HOOSICK, N.Y. -- In tonight’s Class B sectional semifinal matchup between No. 2 Hoosick Falls Central School and No. 6 Broadalbin-Perth, the Panthers have one goal: Stop Andre Taylor.
The Patriot senior has scored more than 30 points in each of his two playoff games and 66 overall. But neither team has the defense of the Panthers, who have stopped the likes of Argyle’s Kobe Lufkin, Lake George’s Joel Wincowski and the Hoosic Valley duo of John Rooney and Mike Pierre this season to take a 19-1 record to the Glens Falls Civic Center.
"He’s unique because he’s strong and crafty and gets to the foul line a lot," said Hoosick Falls coach Mike Lilac. "We want to stop him from penetrating the paint."
Taylor has been a beast all year long for the Patriots, averaging nearly 19 points a game. But a second player -- Ryan Dingman -- has taken advantage of defenses focusing on Taylor, to the tune of 14 points per game, most of the damage done behind the arc. He’s second in Section II with 61 three-pointers.
"The rest of the team is good at looking for those two guys, Taylor gets it all over the court, while Dingman is set out at the three-point line," Lilac said. "Taylor’s brother, Preston, is only a freshman, but he’s a good ball-handler as well."
Noah Chani, who along with Austin Pitt figures to draw the tough assignment of defending the senior, said it’s all about beating him to the spot.
"He’s great at drawing fouls, but we can’t let him get the ball," Chani said. "We’re always looking to help on defense, we want to try and deny him as much as possible."
On offense, five guys have scored more than 150 points, while Mark Hackett, Pitt and Andrew Hoag all average more than 10 per game. Willy Bradley and Chani are just under 10 per contest.
"It’s unselfish, spreading it out and getting the best shot possible," Chani said.
At 19-1, the Panthers aren’t looking to change anything now.
"The concern now is that [Taylor’s] had two hot games in the first two of the playoffs," Lilac said. "We have to do something to slow him down."