Haldane High School’s boys basketball team will certainly have size and overall balance in its favor for Friday night’s Class C state semifinal. Lake George will have a very short drive to Glens Falls Civic Center (9.8 miles), plus this: Joel Wincowski.
The 6-foot-2 senior won a state championship and earned Class C state player-of-the-year honors as a sophomore. This Feb. 24, he shattered Jimmer Fredette’s Section 2 career scoring record.
The UMBC-bound Wincowski scored 48 points in last weekend’s state regional final win over Potsdam and now has 2,564 for his career – the seventh-most in state history.
“He’s the real deal,” Haldane coach Joe Virgadamo said. “Everybody knows that. Obviously, we have to contain him. I don’t think we’re going to stop him.”
Local fans should remember Wincowski. En route to the 2013 state title, he had a game-high 33 points in a 55-45 win over Section 9’s Pine Plains, including seven 3-pointers, 14 points in the fourth quarter and 17 of his team’s 22 first-half points.
“No. 4 there was reincarnated as Larry Bird,” then-Pine Plains coach Brendan LoBrutto said at the time. “The kid couldn’t miss.”
The Blue Devils can counter Wincowski with a long front line that includes seniors Edmund Fitzgerald (6-7), Peter Hoffmann (6-5) and Garret Quigley (6-5). If the paint is surrounded and Wincowski’s shot isn’t falling, his next options are 3-point shooters Kyle Jones (coach David Jones’ son) and sixth man Dylan Hubbard.
Haldane’s defense has allowed an average of just 33.6 points per game in its four playoff games, but this is a much different challenge. Lake George averages 69.2 ppg, including a Section 2-best 34 a night by Wincowski.
“It’s his show. He’s been there before,” Virgadamo said. “We’re going to do what we have to do to prevent him from getting out of control. We don’t want him to drop 45 points or I won’t sleep on Friday night.”
Josh Thomson: Twitter: @LoHudInsider
If you go
What: Class C state semifinal
When: Friday, 5 p.m.
Where: Glens Falls Civic Center
What’s next: The winner will meet Section 3’s Waterville or Section 5’s Lyons at Glens Falls Civic Center at 7:15 p.m. Saturday for the state title.