STONE RIDGE - Stuart Robinson joked that half of his roster haven't even heard the term "Y2K," let alone have a clue about turn of the millennium.
Within their scope, the biggest thing that happened in 2000 was the New Paltz boys basketball team winning a Mid-Hudson Athletic League championship. And that was prominent in their minds only because the Huguenots hadn't captured that title since.
What the kids had experienced, though, was the disappointment of losing twice in the tournament final the previous two years – despite being good enough to win section championships in both seasons.
Two years of almosts, to them, might as well have been two decades.
"It's been way too long," Justin DeMaria said Friday, staring at the MHAL trophy as he clutched it. "It was time for us to bring it back."
And for the first time since that "Y2K" ball dropped, the Huguenots didn't drop the ball in this tournament, beating Millbrook 64-43 in the final at SUNY Ulster.
Patrick Murphy had 17 points and 12 rebounds to lead New Paltz, which had topped Marlboro in the semifinal Tuesday. DeMaria and Jackson Soper each added 14 points, and Matt Simmons had nine points and five assists.
"They really wanted it," Robinson said of his team. "This is the fourth year in a row we've been to the tournament and the third straight time we've made it to the final, so they were hungry."
The Huguenots successfully utilized a press defense in the first half and, aided by turnovers, raced to a 33-18 lead. Soper scored six points in the third quarter as New Paltz pulled away.
Liam Flaherty had 18 points and Joe Gjidoda added 14 for Millbrook (11-9).
Both teams entered this season with modest expectations from the outside, each having lost several standouts to graduation. Reaching the MHAL final was a significant step, and statement, for them both.
"A lot of people thought that losing the people we did last year that we wouldn't be a factor," Robinson said. "These guys kind of took offense to that. They worked hard to disprove that."
New Paltz (14-6) earned the fourth seed in the Section 9 Class A tournament and hosts Red Hook in the first round Monday. Millbrook, the three-time defending Class C champ, is the No. 1 seed in its bracket and awaits an opponent in the semifinals.
"We have lots of confidence," Simmons said of the Huguenots entering the playoffs. "We're not backing down from anyone and we don't think there's any reason we can't win another one."