GREENPORT -- In a game that featured 13 lead changes in the second half alone, it all came down to clutch free throws by a pair of former Hudson High standouts that proved to be the difference in Columbia-Greene Community College's 87-83 victory over SUNY-Adirondack on Thursday.
With C-GCC up 84-83, Danny Folds nailed two free throws with :32 seconds remaining, then Mike Alert added the dagger by hitting the second shot of a two-shot foul with :10 left to make it a two-possession game and the Twins were able to hold on.
"Playing in front of everybody, our last game at home, it's just a great feeling," Folds said. "I was just blessed to be in that position."
Folds also had a big blocked shot at the other end of the floor after sinking his two clutch free throws. Alert came up with the ball and was promptly fouled, setting up his insurance free throw.
"I seen it help side, just went up, see what I could do about it and tried not to foul because if I had fouled him coach would have been mad," Folds said of his blocked shot. "It was pretty good. I was just happy to be there. We did a great job of executing and pulled out the win."
The win levels Columbia-Greene's Region III record at 11 and its overall mark at 13-13 with one regular season game remaining at Fulton-Montgomery on Saturday. The Twins have already clinched the eighth and final playoff spot in the region and will most likely draw nationally-ranked Herkimer as a first-round opponent.
Folds and Alert, who helped Hudson reach the state Class B Final Four for the first time in school history in 2016, both reached double figures in scoring. Fold finished with 12 points, while Alert had 11 points, nine assists and five rebounds.
"My last home game was definitely one to remember being that I made a bond with a bunch of good people I call my brothers," Alert said. "It was back an forth pretty much all game, but effort is what won that game and it’s always splashy time so when that ball left my hand I knew what time it was!"
Adirondack took control of the game late in the first half and was up by as much as nine early in the second, but from the 12-minute mark on, neither team led by more than three points.
A three-pointer by Michael Tillman gave the Timberwolves an 83-82 edge with 1:42 to go, but Bright Afful answered with a bucket to put the Twins on top for good with 1:20 remaining. Folds and Alert followed with their free throws to seal the deal.
Afful had a double-double for the Twins, with 16 points and 12 rebounds. He also had six steals. Jihadu Brunner-Brown had a team-high 23 points, while Kaijah Rodgers added 12 points, six assists and five rebounds.
Elijah Davis was Adirondack's top scorer with 21 points. Tavon Price had 19.
"It wasn't very pretty, to say the least," Twins' coach Matt Breton said. "I don't know if they got caught up in the senior night thing, but credit to our guys for sticking with it and SUNY-Adirondack gave us a run for our money. They played very well. I don't know what our shooting percentage was, but I'm sure it wasn't the best. We were fortunate to end up with the win."
Alert is looking forward to the Region III playoffs, but is first hoping to avenge a close loss to Fulton-Montgomery when the two teams tangle this weekend.
"We need to beat Fulton," Alert said. "Last time we played them it was an intense game so I know this time we play them it will be a good one. But playoffs, I know we will come with a different mindset because our record doesn’t mean anything."
ADIRONDACK (83): Bradley 3-3-9, Price 7-4-19, Sankey 4-0-8, Leise 3-0-8, Tillman 4-0-9, Wright 2-2-7, Davis 8-1-21, Loatman 1-0-2. Totals 32-10-83.
3-pointers: Davis 4, Leise 2, Wright, Tillman, Price.
C-GCC (87): Rodgers 4-3-12, K. Diaz 0-3-3, Alert 5-1-11, Afful 8-0-16, Brunner-Brown 9-1-23, DeLaCruz 1-0-2, A. Diaz 3-0-8, Fold 4-4-12. Totals 34-12-87.
3-pointers: Brunner-Brown 4, A. Diaz 2, Rodgers.