Lumberjacks advance to sectional final

TUPPER LAKE – The top-seeded Tupper Lake boys basketball team downed fourth-seeded St. Lawrence Central 59-29 Thursday night in the Section X, Class C semifinals.

The Lumberjacks will now play against No. 2 Brushton-Moira in the championship game at 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22 at SUNY Canton.

The Lumberjacks took control in the second quarter when they scored 13 points and held the Larries scoreless for a 27-14 halftime lead.

“I was real pleased with our defensive effort from then on through the rest of the game,” Lumberjacks coach Steve Skiff said.

Tupper Lake put the game away in the third quarter with a 13-4 run to start the half. That gave them a 43-18 lead.

Lumberjacks guard Anson Gagnier got the scoring started in the second half by hitting a 3-pointer and then making a layup. Forward Roger Delair, guard Cody Lapierre and forward Devin Larson each hit layups. Delair finished off the rally by following his own missed jumper from the corner, getting the rebound and putting it back for a layup.

Delair and Larson came off the bench for the Lumberjacks, providing a spark like they have numerous times during the season. The two forwards are tall with long wingspans. They grab a lot of rebound and cause havoc on defense.

Delair finished the game with 11 points, while Larson had four. Gagnier led Tupper Lake with 14, including two 3-pointers. He had his outside shot going for much of the second half.

Overall, the Lumberjacks finished with six 3-pointers. Forward Morgan Stevens had two 3-pointers for a total of six points, LaPierre had one and Delair banked one from the top of the key.

The outside shots were available for Tupper Lake because center Mitch Keniston drew a lot of attention on defense, as he often does. Keniston, who finished with 12 points, was often double- and sometimes triple-teamed.

“We don’t have anybody who can physically match up with Mitch Keniston,” St. Lawrence coach Joe Reome said. “There’s a reason he’s a first team All-Northern. He’s a great player and we’ve battled with him. We won the last two Class C championships, and it wouldn’t shock me that they’re going to win it this year. We’ve had to battle him to get those both seasons. He’s just a heck of a player and we had no answer for him.”

Tupper Lake should be the favorite in the championship game against Brushton-Moira. The Lumberjacks have already beaten them twice this season.