Green Tech defeated top-seeded Ballston Spa in the semifinals

GLENS FALLS – Even people without extensive basketball knowledge knew where the ball would end up in the final 10 seconds for the Ballston Spa boys basketball team Thursday evening at Cool Insuring Arena. The Scotties trailed by one point and ran the game to senior point guard Nick Verdell, the team’s leading scorer, who had 36 points in his previous home game.

In the sequence, Verdil would go down to one side of the floor, with the starter, and loop around the screen to pass in front of the team’s bench. The player largely responsible for the surprising rally against Green Tech failed to make the claim that he or his teammates had hoped for.

Verdell’s shot from 3-point range was too long and the Eagles escaped with a thrilling 59-58 win over top-seeded Ballston Spa.

“I was just telling these guys that we played our schedule for this moment,” Green Tech coach DJ Jones said. “In the big moment, these people show big.”

The fifth-seeded Eagles (16-7) advance to the championship game Saturday at Cool Insuring Arena against second-seeded Christian Brothers Academy (15-6), a 56-43 win over Saratoga Springs in Thursday’s first half. Game time is 4:15 pm and the 2022 final is a 63-54 victory for Green Tech.

Green Tech and CBA met on Jan. 3 and the brothers won 47-43 in overtime.

“We’re looking forward to another great Saturday,” said Jones, who led the Eagles to the state finals last year.

The Eagles’ dramatic victory Thursday, in which they temporarily surrendered a 19-point lead built midway through the second quarter, turned out to be a remarkable response after Verdil (who had a game-high 28 points) led the Scotties (20-2). Come back from the brink for a chance to win big.

“We had a lot of pressure on us,” said Green Tech senior center Henry Perkins, who had 11 points and five rebounds in the win. “We had to calm ourselves down. A lot of (the Scotties’ points) were off turnovers and missed layups.”

Green Tech’s Jasai King did a good job in the final sequence, chasing Verdil all over the court and working around the screen to counter Verdil’s 3-point attempts.

“Jasay is one of the best defenders I’ve ever seen. He made a big tackle in that game,” Perkins said.

Haisey Mayben led Green Tech with 18 points and six rebounds.

Over the past five weeks, the evolution of Green Tech has been profound. Since January, the Eagles could not withstand the Scots’ furious comeback, led by Verdil and senior guard Mike Miller (14 points).

“A lot of (my) teammates didn’t know how hard this was yet,” Perkins said. “Nobody wants to see us right now … Now you have to pick your poison to try to stop us. We’re really looking forward to Saturday. (CBA) beat us when we were in a slump.”

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