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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, December 3, 2009

Voorheesville comes out flat in opener, strong finish wins it

By Jordan J. Michael

ROTTERDAM –– It took the Blackbird basketball team an entire half to find its rhythm in the season opener at Schalmont on Tuesday night.

Voorheesville had a 24-to-18 lead at halftime, despite missing numerous shots and allowing the Sabres to penetrate its defense. The Birds came out strong in the second half though, and rolled to a 57-to-44 victory.

“We couldn’t hit shots for the life of us in the first half,” said senior center Ethan Mackey who led the Blackbirds with 21 points. “We calmed down in the second and stopped rushing our shots. Hopefully, we’ll open up games better next time.”

“I think we had first-game jitters tonight and Schalmont has a scrappy team,” said Head Coach Don Catellier. “We relaxed in the second half and played great defense, which led to our offense.”

Chris Castren scored the first bucket for Voorheesville and Aaron Pommer hit a three for Schalmont. Mackey missed a handful of shots down low and the Sabres had an 11-to-8 lead after the first quarter.

Joe Keenan gave the Birds the 12-to-11 lead in the second quarter when he stole the ball and streaked to the other end for a lay-up. The two teams traded the lead, but Voorheesville wouldn’t look back after taking the advantage at halftime.

“Our team is quite unselfish with the ball. We can all score,” said Mackey.

A Castren baseline lay-up gave the Blackbirds a 30-to-20 lead and Castren finished with 10 points. The team scored most of its points from close range by dominating the glass.

“We have great outside shooters like Conor Cashin and Keenan, but our strength is inside,” Catellier said. Mackey seems to be a force down low, similar to last season. “Basketball is an easy game if you can put the ball in the net.”

Cashin, Castren, Nick Crawford, James Currier, Mackey, Josh Meilak, and Max Schuster all return from a successful 2008-09 campaign. However, there is never a soft night in the Colonial Council.

“We’ll be a competitive team if we work hard like we did tonight,” said Catellier. “The ball should bounce our way if we stay healthy.”

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