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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, February 28, 2008

Poor start, shooting leaves Bulldogs cold

By Tim Matteson

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."

Dutchmen hold off late Blue Bison stampede

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — The victory came much harder than originally expected.

The Guilderland boys’ basketball team had to hold off a late Shaker rally in the Class AA Section II quarterfinals at the Times Union Center on Sunday.

The Dutchmen prevailed, 63-57, thanks to some deft foul shooting, and advanced to the Class AA semifinals today (Thursday) against Christian Brothers Academy at the Times Union Center in downtown Albany.

"We’ve played a couple of close games lately," said Guilderland senior Brett Marfurt. "We have senior leadership and I want to take free throws if we need them. And Kevin [Kost] made free throws. We’re happy with the win."

Marfurt made five foul shots in the final minute and Kost scored the final two as the Dutchmen held off the Blue Bison in Sunday’s contest.

Guilderland also got a fast-break lay-up from Dan Gejay with 41 seconds left in the game to help with the win.

"Things were clicking"

"I think we had a 19-point lead at one time," said Guilderland Coach Ron Osinski. We were happy with the cushion. We were in some foul trouble but we got a bucket at the end of the first half and we came out in the third quarter and played well. Then things were clicking for them and we had to hold on."

Junior Jon Terry tipped in a missed shot with one second left in the second quarter and the Dutchmen led, 39-22, at the halftime intermission.

John Weinheimer started off the third quarter with a jump shot for Shaker, but Marfurt answered with a three-pointer for Guilderland.

After a jump shot by Shaker’s Greg Bonomo, Terry scored three straight points for Guilderland. Terry made a foul shot and then scored inside to make the score, 45-26, with 5:30 left in the third frame.

Shaker came back with four points, as Ryan Sullivan scored inside and Tom McDonald hit a jump shot for the Blue Bison.

Marfurt scored on a fast-break after receiving a great touch pass from Terry, but Sullivan made a foul shot to make the score, 47-31, with two minutes left in the quarter.

Janique Lanier stole the ball and made a fast-break lay-up for Shaker with 50 seconds left. But Terry scored inside and Marfurt knocked down a three-pointer to keep the Dutchmen comfortably ahead by 19 points, 52-33.

Sullivan finished out the scoring in the quarter with two foul shots.

The early part of the fourth quarter belonged to Shaker.

Weinheimer hit a three-pointer and Lanier made a foul shot to make the score, 52-39, two minutes into the frame.

Bonomo’s three-pointer cut the lead to 10 points with 5:10 left in the contest. His jump shot at 4:48 made the score, 52-44.

The Dutchmen finally scored in the fourth quarter as Kost scored inside with 4:07 left.

Lanier answered for the Blue Bison with an inside bucket to keep the Dutch’s lead to eight points.

Sullivan knocked down a short jump shot with 2:18 left to cut the lead to six and Lanier stole the ball and went to the basket for a fast-break lay-up with 1:12 left, making the score 54-50.

Marfurt made both ends of a one-and-one free-throw opportunity with 1:09 left but that was quickly answered by a three-point shot from Chris Hooks with 55 seconds left.

But the Dutchmen were quick on the inbounds and Gejay got the ball in the open court and made a fast-break lay-up with 41 seconds left to put the lead back up to five, 58-53.

Lanier made two foul shots for Shaker with 29 seconds left to cut the lead back down to three points, but Marfurt was fouled on the ensuing Dutch possession and calmly knocked down both ends of a one-and-one with 24 seconds left.

Weinheimer scored on a drive to the basket with 16 seconds left in the contest. Marfurt made a foul shot a second later to make the score, 61-57.

Shaker got the ball and attempted a three-point shot, but Andrew Smith blocked the attempt and Kost got the ball and was fouled. He knocked down both foul shots, and the Dutchmen were up by six points with five seconds left and could finally breath easily.

"For the first two-and-a-half quarters," Marfurt said, "we played some of our best basketball of the year. We looked good on a lot of possessions."

Marfurt led the Dutchmen with 24 points. Kost added 18 points and Terry scored 11. Smith chipped in with eight points.

Sullivan led Shaker with 20 points. Lanier scored 12 and Bonomo added 11 for the Blue Bison.

