BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Kinship among coaches and players who teamed together on travel circuits in their youth days has intertwined the Randolph High School teams in pursuit of their first state championships. Now they are making Western New York basketball history together.
No school from Section VI has claimed NYSPHSAA titles in both boys and girls basketball. The Cardinals are in position to do that not only in the same season, but on the same weekend, cheering each other on in venues 50 miles apart.
Randolph’s traveling parties bounced between gyms Saturday, following the girls’ 45-40 semifinal victory against Union Springs (Section IV) at Hudson Valley Community College, a few hours later watching the boys hang on to beat Haldane 58-55 for the Cardinals first basketball championship conquest in Glens Falls.
Becoming the 10th Class C champion from Section VI since 1978, Randolph is the first WNY school to win a state title since East won Class D in 2018, and the first in Class C since Middle Early College won in 2016.
The Randolph girls can claim a matching championship trophy at 11:45 Sunday when they meet defending champion Millbrook from Section IX at Hudson Valley Community College. The last time a Section VI school won a Class C title in girls basketball was Salamanca in 1988.
“Our community is a part of our team, they support us through everything,” said Jaiden Huntington, who led the Randolph boys scoring a career-high 28 points, and matching the NYSPHSAA tournament record by making eight 3-pointers. “So it’s good to get one for our team, and our girls can bring one back for the community, as well.”
Randolph took an 18-point lead going into the fourth quarter before pulling out the narrow win. Haldane missed three chances at the tying 3-pointer on its final possession.
“It’s everything in the world,” Randolph boys coach Kevin Hind said. “Words can’t even express how happy I am. It’s like the greatest day maybe in the history of my life. So awesome. Besides the birth of my two boys, nothing better than this day.”
Payton Morrison scored 15 points and eighth-grader Skylar Herrington added 13 as the Randolph girls won their 15th game in a row against a Union Springs team that was previously unbeaten. The Cardinals (21-4) will play in the state title game for the first time since 2018.
“It’s an unbelievable moment for our community, for our basketball programs, what we’ve been able to accomplish so far,” Randolph girls coach Dave Pihblad said. “But we’ve got one more game to go win.”
Section VI champion Panama lost 78-56 against Hammond (Section X) in the NYSPHSAA Class D semifinal. Mandy Brink scored 26 points for Panama to finish the season with 587, the second-highest total in WNY this season.
Jonah Bronstein joined the News 4 roster in 2022 as a digital sports reporter. Read more of his work here.