The Stillwater Warriors defeated the Maple Hill Wildcats by a score of 58-53 Monday night in a packed gym at Cohoes High School. CJ Mcneil scored 19 points and Lukas Lilac added 17 points to help lead the Warriors to victory.
The game started with Stillwater jumping out to a 6-2 lead, which Maple Hill responded to with a 7-4 run to pull within a point. Stillwater ended the first quarter strong with a 15-10 lead.
In the second quarter, it was almost all Maple Hill as they caught fire from three-point range. They outscored the Warriors 16-10 in a quarter where it seemed that every shot they put up was going in. They took a slim 26-25 lead into the half.
The third quarter was almost all Maple Hill again. They jumped out to a seven-point lead with about one minute left in the quarter before they quickly saw that lead shrink to three as Stillwater made a late third-quarter push. Stillwater trailed 42-39 heading into the final quarter.
The fourth quarter was back and forth which saw Maple Hill keep their lead right up until about the 2-minute mark, which saw Mcneil of Stillwater take over. Scoring six of the final eight points for the Warriors, Mcneil would not be denied in a moment where his calm composure came into play.
With about 20 seconds left in the game, Mcneil was fouled with Stillwater up 54-53. In front of a packed gym, Mcneil calmly nailed both of his free throw attempts to put the Warriors up 56-53. As Maple Hill was trying to set up their last possession, Mcneil came up with a timely steal and laid the ball up at the other end to ultimately seal the game.
Maple Hill has to be applauded for their valiant effort in a game where they came up just short. They were led by Ben Marra who scored 17. Maple Hill gave their all and it will be exciting to see what they come back with next season.
As for Stillwater, Bruce Lilac knows how much his players deserve this. “These kids deserve it. This is a great group, they’re very coachable and they work hard every day.”
Stillwater looks ahead to Saturday, March 12th as they prepare to take on Moriah or Madrid-Washington in the regional finals at Hudson Valley Community College.