"Pressure is good"

"We are happy to advance on," Osinski said. "The pressure is good. We’re a little surprised. We haven’t seen it all year.

"They came down and made us pay for it," Osinski added. "They were driving to the basket and we fouled them and that stopped the clock. That didn’t help much. We shut down. We were not as aggressive. We didn’t attack like we did in the first half."

The Dutchmen will have to play with that aggressiveness for the entire game if they want to beat CBA in the semifinals on Thursday night. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m.

The Brothers beat the Dutchmen in a close contest at the Columbia Holiday Tournament.

"We are now entering the area where we are not the favorite," Osinski said. "CBA is the favorite. We do not have much room for error. The turnovers we made with a 17- and 19-point lead, we can’t have those against CBA. We have to be on top of our game. We have to be at our best for 32 minutes."

"CBA is the match-up we want," Marfurt said. "We lost to them back in December. But that was a while ago. This is going to be fun."

Blackbirds defend their way to title game

By Tim Matteson

VOORHEESVILLE — The Blackbirds are stingy defenders.

The Voorheesville boys’ basketball team used a tough defense to defeat top-seeded Schenectady Christian on Monday in the Class CC Section II semifinals and set up a championship match with fellow Colonial Council member Mechanicville at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.

The Blackbirds, who are the fourth seed in the class, held the Falcons to 44 points and never trailed in the second half en route to the 54-44 victory at the Glens Falls Civic Center.

Voorheesville beat Berne-Knox-Westerlo, 74-55, on Friday at the University at Albany in a quarterfinal match-up of local rivals.

"This is great," said Voorheesville senior Evan Christner after the semifinal contest. "We’ve not been here in a while. It’s a great feeling. It proves the hard work paid off."

Voorheesville was last in the title game in 2005 when the Blackbirds were a Class B school.


"We played really good defense," said Voorheesville Coach Don Catellier. "We work hard on defense and that’s what wins for us. We played man mostly with a little zone on inbound plays. We played hand-in-your-face man-to-man."

The Blackbirds shut down Schenectady Christian’s top two scorers, Jake Bowman and Bryan Bishop, in Monday’s contest.

"Our game plan was to hold Bowman and Bishop under their average and we did that," Catellier said. "We did the same thing with [Matt] Lounsbury of Berne. It worked."

"We played straight man-to-man and the game plan was to take Bowman and Bishop out of the game," said senior Mackey Lloyd. "We wanted to take those two out and force the rest of their guys to beat us."

Schenectady Christian led, 13-10, at the end of the first quarter, but the Blackbirds tightened up in the second stanza.

Voorheesville held the Falcons to six points in the frame and the Blackbirds took flight for 16 points in the quarter.

Kevin Klembczyk opened the scoring, getting a lay-up inside after getting a nice pass from Lloyd. Lloyd then scored on a drive to the hoop and the Birds had the lead, 14-13.

Christner cleaned up a missed shot with a put-back with 6:35 left in the second quarter. Ethan Mackey scored inside to give Voorheesville an 18-13 lead.

Schenectady Christian finally scored again with 4:40 left until halftime. Petar Serafinovski scored from close range for the Falcons.

Mackey scored after grabbing an offensive rebound for Voorheesville with 3:35 left in the stanza.

Schenectady Christian got another basket with 3:17 left in the quarter on a put-back by Chris McCarty.

But a few seconds later, Klembczyk stole a pass and went to the basket for a fast-break lay-up. He stole another pass on Schenectady Christian’s ensuing possession and passed the ball to Lloyd. Lloyd then made a great pass inside to Nick Kinisky who finished the play with a basket.

Bowman made two foul shots for Schenectady Christian, but Voorheesville had the final answer in the half as Kinisky scored on a running one-handed lay-up with one second left in the second quarter to give the Birds a 26-19 halftime lead.

"Playing great"

The Blackbirds would never trail again even though they were outscored in the third quarter, 10-8.

Voorheesville put the game away early in the fourth quarter.

After a drive to the basket by Bowman, Mackey made his own strong drive to the hoop. Bowman made a foul shot to make the score 36-32 at the 6:28 mark, but Schenectady Christian would not score again until Bishop made a three-point shot with 2:43 left in the contest.

In the meantime, Voorheesville scored 10 points.

