Watervliet’s top shooters seemed to move further behind the 3-point lines at the Glen Falls Civic Center on each attempt Friday night.
It also seemed that they pushed the Batavia Blue Devils that much further from the Class B state title.
Good 3-point shooting by the Watervliet Cannoneers pushed the Blue Devils out of the state tournament, as the Section II champions stopped Batavia 60-53 in the semifinals.
“It seems like they were shooting from 30 feet,” Batavia coach Buddy Brasky said. “I don’t know what to say.
“We battled, and they answered everytime.”
The Cannoneers made 10 of their 28 attempts from behind the 3-point arcs, led by Sacred Heart University-recruit Jordan Gleason, who scored a game-high 25 points. Gleason, listed at 6-feet-1 inch, said he was a cold-shooter coming into the game, but he looked cold-booded at times, as he made six of his 12 long-range shots.
“The past few games I haven’t been shooting well,” Gleason said. “I knew I had to give my team a lift.”
So did Watervliet senior Tyler McLeod, who finished with 18 points. McLeod was 2-for-6 from 3-point range, and also had nine rebounds to help return Watervliet to the state finals. The Cannoneers, who lost 43-42 to Bishop Ludden in last year’s final, face Babylon of Section XI on Long Island 9 p.m. Saturday.
Batavia fell short in its attempt to knock off the No. 1-ranked team in the state for a second consecutive playoff game, despite 21 points from Jalen Smith, who was 6 for 16 from 3-point range. Justin Washington had 14 and Jamesson Etinne added 12 for the Blue Devils (20-4), who were ranked No. 2 in the state after their victory in the quarterfinals over Olean of Section VI.
“We knew they were hard-working and we knew they could shoot,” Smith said. “Their guards caught fire, there was nothing we could do about it.
“We played as tough as we can.”
The state final was still a possible destination after a 3-pointer by Smith reduced Watervliet’s lead to 56-53. The Blue Devils even grabbed the rebound of a missed free-throw by Gleason with 36.8 seconds remaining. Watervliet was able to deny the Blue Devils a good 3-point attempt on Batavia’s next possession and made free throws to clinch the outcome.