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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, January 17, 2008

Bulldogs crush Knights, win third game in a row

By Tim Matteson

BERNE — After suffering its first Western Athletic Conference loss a couple of weeks ago, the Berne-Knox-Westerlo boys’ basketball team has fought back.

The Bulldogs have won their last three games, including Friday night’s 86-42 demolition of Middleburgh.

"I was surprised by that," said BKW Coach Andy Wright. "They have some athletes on their team."

But BKW has some basketball players and it showed as they shot the lights out in the small gym at BKW. The Bulldogs finished the contest with 11 three-point baskets en route to the win.

The Bulldogs jumped out to an early lead and never looked back. They led, 21-8, at the end of the first quarter and 39-23 at halftime.

Middleburgh actually led, 4-2, early on but BKW scored on a drive to the hoop by David Sikule and an inside basket by Josh Skinner to take the lead for good with 5:33 left in the first quarter.

Matt Lounsbury scored on a fast-break lay-up and was fouled. He converted the free throw to give the Bulldogs a 9-4 lead.

BKW outscored Middleburgh, 12-4, in the rest of the quarter to build on its lead.

Sikule made a three-pointer and Ben Burton made a jump shot for BKW. Then Lounsbury scored the final points of the quarter. He scored on a turnaround jump shot, a drive to the basket, and hit a three-point shot to round out the scoring in the period.

"Exciting night"

The Bulldogs continued their relentless play on both ends of the court. They led, 59-36, at the end of the third quarter and then only gave up six points in the fourth quarter as Wright substituted a lot of players in the second half and got everybody into the game.

"During the week, I challenged our team to play better defense," Wright said. "I didn’t like the margin we won our past couple of games against Canajoharie and Duanesburg. They were 10-point games, but we would let them score and then we would score. We have the mentality that we are going to just out-score teams instead of stopping them.

"I challenged the seniors to put the effort in to try and stop them," Wright added. "The kids took me seriously. They played hard on defense tonight and that transferred to the offense."

On Jan. 9, the Bulldogs beat Canajoharie, 78-70, and beat Duanesburg last Friday, 69-59.

BKW dropped a non-league contest to Tamarac, 63-54, on Saturday night.

On Friday, against Middleburgh, BKW had 10 players reach the scoring column. Lounsbury led the way with 25 points — 22 in the first half. Sikule scored 19 points and Josh Skinner added 18 points.

Pat Sheehan led Middleburgh with 12 points.

"It was a fun, exciting night," Wright said after the game. "I was not expecting the crowd. I know it’s Friday and we always get good crowds."

Wright was impressed with Lounsbury’s 25 points, but he knows his team can produce a different leading scorer in any contest.

"With the type of team I have," Wright said, "we want to keep guessing who is going to hurt them."

On to sectionals

As the end of the season nears, the Bulldogs are still clinging to a high ranking in the Southern Division of the Western Athletic Conference. BKW has a 10-4 overall record and a 7-1 mark in the league.

The Bulldogs have home games remaining on Friday against Schoharie, and on Wednesday against Sharon Springs.

"That will be the biggest game of the season," Wright said of the match-up with Schoharie. "They will come in here all pumped up."

BKW beat the Indians in overtime earlier in the season.

The Bulldogs close out the regular season on Saturday against Schenectady Christian at Scotia High School and at Canajoharie on Feb. 6.

After the regular season and if the Bulldogs remain in the top two in the South — they are just behind unbeaten Schenectady Christian — they will play in the WAC tournament against a team from the Northern Division.

After that comes the Class CC sectionals, and Wright hopes a home game comes with it. The Bulldogs right now seem in position to get one.

"We are working on getting that first game a home game," Wright said. "The kids want to play at home. It’s the third year on the team for Lounsbury and Skinner. They have always dreamed of having a sectional game in front of their home crowd. I want to make that happen and I want to give them the best guidance to do that."

By Tim Matteson

BERNE — The Lady Bulldogs are on a roll.

Ever since suffering its first league loss to Schenectady Christian, the Berne-Knox-Westerlo girls’ basketball team has won four straight games to stay within striking distance of the rival Falcons.

"Really since that loss to Christian," said BKW coach Tom Galvin, "we’ve gone back to basics. I think we are playing our basketball of the year right now. We’re peaking earlier than in the past couple of years."

Since that loss to Schenectady Christian in late December, the Lady Bulldogs have beaten Galway in Fonda, Canajoharie, Duanesburg, and Middleburgh. The Bulldogs have a 9-1 league record and are 10-3 overall.

Galvin likes the way his team is playing right now and the fact that they are peaking.

"We are realizing early enough what we need to do to be a very good team in sectionals," the coach said. "We are doing it earlier. We want to maintain that and keep it going. We are taking it one game at a time. We get another shot at Christian...The season is winding up quick."

The Bulldogs’ win over Canajoharie was big in terms of keeping BKW’s stranglehold on second place in the Southern Division of the Western Athletic Conference.