Lloyd hit a shot in the lane and that was followed by a three-pointer from Klembczyk. Kinisky connected on his own three-point shot just as the shot clock buzzer went off. Christner added a short jump shot and the Blackbirds led by 14 points, 46-32, with 3:11 left in the contest.

Bishop’s three-pointer cut the lead to 11 points, 46-35, and Bowman scored inside to make it 46-37 with 2:21 left in the game.

Klembczyk made a foul shot with 1:53 left, but Bowman made two of his own to make the score 47-39 with 1:30 left.

Bowman scored off an in-bounds pass to cut the lead to six points but the Blackbirds were getting fouled and answering at the free throw line.

Lloyd made both ends of a one-and-one opportunity with 1:26 left and Mackey made one with 1:09 left to make the score 50-41.

Bowman made a turnaround jump shot with 1:01 left to cut the lead to seven points, 50-43.

Lloyd made two more foul shots and Mackey added another to build the lead to 10 points, 53-43. Kinisky added one more foul shot, as did Bowman to round out the scoring and give Voorheesville a 10-point win.

"We were nervous playing in Glens Falls," Christner said of his team’s slow start. "I haven’t played here much. We had to get focused and we started playing great."

Christner led the Blackbirds with 16 points. Mackey scored 14 points and was a force grabbing 11 rebounds during of the contest. Lloyd scored 10 points and Kinisky chipped in with eight points for Voorheesville.

"Evan is our big man inside," Lloyd said. "And ‘E’ hits the mid-range jumpers. When those two are playing well, we’re tough to stop."

Bowman did finish the game with 18 points for Schenectady Christian. Serafinovski added 11 points for the Falcons.

"We thought that, going in, we might have had a mismatch with them," Catellier said. "Their two big guys both had more quickness and we might have trouble staying with their two kids. But we knew we could get the ball inside and could handle the boards. And we were able to."

In Catellier’s four years as head coach of the Blackbirds, this marks the third trip the team has made to Glens Falls, deep into the sectionals. The Birds made it to the Class B semifinals in 2006, but lost to eventual champion Schuylerville.

"We’ve been here three out of the last four years," Catellier said. "And we’ve been to the finals in two of those years. That’s not a bad four-year run. That shows we have good kids as well."

Birds get the best of Dogs in neighbor battle

By Tim Matteson

WATERVLIET — Two neighborhood rivals went across the county to determine which team would advance to the Class CC Section II semifinals.

The girls’ teams from Voorheesville and Berne-Knox-Westerlo battled in an intense, physical contest in the small old-school gym at Watervliet High School on Saturday night. The Lady Blackbirds escaped the battle with a 51-33 win over the Lady Bulldogs in front of a packed house.

Voorheesville came in as the sixth-seeded team in Class CC and BKW was seeded third.

"It was an intense, hard-played game," said Voorheesville Coach Robert Baron. "It was intensely played on both sides."

Baron’s Blackbirds advanced to the semifinals and faced Colonial Council rival Watervliet on Wednesday at Hudson Falls High School.

"It was a fun game," BKW Coach Tom Galvin said of Saturday’s contest. "It was physical and we knew that. Both teams knew what they could get away with. I like those kinds of games. I tell my kids all year to be physical, physical, physical. Voorheesville came at us quick and punched us in the face a bit. We adjusted and, at the end, it was a good game. I was unhappy it ballooned at the end. It was not a 51-33 game."

"At the sectional level, the intensity goes up," Baron said. "The kids play hard because they know it is one and done. No one on the team wants to lose, so we put our best effort forward."

Hot start

Voorheesville got off to a hot start and scored the first six points of the game.

Senior Brittany Vogel opened the scoring with four points and Heather Bates made two foul shots to give the Birds a 6-0 lead.

BKW got on the scoreboard with two foul shots from Anna Kusler.

Voorheesville added to the lead after Bates scored on a fast-break lay-up after a pass was stolen by Vogel. Then Bates made a free throw and Vogel scored on a fast-break lay-up after a steal by Casey Becerra and the Blackbirds led, 11-2, with 2:52 left in the opening frame.

The teams traded baskets with Kusler scoring inside for the Bulldogs and Sarah Goss scoring off a rebound for Voorheesville.

Elizabeth Madden scored inside for the Lady Blackbirds but that was answered by a three-pointer from BKW’s Amber Pitcher to make the score, 15-7, with 1:19 left in the first quarter.

