Manhasset's Liam Connor, center, grabs a loose ball between Poughkeepsie's...

Manhasset's Liam Connor, center, grabs a loose ball between Poughkeepsie's Daevon Robinson, left, and Jai Elting during a Class A semifinal at the NYSPHSAA Boys Basketball Championships in Glens Falls, N.Y., Saturday, March 19, 2022. Credit: Adrian Kraus

GLENS FALLS, N.Y — Liam Connor hit a layup to open up a 15-point lead for Manhasset late in the third quarter. And there he was shortly thereafter providing an assist of sorts, taking a mop in his hands and drying a slice of the lane near the basket.

"So everyone’s out there playing hard, sweating, and someone fell down," Connor said. "I wanted to make sure nobody slipped. So I grabbed a mop from behind the basket. Just mopped up a little bit. Ready to play."

He did it all Saturday in helping send this boys basketball team to the NYSPHSAA Class A state championship game.

Manhasset had a 9 a.m. semi and Connor was fully awake. The 6-4 junior guard/forward scored a game-high 29 points to go with 11 rebounds, two steals, two blocks, one assist and one instance of mop-up duty in a 69-55 win over Section I champ Poughkeepsie at Cool Insuring Arena.

So it will be Manhasset (24-1) and New Hartford (24-2) of Section III fighting for the title here at 1 p.m. Sunday.

"I said this before to some of my teammates in the hotel: This is something that I’ve dreamed of since I started playing basketball, hopefully having the opportunity to win a state championship," Connor said. "We’re going to prepare … We’ll be ready for this game."

It has been a long time since Manhasset claimed first prize. It’s one and only state title came in 1986.

"It would be really nice to match that feat," coach George Bruns said.

Mike Notias added 16 points and five rebounds to the cause. James Notias, his younger brother, had 10 points, five assists and four rebounds. Liam Buckley had nine points and seven boards. And everyone contributed on defense.

"Our defense is a constant," Bruns said. "We defend all the time."

Poughkeepsie jumped in front 6-0. Then Connor began to show up everywhere in the picture — straight-on three; three-point play; 6-6, just like that.

By the end of the first quarter, Manhasset led 12-10 and Connor had eight of the 12.

"He’s just amazing," Mike Notias said. "He’s one of the best players that I’ve ever played with."

It was 12-12 when Connor hit a three, two free throws and a layup for his own 7-0 run.

By the end of the second quarter, Manhasset led 27-23 and Connor had 17 of the 27.

"He’s got a lot fire, a lot of intensity," Bruns said. "He’s sort of a natural leader by example. He inspires his teammates."

Jaysean Morgan kept the Pioneers (18-9) in the neighborhood, scoring 13 of his 25.

But the game soon split apart. Buckley scored five to ignite a 9-2 burst to open the third, good for a 36-25 advantage.

After Mike Notias buried two threes from the left wing around a Poughkeepsie free throw, the cushion swelled to 44-28.

"They were pressing us and we were breaking it good," he said. "We were getting open shots … open threes, transition."

James Notias made two layups in the final minute, giving Manhasset a 50-33 advantage to take to the fourth. The Pioneers only got as close as nine from there.

"I feel like we were kind of lacking on the defensive side," Morgan said.

Now comes the conclusion to Manhasset’s 2021-22 journey.

"It’s exciting, but I’m not too excited because we still have one more game to go," Mike Notias said. "We’ve still got to win this thing."

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