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GFA boys basketball cruises into FAA semis

Updated 3:20 pm, Thursday, February 20, 2014
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There is a popular cliche in sports that it is difficult to defeat a team three times in the same season.

And while that was pointed out by head coach Doug Scott, his Greens Farms Academy boys basketball team helped disprove that theory against an overmatched opponent in the Fairchester Athletic Association quarterfinals.

The Dragons will have to do it again to reach the final.

Zach Baines scored 35 points as the Dragons cruised into the FAA semis with a 99-56 win over visiting Hamden Hall on Wednesday evening. No. 2 GFA will host St. Luke's on Friday for a spot in the championship game the following day.

"It comes down to energy and I thought we had that energy tonight," Scott said. "It's part that we thought we had a championship in the regular season and didn't get one. Now we're more focused."

Scott was referring to the FAA regular season title, one that went to Masters on a tiebreaker.

"It's definitely motivation," said point guard Matt Tate, who had 17 points Wednesday. "We think we earned it and we should have had it, so now we have to show everyone we deserve to be the king of the FAA."

To get to the championship game, the Dragons will have to overcome a dangerous St. Luke's squad. GFA defeated the Storm twice in the regular season -- 66-51 Jan. 7 and 68-65 Feb. 7.

"(The Storm) have a Division-I center," Scott said, referring to Fairfield-bound Ami Lakoju. "They surround him with shooters; they have the pieces. It's no mistake why they've won (16 games)."

The Dragons blew the game wide open midway through the first half with a 17-2 run that turned a 16-12 edge into a 33-15 lead. Baines, who scored 19 points in the first half, hit a triple to extend the lead to 36-18 with 6:15 left in the first half.

"There was a lot of space out there, and (Baines is) great when you give him a lot of space," Scott said. "He's been working really hard and it seems like he's getting better every month."

Freshman Terrence Rountree had 16 points for Hamden Hall. Missed layups hurt the Hornets early when the deficit was manageable, and the Dragons converted many of those misses into easy baskets at the other end.

"We just wanted to start off strong early on defense, and that's what gets our offense going," Tate said. "We had easy layups and that was kept up the whole game."

Wednesday was Senior Night at the GFA gym, as the Dragons said goodbye to the team's four seniors -- Tate, Brendan Bieder, Andrew Chase and Sam Hodge. The four started the game on the court together.

"It's like having a kid leave home," Scott said. "You've been working together to achieve; There is no sweet sorrow about it."

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