ALBANY - After Devonte Green, Long Island Lutheran's leading scorer, came down awkwardly on his left ankle late in the first quarter, Marvin Prochet and Chris Atkinson came up big.
Prochet, a 6-7 junior forward, scored 15 first-half points to help build a seven-point lead, and Atkinson scored 14 second-half points to expand that advantage as Lutheran pulled away from Green Tech, 68-52, Friday night in a Federation Class AA semifinal at the Times Union Center.
The Crusaders got their lead up to 18 points in the fourth quarter when Atkinson (15 overall points) hit a jumper and Prochet (26 points, 15 rebounds) converted a three-point play and nailed a jumper. Prochet had a dunk just before the buzzer, a fitting exclamation point to his big night.
Atkinson, a junior who has started at Lutheran since midway through his freshman year, is usually the team's playmaker. But without Green, he added some much-needed backcourt scoring to complement Prochet's inside game.
For the second year in a row, Lutheran (22-4) will face Christ the King for the Federation championship, at 8:30 tonight. CTK outlasted Cardozo, 54-51, in overtime in the other semifinal Friday night. The Royals defeated the Crusaders in last year's Federation title game, 72-64.
The Crusaders played most of the second quarter without Green, who scored six first-quarter points but appeared to sprain his left ankle on a hard drive to the basket. He returned midway through the second quarter for a few plays, but was limping and left the game moments later. He smacked a chair behind the bench in frustration, but was soon seated and cheering on his teammates.
He was in the lineup for the start of the second half but was quickly removed after clearly being hampered as he missed an open three-point shot. He spent the rest of the game on the bench with his left leg elevated.
Lutheran had been playing a zone to protect Green, but once he was sidelined, the Crusaders switched to an aggressive man-to-man that helped break open the game.
The Crusaders have won a state-best seven Federation titles in three different classifications.