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Photo gallery, story: Avoca-Prattsburgh falls by one point at State Final Four at Glens Falls

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By JOHN ANDERSON, photos by Lynn Brennan Photography (

GLENS FALLS — Battling through adversity and a 10-point second half deficit, the Avoca-Prattsburgh boys basketball team was able to pull within one in the last minute, but fell to Sackets Harbor, 58-57 in the New York State semi-finals.

On the other side of the Final Four bracket, North Warren downed Smithtown, 51-46. North Warren (22-4) will play Sacket’s Harbor (25-1) in the Class D state finals on Sunday.

In the Section V finals, Dan Stilson injured an ankle and played in the Far West Regionals victory and in the semi-finals through the pain and discomfort. On Saturday at Glens Falls in the Cool Insuring Arena, guard Jaeden “JJ” Crowder went down with a similar injury and went into the locker room. Crowder returned and finished the game.

Despite the injuries and Section V MVP and two-time state champion guard Macoy Putnam playing with four fouls, the Titans of Avoca-Prattsburgh battled back to within one.

That’s the team Acova-Prattsburgh coach Brian Putnam had to build, as the Titans lost some games this season and didn’t make a comeback.

“That was our MO (modis operandi) early in the season, we would be down 10 to 15 points and we didn’t handle adversity well,” Coach Putnam said. “Today, we handled it well and didn’t give up and we came back.”

NY Land Quest congratulates all student athletes

However, despite the tough loss, Coach Putnam handled defeat graciously.

“They shot well and forced turnovers, they caused us not to rebounds as well as we should … they were the better team today,” he said.

Both teams shot the ball extremely well for state final four game.

For Sacket’s Harbor, Austin Griner buried his first three 3-point attempts and was 6-of-9 from beyond the arc for 20 points to go with his eight rebounds. Ethan Shi was 4-for-7 from 3-point land and had 15 points, Jake Peters handed out six assists and Marcus Castine had 14 points.

Macoy Putnam and Daniel Stilson each had double-doubles as Putnam scored 11 points with 10 assists and had seven rebounds. Stilson, a junior, had a monster game with a game-high 23 points, 14 rebounds, an assist and a block.

Crowder, a freshman, had 15 points and was not intimidated by the bright lights of the arena, going 4-for-6 from 3-point range. Senior Christopher Abbott had a 3-pointer and four points and three boards while senior Collin Hammond had four big points in the fourth quarter to spark the comeback and had three rebounds, an assist and a block.

During the past four seasons, Coach Putnam has talked about the team and the many wins his son, Macoy, has helped engineer. Today, he got to reflect as a dad and a coach.

“I’m super proud as a coach and as a dad, it’s a heck of a career. He had a great career (Macoy played in a staggering 94 varsity games),” said Coach Putnam. “He had a to be a different player this year, he hasn’t had to be the guy to score in the past, but this year, we needed that. I’m not sure he fully stepped in that role because he wanted to create for others … If no other reason, he had the ‘open guys gets the basketball’ mentality. Do things for the team, and not for you kind of stuff.”

The family is quite decorated, Brian Putnam won a state championship as a player in 1991 when Prattsburgh went 29-0 and his son, Mason Putnam, won two Section V titles and scored 2,505 points in his career and then had a successful career D’Youville. And then there’s mom, Erica Putnam, who won not only won a sectional title near Wheeling, West Virginia for Josh Marshall High in Glen Dale, she led her team to the state finals in 1994 where they finally lost to Parkersburg, 59-48. Erica also excelled in softball, where she went on to have a successful college career.

Now Brian, Erica and Mason welcome Macoy’s stats into the mix (with a daughter embarking on a solid high school career as well). Macoy Putnam set a record in the 103-year history of the Section V tournament with five straight Section V titles, and he added two state championships to the resume. He finishes with 1,346 career points, 650 assists and 437 steals.

Speaking of winning, Brian Putnam and his teammates won 57 straight games in 1991 and 1992 while Macoy Putnam and his teammates won 39 straight between 2021 and 2022.

The Titans finished 15-10, but no one will remember the losses, rather how a team that graduated four starters made it back to the finals. The New York State Player of the Year from 2022 was Pacey Hopkins on the title team and Haden Abbott and Sawyer Devoe split honors as state finals MVP and state player of the year.

That did not stop Daniel Stilson, Chris Abbott, JJ Crowder and Collin Hammond from stepping up this year. They were underclassmen a year ago, watching the sectional and state run unfold from the bench.

Stilson attended every camp and clinic he could, worked in the weight room and his cardio, impressing veteran basketball observers in Glens Falls with his quick feet and speed. Hammond was the height A-P has been lacking while Abbott, who dives all over the floor and plays hard, not letting diabetes slow him down, came through as a clutch scorer and defender. And Crowder continues to play like an upperclassman.

“Expectations were not as high for this team as they were other years, but you don’t count these kids out,” Coach Putnam said. “they all watched from the bench last year, it made them hungry and work hard. You want that for yourself.”

The teams have had firetruck championship parades in two communities and the schools sent them off in style once again. It’s becoming clock-work for Avoca-Prattsburgh with championships and celebrations.

“The support has been tremendous, both community coming together once again,” Coach Putnam added. “It’s been so much fun to be a part of and it’s really the best part of being in a small town.”

(Box score and Lynn Brennan Photography gallery below)

SACKETS HARBOR 20 14 20 4 — 58

AVOCA-PRATTSBURGH 13 18 16 10 — 57

Sackets Harbor: Marcus Castine 5 3-4 14; Austin Griner 6 2-4 20; Dylan Aubert 2 0-0 5; Ethan Shi 4 3-4 15; Ethan Tracy 2 0-0 4; TOTALS 19-of-46 from the field (12-of-28 3-pointers), 8-of-12 free throws, 58 points total.

Avoca-Prattsburgh: Landon White 0 0-0 0; Jaeden “JJ” Crowder 4 2-2 15; Macoy Putnam 4 2-2 11; Carter Button 0 0-0 0; Bryan Heale 0 0-0 0; Collin Zurlick 0 0-0 0; Chris Abbott 1 1-2 4; Austin Swift 0 0-0 0; Maddix Cartwright 0 0-0 0; Connor Parulski 0 0-0 0; Daniel Stilson 11 1-2 23; Collin Hammond 2 0-0 4. TOTALS 22-of-40 from the field (6-of-14 3-pointers), 7-of-10 from the free throw line, 57 points total

3 pointers: Sackets Harbor 12 (Castine, Griner 6, Aubert,Shi 4). Avoca-Prattsburgh 6 (Crowder 4, Putnam, Abbott). Total fouls: SH 14, AP 11. Fouled out: Putnam (in last second).

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