Lake George is a summer resort destination, but it gets pretty quiet up there during the winter. For the gritty locals, there isn’t much to do in the frigid weather — except play basketball.
They do it well.
Last Friday, the Greenport Clippers found out the hard way. The locals ran into a fledging dynasty — Lake George had won the New York State Class C title twice since 2013 and lost in the finals last season. The Warriors, simply put, had unfinished business to attend to. They knocked off Greenport in a semifinal game, 73–58, dashing hopes of a first ever championship for the Clippers.
The Warriors, tournament tested, were ready to rumble, and Greenport, perhaps a bit overwhelmed, came out cold, and against a good team like Lake George, that proved to be a fatal mishap.
It didn’t hurt that Chris Becker, a six-foot-seven center with girth and a brawler’s mentality, pretty much controlled the paint on both ends. Greenport fell behind early on by double digits and was forced to play catch-up. That allowed the Warriors to focus on Greenport’s Ahkee Anderson, the sophomore point guard and the engine that makes the Clippers go. He had 19 points and added six assists and five steals, but if truth be told the defense took a toll on the youngster and his teammates. “We just had an off-night,” he told reporters afterward.
Greenport converted only 17 of 47 shots for the day (36.2 percent), though Anderson was a respectable 8–20 and committed only three turnovers despite being unmercifully hounded.
Becker, meanwhile, was having a field day, the lead swelled to 20 as the big man pounded away inside. He ended with 23 points, draining nine of his 11 shots from the field, and grabbed 13 rebounds. Eight of his baskets were layups, proof positive of his dominance inside.
Credit Greenport (23–4) for going all out. With its wonderful season on the line, the Clippers started bombing away — and making some of them. Jaxon Swann’s bucket made it a 10-point affair but the Warriors opted to take time off the clock, forcing the locals to foul.
That’s how championships are often won — from the charity stripe. The Warriors made 72 percent of their free throws. After Greenport closed the deficit to nine points with just under two minutes to play, the Warriors calmly drilled free throw after free throw as the Clippers bombed away, desperate to land three-pointers. The clock ran out for the locals and a contingent of local fans that had made the god-awful trip to Binghamton.
The next day Lake George finished the quest, edging Northstar Christian 66–65 to win the State Class C title again.