Poor start shooting leaves Bulldogs cold

BERNE — It was the worst time of the year for the Bulldogs to go cold.

The Berne-Knox-Westerlo boys’ basketball team struggled shooting the ball well in Friday’s Section II Class CC quarterfinal against local rival Voorheesville at the University at Albany on Friday night.

The Bulldogs fell behind early and could not catch up to the Blackbirds in a 74-55 loss.
"Traditionally, we’ve done one of two things," said BKW Coach Andy Wright on Friday. "We play even with the competition or we fall behind in the first half. Then we have to claw our way back. We fell down and we tried to claw back, but it’s hard to do against a team that has a lot of depth. They have role players that are as good as our starters."

BKW had trouble matching up with Voorheesville’s big inside players Evan Christner and Ethan Mackey. The guard-oriented Bulldogs also had trouble handling Voorheesville’s guards who played extremely well.

BKW found itself down quickly, 6-0, before Josh Skinner made a three-point shot with 5:43 left in the first quarter. The Bulldogs would not score again until Skinner knocked down another three-pointer with 2:11 left in the opening stanza.

At that point Voorheesville had a 16-3 lead.

The Blackbirds led at the end of the first quarter, 22-6. The Bulldogs would never recover.

Down for the count

BKW did play better for the rest of the contest but could not catch the high-flying Blackbirds.

The Bulldogs trailed, 39-25, at halftime and 57-41 at the end of the third quarter.
"This was similar to the Fonda game," Wright said. "Voorheesville was able to put the game out of reach. Against Fonda, we were able to hang around."

Wright said the big difference was that Voorheesville controlled the play for most of the contest.
"What they do is control the tempo of the game," Wright said. "They really slowed it down and held the ball. When they do that, you can’t afford to have more than a couple of mistakes. They were strong inside and then they were able to get some good outside shooting."

BKW got strong games out of seniors Ben Burton and Skinner. Burton led the Bulldogs with 22 points, hitting outside shots and making some strong moves to the basket. Skinner finished the game with 18 points for the Bulldogs.

Voorheesville bottled up BKW’s two play-makers, senior Matt Lounsbury and junior David Sikule.

Lounsbury scored just eight points and Sikule had three points in the game.
"Thank God Burton came tonight," Wright said. "It could have been really bad tonight."

"A good season"

BKW had a good season come to a disappointing end.
"I’m disappointed that we didn’t have a more competitive showing," Wright said. "This team is capable of playing a so much better game against this team."

The Bulldogs finished the regular season with a 13-4 overall record and a 10-1 mark in the Southern Division of the Western Athletic Conference. The Bulldogs beat Class CC’s top seed, Schenectady Christian, during the regular season to earn a share of the Southern Division title with the Falcons.
"I’m pleased," Wright said. "This was a good season. Our record was respectable. Especially coming from where we were."

It was also a good match-up against one of BKW’s neighbors.
"Because of the close proximity it was a good match-up for our kids," Wright said. "It’s good to see them at sectionals or anytime. We saw the level we have to be at to compete. Our league has gotten stronger with Schenectady Christian and with Shane Barton at Schoharie. It prepares us to compete at a sectional level."

Eight seniors will graduate, including starters Joe Conklin, Skinner, Lounsbury, and Burton. Keith Cunningham, Greg Mulson, Eric Prescott, and Sam Viscio also graduate.
"I think we are a team to be taken seriously," Wright said. "We had a great season and really played team basketball. We’ll be back next year."

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