Video and story by JOHN ANDERSON
When the 2022-2023 season tipped off, Avoca/Prattsburgh was a favorite to win the state championship again. They lost two key starters, but returned two players who came off the bench and gave valuable minutes during a magical 27-0 season.
They added senior Josiah Silson for some strength and much-needed size and off they went. However, unlike the 2021-2022 season, A/P did something different.
Then they lost again.
Both losses were to Class C schools, York and Lyons. But it showed the team how to lose and how to face adversity. They also appeared they did not want to get in that situation again.
As a result, A/P takes on Chapel Field Christian today at 3 p.m. at the Cool Insuring Arena at the Glens Falls Civic Center for the New York State Class D championship.
Chapel Field is a team of destiny and a great story (see our Final Four preview HERE). The small school does not have a gym, plays all away games and on the way to the games, they call Coach Brad McDuffie, bus driver.
“We are a very small school, we don’t have a home gym, it was a tough season and they put their hearts in it. What a difficult season to play all year on the road,” McDuffie said. “We are just going to focus on one game at a time, do some homework (on A/P) and hopefully come in and give it another fight.”
A/P Coach Brian Putnam had a chance to see Chapel Field play on Saturday. He was impressed how Chapel Field could run but also slow the ball down and run a motion offense. At the end of the game when emotions were high, Chapel Field handled the pressure, another thing Putnam noticed.
“Chapel Field is strong. They have three guys, (Jonah McDuffie, #33, Noah Stewart #23 and Mikey Bonagura #11 who combined for 36 of their 47 points) who can all shoot it a little bit,” Putnam said. “They attack the rim decently, they rebound the basketball, they look to run a little bit so it will be an interesting matchup for us.