Baldwin's Jamir Stewart, left, drives against Mount Vernon's Jasaiir Barnes...

Baldwin's Jamir Stewart, left, drives against Mount Vernon's Jasaiir Barnes during a state Class AA boys basketball semifinal in Glens Falls, N.Y., on March 18, 2022. Credit: Adrian Kraus

GLENS FALLS, N.Y. — Baldwin came upstate seeking a New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class AA championship. All it found was heartbreak.

The Bruins were all guts and grit and effort as they came back from an early eight-point deficit against unbeaten Section I champion Mount Vernon to go ahead by six in the fourth quarter of the teams’ state semifinal on Friday night. In their way down the stretch stood Knights’ point guard Dylan Colon, who proved too high a hurdle to clear.

Colon scored 12 of his 17 points in the last 6:02 of the game as Mount Vernon sped by for a 64-57 victory at Cool Insuring Arena. Baldwin (22-2) has won four Long Island AA championships but is yet to reach the state title game.

Mount Vernon (23-0) will meet the winner of the late semifinal between Section II’s Green Tech and Section VI’s Jamestown for the state title on Saturday night looking for its 12th state title.

Baldwin went ahead 48-42 when Jacob Oka found Gerrad Beaubrun for a layup with 6:10 left to play. Colon went to work on the Bruins by making a three-pointer eight seconds later. He hit another three-pointer with 3:34 left to grab the lead at 54-52 and had four more points and two of his three assists the rest of the way.

Baldwin was outscored 15-5 in the last four minutes. in its last eight possessions it was 2-for-8 shooting and 1-for-2 on the free throw line. Over the same time span, the Knights were 6-for-7 from the floor and 3-for-4 on the line.

"We let [Colon] get that quick three and then . . . they executed down the stretch and we didn’t," Bruins coach Darius Burton said. "It’s very disappointing, but I can’t fault the effort of my kids. [Mount Vernon] coach [Bob] Cimmino said we were the toughest team they’ve played all season."

"We played hard, but they played harder at the end," Oka said.

Jamir Stewart had 16 points, including three three-pointers, Joshua Petion had 13 points, Beaubrun had 10 points and Oka had nine points and seven rebounds for Baldwin. The Bruins missed 10 of 26 free throws and had six shots blocked, including two in the last four minutes.

"Our free throws just killed us," Stewart said. "I really thought we were the team that was going to make history for our school. It’s really tough to take."

"This team gave 110% effort all season long," Burton said. "Tonight it was little things: missed free throws, missed layups, one missed assignment. Those are enough to make the difference between playing for a state championship and going home."

Mt. Vernon’s 6-8 DeMarly Taylor had 17 points and 14 rebounds and 6-9 Brandon Sinclair added 15 points.

Newsday LogoDON'T MISS THIS LIMITED-TIME OFFER1 5 months for only $1Save on Unlimited Digital Access