The Red Hook boys basketball team, which dropped in the Mid-Hudson Athletic League semifinal to a potent Saugerties team, rebounded with a big win over visiting New Paltz in the sectional quarterfinals on Feb. 25, placing them in the Section 9 semi-final game.
They face super-rival Marlboro for the third time this season, tonight at 6pm.
The quarterfinal game started exactly as you would expect from an all-or-nothing, season-on-the-line high school game: with a lot of ball-pushing, sprinting, and players diving to the floor for loose balls. The scoring pace was high early, with both teams tallying multiple field goals within the first two minutes. Red’s Nick Michitsch hit a three with 2:41 left on the clock in the quarter, which ended 13-12.
Michitsch had the hot hand for Red Hook on the night, going for 15 points, all on field goals, with three three-pointers. “We were just playing well,” Michitsch told the Observer. “We pushed it a lot and that left us with some open scores. My shot was on, and when they gave me the ball I was looking for it, that’s really it.”
Michitsch and Paddy Parr — Red Hook’s guards — combined for 29 points on the evening, and gave the forward-heavy Huguenots problems, especially with Red Hook bigs Luke White and Will Avis helping to spread the floor out. The Raiders, however, didn’t break the game open until after the second quarter was over
The third opened with a big block from Parr, and ended with Red up 43-34. New Paltz managed to tie things at 26 early in the period, but a strong scoring run from Raider Dennis Hare, who put down eight points in the period, helped Red to their healthy lead going into the fourth.
Once again, Michitisch’s three-ball made a difference; at 5:36, the Red Hook guard drained a dagger three to put Red up 50-38. New Paltz’s defense started gearing up for a late run, and actually hung some transition points on Red Hook, but the Raiders capped things 62-47.
“I think we’re ready for the next step. The first things I told the guys in the locker room was winning a sectional game is not easy. It’s not. These are good teams we’re playing, but I like the tempo we’re playing with and the way we played offense in the second half. We had a big game from Paddy, who had 10 assists,” Red Hook head coach Matt Hayes told the Observer.
Michitsch led all scorers on the evening.
Red Hook, which collected a 12-3 regular season record, has split their series with the Marlboro Iron Dukes, losing 56-50 on Feb. 12, and winning 72-54 on Jan. 15.
CORRECTION: The original version of this post stated that Red Hook would face Marlboro in the championship and had faced New Paltz in the semi-finals.