The Raider vibe in the Johnson City high school gym was through the roof and if you hadn’t driven almost 150 miles to get there, you would have thought the Red Hook boys basketball state regional semi-final showdown with Section 4’s Maine-Endwell Spartans was a home game.
Not only that, it felt like a regular season win. From the beginning, there was no drama. Red Hook, operating efficiently from the field, left the first quarter up 20-12 behind a pair of five point quarters from Paddy Parr and Will Avis.
“It was good to get my first couple of shots to go,” Parr told the Observer. “It gave me some confidence.”
He didn’t let up and led all scorers with 22 points overall, including a few very clutch buckets.
Maine-Endwell couldn’t seem to find a way to cool off the very hot Raiders, who in the first half hit almost all of their shots. Dennis Hare did most of the heavy lifting for Red Hook in the bottom of the second quarter flushing an “and-1” opportunity at 2:29 and a trey at 1:55 to put the Raiders up 39-17. Then he did it again with seven seconds left on the clock to put Red up 45-29 going into the half.
Overall Hare scored 19 points for Red Hook, with most coming from the field.
Red Hook did trip up for most of the third. The Raiders couldn’t hang on to the ball and let the Spartans but down six points before finally scoring with about four minutes left. Then Parr cut loose, scoring six points in the waning quarter and sending them into the final period up 53-39.
“I was worried! That’s why I used two timeouts within the first two minutes,” Red Hook head coach Matt Hayes said of the quarter.
Six Raiders scored in the fourth quarter, but Maine-Endwell tried to hold out until the final minute when the Spartan bench players were released. Red Hook left with a 68-57 win and another regional championship-state semi-final berth against Walter Panas at Beacon on March 7 at 4 pm.
“We’re playing great right now. I don’t think we can play any better than we did on the offensive side. We moved the ball well, shot the lights out from three – and we held our own. We’d been in similar situations this year in the third quarter. [The opposing players] gave us a scare in the third quarter, because five of the first six positions we turned it over, and they did what they do well, which is get it to the rim and go to the foul line,” said Hayes.
It was a huge road win for the undersized, sharp-shooting Raider team, but it’s not going to their heads.
“Our main goal now is to get it back to Glens Falls,” said Parr, referring to the site of the annual state high school basketball championships.