If you wonder how devastating last year’s Section V semifinal loss was to the Mynderse boys basketball team, just ask point guard Brandon Passalacqua.
He was still talking about it after winning a third Section V title Saturday.
“It was horrible,” the 5-foot-8 senior said. “I won two sectionals before that, and that loss (to Wellsville) overtook the joy of the first two. We came back very motivated to get another title.”
Mission accomplished. Saturday afternoon, the second-seeded Blue Devils struck early and often and blew out No. 5 Avon 65-45 to win the C1 championship at Blue Cross Arena at the Rochester Community War Memorial.
Junior forward Luke Ruddy scored 18 points to lead four players in double figures. Passalacqua (11 points, 4 assists) was named tournament MVP.
Mynderse (16-5) plays C3 champion Clyde-Savannah (19-2) in a state qualifier on Monday night in Waterloo.
Avon (14-8) stunned top-seeded Batavia Notre Dame in Monday’s semifinals, but Mynderse coach Mike Fields said his team didn’t need a wakeup call. Not after losing in the B2 semifinals last year as the No. 1 seed.
“That loss last year was huge,” he said. “We said, ‘Next year we’re going to get it back.’ “
Ruddy scored the game’s first six points as Mynderse built a quick 8-0 lead and never looked back. The Blue Devils’ lead peaked at 36-13 late in the half, and Avon never was able to get back into it.
“A fast start is always important,” said Passalacqua, who was 5-for-10 from the floor and also grabbed four rebounds.
Mynderse was able to win a sectional championship despite changing its offensive philosophy midway through the season.
“At the beginning of the year, we were a perimeter team: 3’s, 3’s, 3’s,” Fields said. “But those guys down low made it obvious: We’re a low-post team. And we have the guards who can adjust and make those passes.”
The 6-foot-5 Ruddy was ably complemented by 6-4 senior center Connor Miller, who chipped in eight points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
Mynderse won the B2 title in 2011 and the C1 championship in 2010 before stumbling last year against Wellsville.
This marked the second time in three years that the Mynderse boys and girls teams both have won sectional titles.
Mynderse shot 48 percent from the floor while holding Avon to 34 percent. The Braves were led by Galen Snyder’s 10 points.
Both teams were 5-for-15 from 3-point range, and Mynderse held a narrow 29-26 advantage in rebounds.