Pitcher added two foul shots later in the period, but Voorheesville led, 15-9, at the end of the first stanza.

BKW could not get any closer in the rest of the first half, and trailed, 20-13, at the halftime intermission.

Kusler scored after grabbing an offensive rebound to cut Voorheesville’s lead to four points early in the second frame.

Then both teams went into a scoring funk as the ball and bodies were flying around the gym at Watervliet but the ball was not going into the basket for either team.

Kusler scored off an offensive rebound for BKW with 3:06 left until halftime.

Voorheesville finally scored again on a jump shot by Vogel with 1:39 left in the quarter. Goss then knocked down a jumper with 38 seconds left in the stanza and Vogel added a foul shot with 10 seconds left, and the Lady Blackbirds had a seven-point lead at halftime.

"Our best basketball"

Voorheesville led by eight points at the end of the third quarter, 34-26.

Jocelyn Mann opened the frame with an inside basket for BKW. After Bates hit a jump shot for Voorheesville, Katrina Yakel scored inside for BKW to make the score, 22-17, early in the frame.

Vogel scored inside for the Blackbirds and Yakel hit a short jump shot for the Lady Bulldogs.

Vogel added to the Voorheesville lead with a three-point bucket and Goss hit a jumper, and the Blackbirds led by 10 points, 29-19, with 4:16 left in the third quarter.

BKW would put together a small comeback. Lauren Ford scored on a drive to the basket with 3:28 left and Yakel scored after grabbing an offensive rebound with 2:42 left to cut the Voorheesville lead down to six points.

Ford made a foul shot and Yakel knocked down a close-range jump shot to cut the lead down to three points, 29-26, with 1:27 left in the third frame.

But Voorheesville finished the stanza strong.

Madden made two foul shots and Becerra hit a three-pointer and, all of a sudden, the Lady Blackbirds had an eight-point lead as the third quarter came to an end.

Kelly Glath then put the dagger in the Bulldogs early in the fourth quarter. She hit a three-pointer to give the Blackbirds an 11-point lead.

BKW came back with two foul shots from Pitcher and Ford knocked down a jump shot to cut the lead down to seven points, 37-30, with 6:24 left in the game.

Voorheesville got a jump shot but that was answered with a three-pointer from Pitcher with 4:50 left in the contest to make the score, 39-33.

The Lady Bulldogs would not get any closer.

Voorheesville closed the game with a 12-0 run to earn the victory and advance to the semifinals.

Kate Pendergast made two foul shots and scored inside to spark the run. Bates scored on a fast-break lay-up and Pendergast scored on a lay-up.

Becerra scored inside and Pendergast scored inside to round out the scoring and clinch the win for the Blackbirds.

"Our offense has been struggling," Galvin said. "They didn’t score for five or six minutes but we only scored a few. We gave them a 1-3-1 zone [defense] that slowed them down, but we did not have the firepower. We battled back, but, if we hit early, it’s a different game."

"I think we played our best basketball in the second half," Baron said. "Especially in the fourth quarter. We go nine deep and all nine kids played a lot of minutes. We had fresher legs and that allowed us to play our best basketball in the fourth quarter."

"We came together"

A very good season came to an end for BKW after Saturday’s loss. The Bulldogs finished the season with a 14-5 overall record and a 12-2 mark in the Western Athletic Conference, with the only losses to Schenectady Christian.

The Bulldogs will be losing six seniors.

"Kusler, Yakel, and Ford are the starters not coming back," Galvin said. "But I’ll miss all the seniors. From the stars, to the role players that played two minutes a game, we came together as a family. Most of the seniors have been with me for a couple of years. We have six juniors returning that saw some significant time during the stretch run"

"The junior varsity won their division," Galvin added. "And the modified teams lost one game combined. The kids are already bugging me about playing AAU [Amateur Athletic Union] a day after the season. They are ready for AAU and that is a good sign."

As for Voorheesville, there was more basketball to play this season. The Blackbirds battled league rival Watervliet for the third time on Wednesday in the Class CC semifinals.

"We played them in two close games," Baron said. "It was four points and three points the last two games. We lost to them by three on their court at the end of the season. We are looking forward to giving them another good battle."

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