Birds fly into sectionals with big win

VOORHEESVILLE — The Blackbirds are starting to take flight.

The Voorheesville boys’ basketball team won its fourth straight game and appears to be ready for the post-season after it beat Cohoes, 65-48, on Friday night.
"It was a great game," said Voorheesville Coach Don Catellier. "They took some pride into tonight. They [Cohoes Tigers] scored 78 points the first time and embarrassed us. We came back and wanted to play. We were ready for them."

The Blackbirds were ready to play as they led for most of the game. Voorheesville led by five points, 20-15, at the end of the first quarter and seven points, 34-27, at halftime.

The Birds took control in the third quarter.

After Cohoes opened the frame with a three-pointer, Voorheesville took over.

Evan Christner scored on a drive to the basket and was fouled. He missed the foul shot, but Voorheesville came back with a short jump shot by Kevin Klembczyk.

Klembczyk added two foul shots to make the score 40-30.

Cohoes came back with five consecutive points. Keith Curtin hit a two-point shot and followed that up with a three-pointer to cut the lead down to five points, 40-35.

Nick Kinisky scored after grabbing a rebound for the Blackbirds. But that was answered with a fast-break lay-up by Cohoes’ Ryan Potyrala about a minute later and the score was 42-37 with 3:47 left in the third frame.
"Pleased with the defense"

Christner came right back and scored inside. He scored on a fast-break lay-up after Klembczyk grabbed a rebound.

Nick Benoit came right back for Cohoes, scoring inside and picking up a foul. He converted the free throw to cut the lead back down to six points, 46-40.

Christner responded again for Voorheesville. He scored on a drive to the basket and hit a short jump shot to give the Blackbirds a 50-40 lead with 1:55 left in the third stanza.

Kinisky hit a close-range jumper to build the lead to 12 points and give the Blackbirds a 52-40 lead at the end of the third quarter.

Voorheesville built on its lead as the Birds held Cohoes to just eight points in the fourth quarter and pumped in 13 points to clinch the win.

Christner started the frame, scoring inside, and Mackey Lloyd hit a three-pointer to give Voorheesville a commanding, 17-point lead.

The Blackbirds were able to cruise from that point on.
"Beating a team like this is what you need to get ready for sectionals," Catellier said.

Defense came up big for the Blackbirds who gave up a lot of points in the first meeting between the two teams.
"Their two big guys scored 40 points against us last time," Catellier said. "We held them to 17 this time."

Curtin led the Tigers with 15 points. Benoit added 11 points for Cohoes.
"I’m really pleased with the defense tonight," Catellier said after Friday’s game. "Ethan Mackey did a good job. He didn’t score but he was on Benoit for most of the night. He’s their leading scorer."

The Blackbirds got great offensive output from Christner, Kinisky, and Klembczyk.

Christner led the way with 23 points. Kinisky scored 19 points and Klembczyk added 11.
"Nick was great," Catellier said. "He also played great defense and rebounded. Nick makes things happen. Kevin had 12 points, which is his high of the year. We did a lot of things well tonight."

On to sectionals

The Blackbirds won four straight games. They’ve beaten Mechanicville, 55-48, Ravena, 59-53; and Schalmont, 57-47, over the past couple of weeks.

The Birds finish the regular season on Thursday against Watervliet in a game was has been re-scheduled twice.

The Blackbirds finish the regular season with an 11-6 record in the Colonial Council and a 14-6 mark overall.

The Birds will be preparing for the upcoming sectionals. The pairings were announced on Wednesday. Voorheesville is the number-four seed in Class CC and get a first-round bye. They will play Berne-Knox-Westerlo, the fifth seed, in the quarterfinals at the University at Albany on Friday, Feb. 22.
"Right now, we have one [Class] C loss," Catellier said. "Out of six losses, four of them have come against As. And we have a win over a double A. We beat East Syracuse-Minoa. There are five teams right at the top in Class CC. One and two are pretty much set, but three, four, and five are up in the air. Hopefully, we’ll be in the mix somewhere in there."

Catellier is pleased his team is playing so well, but he knows it can change in a hurry. The Blackbirds finished strong last year — including a regular-season ending win over eventual Class B champion Watervliet — but lost in the first round of the sectionals.
"We are starting to gel at the right time of the year," Catellier said. "We are playing well. But after Tuesday, it’s one and done. We’re starting to get near the end of the road. It’ll be over before you know it."

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