"A lot people said the league this year would be between us, Christian, and Canajoharie," Galvin said. "We beat them handily at their place. And that’s not an easy thing to do. It sent a good message to Schenectady Christian that we are still hanging around."

The Bulldogs are looking to finish in the top two spots in the division so they can compete in the WAC tournament and get a chance to re-gain the trophy. The Bulldogs won the first three WAC tournaments after the league was founded in the 2001-02 school year.

"Obviously, we’re hoping to squeeze into the top spot," Galvin said. "The top two get into the WAC tournament and we should have one of those spots, barring a disaster. Knock on wood, we should be challenging for the WAC cup."

Galvin would like a chance at the top spot when the Bulldogs play Schenectady Christian on Feb. 1. Before then, the Bulldogs face league foes Schoharie and Sharon Springs, two teams BKW has beaten easily early this season.

After Christian, the Bulldogs take on Canajoharie on Feb. 5. That game will close out the regular season.

Then comes the WAC tournament, which will provide a good atmosphere just before sectionals.

"We’ll play two good teams no matter what happens," Galvin said. "This year, it’s at Saratoga. They will have the boys’ games there as well as the girls’. It will be a great atmosphere and a nice crowd. It will prepare us for sectionals and get us ready for big games."

What is putting BKW in this great position as the end of the season nears, is total team play. The four other starters have been contributing each game to help leading scorer Andrea VanDyke.

"Andrea’s consistently been our best player and scorer," Galvin said. "The other four are making it easy for her and have stepped in, scoring. Amber Pitcher scored a lot earlier in the year. And Anna Kusler, Lauren Ford, and Katrina Yakel have stepped up...Andrea’s our leading scorer, but the others have stepped up and it’s made us tougher to beat. Instead of just having two strong players, all our starters can contribute."

And that will make BKW harder to beat come playoff time.

"We are spreading out the scoring," Galvin said. "When Andrea can’t carry the load, other kids are ready to step up when needed."

By Tim Matteson

VOORHEESVILLE — After spending some time on the road, the Voorheesville boys’ basketball team is ready for some home cooking.

The Blackbirds have played just one home game since the holidays and just came off a week where they played three games in three days.

Voorheesville was in a battle with Colonial Council front-runner Albany Academy on Friday night and then traveled to central New York to play in the Oneida Tournament on Saturday and Sunday.

The Blackbirds lost to Academy, 64-57, on Friday. The Birds bounced back to beat East Syracuse-Minoa, 77-63, but lost in the championship game of the tournament to the Onieda, 70-62.

"A great game"

"It was our third game in three days," said Voorheesville Coach Don Catellier. "The kids were kind of tired...We were in it. It was a five-point game with three minutes to go, but we just ran out of gas. We played a tough game Friday against Academy. And then we had to play right away on Saturday. We had to play at three on Saturday afternoon. The kids handled it well."

The loss left the Blackbirds with a 9-5 overall record. The Birds are 6-4 in the Colonial Council.

For the second time this year, the Voorheesville team played tough against a talented and deep Albany Academy team.

"It was a great game over at their place," Catellier said. "It was packed and the atmosphere was great. Their depth caught up to us. Mackey Lloyd played a great game. There was pressure on him from start to finish. And he was our leading scorer with 15 points."

The Blackbirds also got good games from Evan Christner and Ethan Mackey. Both were outsized by Academy’s interior players, but outscored their counterparts.

"Evan had 13 points and Ethan had 12," Catellier said. "They battled their two big guys. They are 6-9 and 6-8. Evan is 6-4 and Ethan is 6-5 and they played them evenly. Evan held Chris Pelcher to nine points and Ethan held Shavar Fields to 14. Our two big guys outscored their two big guys."

"Home stretch"

In the league this winter, the Blackbirds have lost to Academy twice, and also to Cohoes and Mechanicville. The Birds have another crack at Cohoes and Mechanicville.

Catellier feels it’s been a good season so far.

"I’m pleased," he said. "We’re in the home stretch. We have six league games left. We have to play with high energy every night to get ready for sectionals. The Class CCs have a lot of good teams in it. We are working to improve every day."

With the schedule his team plays, Catellier feels that the Blackbirds will be ready for the tough Class CC Section II playoffs that start late next month.

"The Colonial Council is a war every night," Catellier said. "Coming into the season, we knew that Academy would be ahead of us. But everybody has battled them hard. There are three or four teams in the middle. It will be a battle for second or third. And there are teams on the bottom. But those teams are playing well. You are playing a good basketball team every night."

Luckily for the Blackbirds, most of their games down the stretch will be at home. Voorheesville will host Lansingburgh on Friday and Mechanicville on Tuesday.

"We have Cohoes and Mechanicville again," Catellier said of the teams that beat the Birds in league play. "We have them at home and that always helps. We also have ’Burgh and Watervliet at home. So that’s four of our six games. But, you know, we’ve become a pretty good road team."

