Bulldogs get their shar fall in WAC tourney

BERNE — After coming off a big win on Friday night, the Berne-Knox-Westerlo boys’ basketball team had to turn around and play a tough opponent on Saturday night.

The Bulldogs beat Canajoharie to earn their share of the Western Athletic Conference’s Southern Division. After traveling to Montgomery County on Friday night, the Bulldogs had to make a trip to Saratoga to play Fonda-Fultonville in the first round of the WAC Championships.

BKW, the second-seeded Southern Division team, dropped a 49-42 decision to the larger Class B school.
"We didn’t start scoring until it was too late," said BKW Coach Andy Wright on Saturday night. "We had a couple of long bus rides."

"A great effort"

The travel appeared to affect the Bulldogs early in the contest as they struggled to hit shots against a Fonda team that was the number-one team from the Northern Division and featured some tough inside players.

BKW trailed, 16-7, at the end of the first quarter and by nine points at halftime, 24-15.

The Bulldogs then started to chip away at Fonda’s lead, led by senior standout Matt Lounsbury.

After a Fonda free throw, Lounsbury knocked down a three-pointer. That basket was answered on an inside basket by Fonda’s Jeff Headwell.

Lounsbury came back with another three-pointer to cut the lead to six points, 27-21.

But Fonda got two free throws from Josh Nethaway and got a fast-break lay-up from Dan Quiri to put the lead back to double-digits, 31-21, with 3:13 left in the third frame.

Joe Conklin made a short jump shot for the Bulldogs and Lounsbury made a shot of his own to keep the game close.

Fonda got two free throws, but Lounsbury answered, finishing a drive to the basket with a scoop lay-up.

The Bulldogs wouldn’t get any closer in the stanza as two foul shots by Kevin Hanson gave the Braves a 35-27 lead as the period came to a close.

Fonda opened the fourth quarter with a foul shot from Hanson, a fast-break lay-up from Seth Hidde, and a tip-in of a missed shot by Nethaway.

An inside basket by Hanson made the score 42-27 with 6:01 left in the game.

Lounsbury saved the Bulldogs with a drive to the basket with 5:51 left in the game. Less than a minute later, he connected on a three-point shot to cut the lead to 10 points, 42-32.

Neither team scored until Hanson hit a short jump shot with 4:09 left in the contest. Lounsbury answered with two free throws.

Nethaway tipped in a missed shot for Fonda with 1:59 left but the Bulldogs would not go away.

Josh Skinner hit back-to-back three-pointers to cut the lead to six points, 46-40.

However, Nate Hebert made three foul shots in the final minutes to seal the win for Fonda.

BKW’s last points came on an inside basket by Conklin.

The smaller Bulldogs struggled to match up with the much taller Braves. But they battled Fonda, which has a record of 11-1 in the WAC and 16-2 overall.
"I’m not ashamed or disappointed," Wright said. "The kids had a great effort. We played a seven-point game with the number-12 ranked B school in the state. We gave a competitive performance."

Lounsbury led the Bulldogs with 22 points. Skinner scored nine and Conklin had six points for BKW.

Hanson led the Braves with 13 points. Nethaway scored nine and Tyler Hall added seven.


On Friday, the Bulldogs pulled away late to beat Canajoharie and earn a tie with Schenectady Christian for the WAC’s Southern Division championship.

The Bulldogs beat the Cougars, 49-31, after outscoring the Cougars, 36-22, in the second half. BKW led, 18-12, at halftime.

David Sikule led the Bulldogs in that contest with 23 points. He scored 12 of those points in the third quarter.
"Our priority was to get our half of the division championship," Wright said. "The Cougars hung in there. It was an 18-point difference but we played pretty tight. It was eight, 10, 12, points for a long time."

On Monday, the Bulldogs lost in the consolation game of the WAC tournament. The BKW team traveled to Saratoga to take on Spa Catholic but lost, 89-48.

The Bulldogs wrapped up the regular season with a 14-6 overall record and an 11-1 league mark. BKW will be waiting for the upcoming sectionals that will start this week.
"We are hunting for the five seed," Wright said. "We are 14-6; I think that is good enough to be number five."

Wright has said all season that he wants his kids to play a home sectional contest. They won’t get a home game but a bye right to the quarterfinals in Class CC. The Bulldogs will play Voorheesville at the University at Albany on Friday, Feb. 22.

Wright thinks that the WAC does not get enough credit for being a tough league, but recent past results have shown otherwise.
"It’s a very tough league," Wright said. "If you look at Class D, C, and B, over the past few years, we’ve had a team in the [sectional] final four at the Glens Falls Civic Center."

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