Perhaps the one potential boys basketball matchup in Section 4 everyone hoped to see this season was Moravia against Elmira Notre Dame.
Here we go.
Defending champion Moravia will meet the top-seeded Crusaders at 3:15 p.m. today at Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena in Binghamton for the Section 4 Class C championship.
Second-seeded Moravia (19-1) is ranked third in Class C by the New York State Sportswriters Association and has won three sectional titles in the last four years. Notre Dame (19-1) is ranked fourth and it was the Crusaders’ title in 2012 that interrupted the Blue Devils’ dominance.
“I think it’s going to be a great game,” Notre Dame junior guard Darius Garvin said. “We’re not really paying attention to seedings, rankings, all that right now. We’re just trying to go out Saturday and trying to get a win.”
Moravia won the Interscholastic Athletic Conference Small School title and Notre Dame the IAC Large School crown. Because the teams are on different sides of the conference in different classifications, they don’t play during the regular season.
The Blue Devils’ lone loss came at Whitney Point, 68-62, on Jan. 14. Notre Dame’s loss came to Newark, 60-39, in the finals of the Josh Palmer Fund Elmira Holiday Inn Tournament on Dec. 30. Newark is ranked 11th in the state in Class A.
Aside from the team matchup, the showdown will also feature two of Section 4’s top players. The 6-foot-2 Garvin averages 17.6 points per game, was named MVP of the IAC South Large School Division for the second time and has wowed fans all season with high-flying dunks. Benson, a 6-foot-7 senior center, recently became Moravia’s all-time scoring leader.
“They have a Division II player in Chandler Benson who’s going to Le Moyne, so he’s going to be a very tough cover for us,” Crusaders coach Bill Hopkins said. “Their guards are very good shooters, they spread the floor and Benson when he’s double-teamed can pass the ball out. They have good spacing, they have good shooters, a lot like us.”
Notre Dame has five players averaging at least 6 points per game and five of them are consistent 3-point threats, led by senior guard Jonas McCaig and his 45 3-pointers. Senior forward Tom Agan, the team’s tallest starter at 6-foot-5, averages 11.9 points and McCaig scores 10.4 per game. Hunter Thomas, Nate Niles and Derek Marshall are all versatile seniors.
“I’m kind of looking forward to it a lot,” Hopkins said. “I think we match up to them fairly well. I like our quickness against their quickness and I think it’s going to come down to how well we can play post defense.”