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — The Guilderland girls’ basketball team entered a key stretch of the season last week. The players responded in exciting fashion.

The Lady Dutch beat Shaker in overtime last Tuesday and then blew out Ballston Spa Friday to earn two Suburban Council road victories last week.

Guilderland defeated Shaker, 67-66, in overtime in an exciting contest and then beat Ballston Spa, 42-25.

"We are having fun and things are starting to click," said Guilderland Coach Frank Cacckello. "We’re improving more than people thought. We’ve been playing good basketball for the last month. We’ll do what we’ve been trying to do, to keep getting better. We got two wins and practices are always better after a win."

The Shaker win might be the most important of the season so far.

"Mental toughness"

"It definitely was the most exciting," Cacckello said. "We put 67 points up on the board. A lot of people didn’t think that was something we could do. I talked to the kids before the game to ease them up and to tell them to let it fly. We’ve been playing good defense. They did that."

The Dutch were down early in the contest but turned it up.

"We got out in transition a lot and I went deep into the bench," Cacckello said. "We had an 11-point lead in the third quarter."

That’s when Shaker’s Morgan Rowland took over and brought her team back.

"You could sense the momentum turning," Cacckello said. "But we did a nice job of sustaining our intensity."

The Dutch were up by three points with 3.8 seconds to go in the game when Shaker went the full length of the court and got a three-point shot to go in as the buzzer sounded.

"We talked a lot about effort and getting the reward at the end," Cacckello said. "We showed our mental toughness. We came back and controlled the overtime and pulled out a one-point win."

Danielle Burns led the Lady Dutch with 15 points. Jen Madsen scored 11 points and MacKenzie Michele added nine. Jessica Bender, Casey Peebles, and Melissa Winne each scored seven points.

"It was a great effort," Cacckello said. "It was a much-needed win."

"Played with intensity"

The Ballston Spa win was another important road win for the Lady Dutch.

"Both of those wins were on the road," Cacckello said. "We’ve been home a lot and we haven’t won games — except for one tournament game — on the road. And Ballston Spa is playing much better."

The Dutch led the game throughout, jumping out to a 15-6 lead.

"We shot the three well and we let it fly," Cacckello said. "We played great defense throughout. We held them to 15 points until the last quarter. We played with intensity throughout the game. We played with a lead and that is something we haven’t been able to do."

Madsen led the way with 14 points, including three three-pointers. Burns added 10 points for the Lady Dutch.

Guilderland now has a 6-8 overall record and is 4-6 in the Suburban Council. The Lady Dutch will play at Burnt Hills on Friday and then host Shenendehowa on Tuesday. They close out the regular season at home against Columbia and on the road against Bethlehem.

Coaches vs. Cancer

The Shen game won’t be only an important game for the Lady Dutch on the court but off the court as well.

"It will be a tremendously important night," Cacckello said. "It’s our Coaches vs. Cancer night. The coaches will be wearing sneakers during the game to show support for research and action against this dreaded disease. The refs will also have pink whistles to show their support. It’s an important night for basketball."

The Shen game will also be an important one for the Lady Dutch to reach their goal.

"Again, sectionals are our goal," Cacckello said. "We are trying to get there and improve our seeding. It starts with our next three games. We have a big game at Burnt Hills. I like the way we are progressing. This is my most rewarding season as a coach. The kids are giving everything."

GUILDERLAND - For the second time this year, the Guilderland boys' ice hockey team beat their rivals from Saratoga.

This time, the Skating Dutchmen had to travel north to the Spa city to beat the Blue Streaks and had to go into overtime to do it. Guilderland beat Saratoga, 3-2, with Josh Evans's goal being the game-winner in the extra session.

Greg Warnken and Brian Tobin also scored goals for the Dutchmen. Dan Dickenson had two assists with Collin Burg, Jon Fogel, Conor Hurley, and Anthony Liguori each adding an assist.

Guilderland goalie Brendan Glennon made 17 saves in goal for the Dutchmen.

The Dutchmen have a 7-1 record in the Capital District High School Hockey League and are 7-7-1 overall. Guilderland sits in second place in Division I with 12 points.

Dutchmen beat Ballston Spa

GUILDERLAND - The Guilderland boys' basketball team remained unbeaten in the Suburban Council by winning its only game this week.

The Dutchmen blasted by Ballston Spa, 89-51, in a Gold Division game to improve to 10-0 in the league and stay in first place.

The Dutch led for most of the game, but blew open the contest in the second half by holding the Scotties to just 17 points in the final 16 minutes.

Brett Marfurt led the Dutchmen with 22 points.

Guilderland has a 12-2 overall record to go along with its unblemished league mark.

The Dutchmen host Burnt Hills on Friday and then travel to take on Shenendehowa on Tuesday. The Dutch wrap up the season with an away game against Columbia on Feb. 1 and a home contest against Bethlehem on Feb. 5.

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