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Fairport's late rally falls short

After storming back from 13 points down, Red Raiders lose AA semifinal

James Johnson
Staff writer

(March 18, 2007) GLENS FALLS Maybe Mount Vernon won't let any school take away its New York state public school title.

The Fairport Red Raiders would have loved the chance to try.

They were denied the opportunity by Albany's Bishop Maginn despite rallying from a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter before falling, 68-63, in the Class AA state tournament semifinals.

"We just kind of came out flat in the second half," Fairport senior guard Kevin Borden said. "They got a big lead, but we came back."

Kyle Downey completed Fairport's rally when he grabbed his missed 3-point attempt and scored with 2:45 remaining. The Red Raiders led 55-54 after Bishop Maginn had begun the fourth quarter up 48-35.

"I was just glad that we were back in it," Downey said after he scored 19 points for the Red Raiders (21-5). "We had to claw back."

But the Griffins did not back down from any of Fairport's final challenges.

Right after Downey's final basket from the field, Terron Victoria stopped Bishop Maginn's trend of settling for 3-point shots and scored on a runner with 2:27 to get the lead back for his team.

That started a 6-0 spurt for Bishop Maginn, which protected its advantage with 8-of-10 shooting from the free-throw line during the final 1:03.

Shimeek Johnson scored 14 points and Penn State recruit Talor Battle added 12 points with five assists for the Griffins (23-3).

Borden tied Downey with a team-high 19 points for Fairport despite rolling his left ankle during the first quarter.

Downey made an NBA-range 3-pointer to close the first half as the Red Raiders went to the locker room ahead 28-22. It was the most important of a handful of good signs for Fairport.

Downey had 11 points, including three 3-pointers. Battle, Bishop Maginn's point guard and top scorer at 27.1 points per game, was under Fairport's control.

Fairport senior guard Mark Bruce shadowed Battle in what fundamentally was a box-and-one defense used by the Red Raiders. Battle scored his first basket, a fast-break layup, with 1:55 remaining in the second quarter.

"Our offense wasn't very good in the first half," Bishop Maginn coach Richard Hurley said. "We were kind of stuck in mud.

"I still don't know what the heck defense they were playing (against us)."

The Griffins opened the second half with a 13-0 run that included two 3-pointers by Battle and another by 6-4 senior Jalaun Taylor.

"They jumped on us in the first half, but we fought back," Battle said. "They kept me from scoring, but I had four or five assists (on consecutive possessions in the third quarter).

"That's what a team is. When you can't score, you pass the ball to someone else."

Bishop Maginn led 35-28 before the Red Raiders knocked their deficit down to two points, but a 3-pointer by reserve Taran Buie kick-started an 11-0 run for Bishop Maginn.

"I felt our energy dropped," Fairport coach Scott Fitch said. "We started to let Battle get the ball a little easier and he picked us apart a little."

Bishop Maginn was ahead by 11 points in the fourth quarter, 50-39, when Borden made two 3-pointers and scored on a baseline drive to bring Fairport to within 50-47 with 5:24 remaining.






Fairport vs. Bishop Maginn

Glens Falls - NY State Semi Finals

Rochester Democrat & Chronicle

Photos by Shawn Dowd


Photo: 1/16
Fairport's Tyler Launer, left, and Brendan McCarthy go chest-to-chest as they get fired up during player introductions.

Photo: 2/16
Fairport's Kyle Downey drains a long three-point shot during the first half.

Photo: 3/16
Fairport's Brian Gebhardt drives to the basket over Bishop Maginn's Shimeek Johnson.

Photo: 4/16
Fairport's Mark Bruce, right, and a falling Kyle Downey battle for a loose ball with Bishop Maginn's Talor Battle.

Photo: 5/16
Fairport's Brian Gebhardt chases down a loose ball ahead of Bishop Maginn's Shimeek Johnson during their Class AA semi final game Saturday, March 17, 2007 at the Glens Falls Civic Center. Bishop Maginn beat Fairport 68-63. (Democrat & Chronicle, Photo by Shawn Dowd, 031707)

Photo: 6/16
Fairport's Kyle Downey collides with Bishop Maginn's Bunduka Kargbo.

Photo: 7/16
Fairport's Mark Bruce cuts through the lane drawing a foul from Bishop Maginn's Antonio Davis.

Photo: 8/16
Fairport's Tyler Launer is sandwiched by Bishop Maginn's Shimeek Johnson, left, and Jalaun Taylor, right, as he puts up a shot during their Class AA semi final game.

Photo: 9/16
Fairport's David Kozar puts in a reverse layup as Bishop Maginn's Talor Battle looks on.

Photo: 10/16
Fairport's Kyle Downey passes off to Tyler Launer, right, as he cuts into the lane past Bishop Maginn's Bunduka Kargbo.

Photo: 11/16
Fairport's head coach Scott Fitch can't believe a late call against the Red Raiders.

Photo: 12/16
Fairport's Kyle Downey drives in for two points late in the fourth quarter.

Photo: 13/16
Fairport's Kyle Downey encourages his teammates late in the fourth quarter.

Photo: 14/16
Fairport's head coach Scott Fitch consoles Kevin Borden as Travis Condello consoles teammate Brian Gebhardt following their loss to Bishop Maginn.

Photo: 15/16
Fairport's head coach Scott Fitch consoles Kevin Downey following their loss to Bishop Maginn.

Photo: 16/16
Fairport's Kevin Downey, left, and Mark Bruce sit in silence on the team bench following their loss to Bishop Maginn.


Glens Falls - NY State Semi Finals

Rochester Democrat & Chronicle

Photos by Shawn Dowd