03.12.07

Two huge talents each two games from title


First published: Monday, March 12, 2007

One week ago, Talor Battle and Jimmer Fredette were seeking long-awaited Section II boys' basketball titles. Neither star wanted to end his four-year varsity career without at least experiencing one sectional championship game.


Battle and Fredette did not want to depart their respective high schools being known as the Karl Malone and John Stockton of Section II basketball -- two supremely gifted talents without a title.

Battle and Fredette begin preparation today for the final week of their illustrious scholastic careers with the knowledge each superstar is just two victories away from claiming a New York State Public High School Athletic Association title at Glens Falls Civic Center.

Battle led Bishop Maginn to a 48-43 victory over Christian Brothers Academy last Monday at Times Union Center to claim the Section II Class AA crown. The Penn State-bound point guard followed that Saturday night by scoring 34 points to propel the Golden Griffins past Section III champion Proctor at Syracuse's Manley Fieldhouse.

Fredette, who will compete at Brigham Young in 2007-08, netted 25 points to guide Glens Falls to a 60-48 triumph over Averill Park on Tuesday in the Section II Class A title game. Fredette scored 25 points again Friday and Saturday as the Indians knocked off Peru and New Hartford to secure a trip to the Civic Center.

Battle and Fredette have been consumed with winning a Section II title.

As juniors, they both experienced gut-wrenching playoff losses: Battle watched CBA score the game's final 11 points in the Class AA semifinals, and Fredette stood in stunned silence after his attempt at a game-tying 3-pointer glanced off the rim in a 54-51 Class A title loss to Averill Park.

What Battle and Fredette did in the title games this year was deliver the signature play to each team's Section II championship victory.

Battle made a steal and dunk to help propel the Golden Griffins past the Brothers. A night later, Fredette did the same thing to lift the Indians past the Warriors.

Over the summer, Battle and Fredette helped lead the Albany City Rocks' 17-and-under squad to third place at the AAU Nationals in Orlando, Fla.

The two friends have rooted for each other all season.

The top two scorers in Section II this season, Battle and Fredette get to keep tabs on each other one last time at the mecca of state high school basketball -- Glens Falls Civic Center.

It seems only fitting for two players who have heard rumblings about their leadership skills to get the chance to guide their teams into state semifinal contests a few hours apart on Saturday.

Fredette and the top-ranked Indians (24-1) get to enjoy "Breakfast at the Civic Center" with a 9 a.m. tilt against Section VI champion McKinley (21-4) of Buffalo. Battle and the Golden Griffins (22-3) will take on Section V representative Fairport (21-3) at 12:30 p.m.

Fredette needs just 16 points Saturday to move past Gloversville great Chris Ciaccio as the all-time Section II scorer. Ciaccio scored 2,373 points and Fredette now has 2,358.

Battle is the all-time leading scorer in Big 10 history with 2,128 points.

After playing two games in two different locations over the weekend, Fredette stood outside the Indians' locker room Saturday night basking in the glow of a state semifinal berth.

Passing Ciaccio was the furthest thing from his mind.

"I couldn't ask for anything better. We get to play at home and play for a state title," Fredette said.

Like Fredette, Battle performed in a relaxed manner over the weekend now that the burden of winning a Section II title has been achieved.

"We're feeling really good about the way we're playing right now," Battle said. "We need two more wins to win a state championship. Right now, we feel anything is possible."

James Allen can be reached at 454-5062 or by e-mail at jallen@timesunion.com.

State semifinals

Boys' basketball (Saturday at Glens Falls)

II-Bishop Maginn vs. V-Fairport, 12:30 p.m.

II-Glens Falls vs. VI-McKinley, 9 a.m.

II-Schenectady Christian vs. IV-Sidney,

1:30 p.m.

Girls' basketball (at Hudson Valley CC)

Friday

II-Colonie vs. V-Rush-Henrietta, 6:15 p.m.

II-Watervliet vs. III-South Jefferson, 10 a.m.

Saturday>/b>

II-Hoosic Valley vs. IV-Elmira Notre Dame, 12:30 p.m.

Complete schedule/D6