished that Osinski had congratulated the young men for the hard work they put in to win a championship.
“It doesn’t matter where they’re from as long as they go to school and get an education,” said Hood Sr. of his players. “Here’s the bottom line: They go to class every day.”