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Harborfields boys basketball team earns school's first state title

Harborfields' Lucas Woodhouse celebrates after their win over

Harborfields' Lucas Woodhouse celebrates after their win over Tappan Zee at the NYSPHSAA Boys Basketball tournament. (March 18, 2012) Photo Credit: Pat Orr

GLENS FALLS, N.Y. -- The player who makes the most trouble for Harborfields opponents, point guard Lucas Woodhouse, was in big trouble himself. Foul trouble.

"I was really down. I thought it was over," Woodhouse said of the Tornadoes' plight Sunday when he went to the bench with four fouls, his team trailing by two with 3:42 left in the third quarter.

Harborfields, with Justin Ringen capably running the show, kept its cool while Woodhouse simmered. The deficit stayed at two entering the fourth quarter, and that's when Woodhouse heard the magic words from coach Chris Agostino. "I told him, 'Now it's time for you to take over,' " Agostino said.

Woodhouse did just that, scoring seven points in the fourth and contributing a key assist to John Patron in the final minute as Harborfields defeated previously unbeaten Tappan Zee, 67-58, to win the state Class A public school boys basketball championship at the Glens Falls Civic Center.

It is the first state title in Harborfields history, a fact not lost on Woodhouse. "I remember dreaming about winning a state title when I was shooting baskets with my father [Michael] in the driveway when I was in middle school," said the senior, who had 15 points and 10 assists and was named tournament MVP. "This is the best feeling I've ever had."

The Tornadoes (22-2) will face CHSAA champion Iona Prep at 8:45 p.m. Saturday in a state Federation Class A semifinal in Albany.

Woodhouse began the final quarter with a foul-line jumper that tied it at 46, and Tappan Zee (25-1) never regained the lead.

Woodhouse capped a 6-0 spurt with a layup after David Ba's steal to make it 54-48. After Tappan Zee cut it to 54-53 on Patrick Peterson's long three-pointer, the last of the team's 11 treys, Woodhouse answered with a three-ball of his own. He also dished to Patron (20 points) for a layup with 48 seconds left that made it 62-58.

"I was limited because I didn't want to get my fifth foul," he said of his fourth-quarter strategy, which involved moving the ball or shooting from the perimeter.

Because he had been whistled for three offensive fouls, he eliminated a key part of his game, the drive. Said Woodhouse, "They did a great job of letting me go by and then sliding someone over when I was in the air."

But as the game entered the final minute with Harborfields clinging to a 60-58 lead, circumstances dictated that Woodhouse enter the paint. The Tornadoes ran a pick-and-roll, with Patron setting the screen and rolling to the basket as Woodhouse began his drive. A slick feed led to Patron's easy hoop and a four-point lead.

"John played his best game of the year, and it was the most important one," Woodhouse said of Patron, who was 9-for-13 from the field and grabbed seven rebounds. "He's a beast down low."

Ringen wasn't a beast, but he carried a burden. With Woodhouse missing time in the second and third quarters, Ringen assumed the point and the Tornadoes continued to thrive.

"I felt comfortable doing it. I had to distribute and pass more. I usually look to shoot," said Ringen, who nailed four three-pointers, scored 20 points and sank four free throws in the final 27 seconds. "Fouls are part of basketball. I think I did a good job. Everyone did."

Indeed, Harborfields made 61.5 percent of its shots, a big reason the 2011-12 Tornadoes -- with five former players in the stands shouting themselves hoarse while sharing the moment -- did something no team in school history had ever done.

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