ALBANY -- It's not a bad strategy to try to contain point guard Lucas Woodhouse, who controls the pace, the paint and the points in most of Harborfields' games. But there was a price to pay for Iona Prep's tactic of trapping or double-teaming Woodhouse whenever possible.
"That left me wide open," forward John Patron said, flashing a satisfied smile. Patron scored 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as Harborfields advanced to the state Federation Class A boys basketball championship game by defeating Iona Prep, 68-56, Friday night at the Times Union Center.
After winning its 20th straight game, Harborfields (23-2) gets a chance to face the team that beat it last -- Long Island Lutheran, which defeated Brooklyn Collegiate earlier in the evening. The Crusaders beat Harborfields, 55-41, on Dec. 23. The all-Long Island title game will be played Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Patron scored 13 points in the first half as Harborfields took a 28-19 lead. When things got a little tense in the fourth quarter -- a 17-point lead was cut to eight -- Patron scored seven more points, reaching into his bag of tricks for some of them.
He sank a fadeaway off one foot -- "That's the way Dirk Nowitzki does it," Patron said -- and hit a three-pointer from the corner that pumped the Tornadoes' lead up to 60-44 with 3:21 left, sinking the CHSAA champion Gaels (25-4). "They disrespected me, so I had to take the shot," said Patron, understandably in a playful mood.
Woodhouse was all business when it mattered, scoring seven of his 14 points in the third quarter. During one sizzling sequence, he hit a three and then made an unconventionally conventional three-point play. His slick feed to Patron did not click when the ball rimmed out, but Woodhouse made a one-handed tip-in and drew a foul as he tumbled to the floor.
"I finally got something going in the third quarter," said Woodhouse, who also hit a pull-up jumper in that period. "They were doubling me off screens. They did a great job defensively. It seemed like they knew every play we called."
Justin Ringen scored 18 points, including four treys. Chris Brady came off the bench to score seven points, including a dunk in the fourth quarter. "My feed," Patron pointed out with a grin.
The fun continued to the very end when with four seconds left, fan and team favorite Reed McLean, the former manager, scored inside off a feed from his close friend Woodhouse.