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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, January 20, 2011

BKW basketball season stuck in the doghouse at 2-8

By Jordan J. Michael

BERNE –– The Bulldogs’ basketball team watched the snow and ice fall on Tuesday as a scheduled game at Schoharie was postponed. It might not have been the worst news after losing seven straight games.

Head Coach Andy Wright, now in his eighth season with Berne- Knox-Westerlo, has never lost seven games in a row. The team is 2-8 after two consecutive 30-point losses –– to Voorheesville and New Hartford on Saturday and Sunday.

“I’m not down on these kids, but they need to figure something out,” said Wright on Monday. “We have to get over six wins.”

The Bulldogs were 6-15 during Wright’s first season in 2002-03. “We’re trying to hold our heads above water,” he said this week. “But, its not looking so good.”

Wright was also displeased with the 59-to-45 loss to Middleburgh at home on Jan. 11, which sunk the team to 1-5 in the Western Athletic Conference South. “It’s been bad,” he said.

However, BKW lost four starters from last season, and the team’s top point guard for this year, Mike Gamble, was diagnosed with mononucleosis and is expected to be out until Feb. 1. Sophomore Tristan Wilson has stepped in for ball-handling duties.

“I overlooked the impact of losing those players,” Wright said. “Each of them could handle the ball well and take it up the floor, no problem.”

With Gamble sidelined, the Bulldogs are starting two sophomores, two juniors, and only one senior, Corbin Repscher. Sophomore Garrett Pitcher and junior Nate Krimsky are each averaging 14 points per game.

But, two great players don’t guarantee wins. Wright has been asking kids to mature early for the past two years; giving a few freshmen some playing time on a varsity team.

“The kids are playing basketball, that’s not the problem,” said Wright. “We had to change plans and now things are out of whack. I play the hand that I’m dealt.”

Wright told The Enterprise that, over the years, he has always had a go-to guard –– Craig Houck, Matt Lounsbury, David Sikule, and Ryan LaBelle –– but, with Gamble down, the need is unfulfilled.

“This has resulted in trouble,” said Wright. “Wilson is doing all that he can, but it’s a tough job.”

The team will have to live or die by scoring in the low 50s or high 40s, Wright said. One bright spot is under the basket where Krimsky frequently drives to the hoop and Tyler Sigond often grabs 10 rebounds per game. Pitcher also likes to drive the hoop, but he can hit the outside shot.

“We’re having a tough time rotating in the defensive zone,” Wright said. “But, I’ll tell you one thing, teams aren’t beating us inside.”

BKW has had its share of close games this season. The team had two opportunities to tie Sharon Springs late in the game, but lost 51 to 42. The Bulldogs lost to Canajoharie, 47 to 44, and fell to Duanesburg, 54 to 52.

“My players have to mentally prepare themselves to come back and prevail in close games,” said Wright, who has been noticing his team getting beaten by the opponent’s guard play.

“We’re letting these guards kill us,” Wright said. “It’s like asking a turtle to chase a mongoose around. It’s very hard to stay in front of them.”

The Berne-Knox-Westerlo community got excited when Wright, a former player, took the head-coaching job. Many Bulldog followers thought Wright would return the team to what they term its “glory days.”

Basketball for BKW has been decent since Wright took over, but not outstanding.

“It’s not over for us yet,” Wright said. “We, as coaches, have to deal with the talent base and we have to be satisfied with the players. Sometimes you trip up and don’t have a lot of players in one class. The team has been competitive throughout, but key things are missing.”

The Bulldogs have only one senior leader, Repscher. A new gymnasium is being built for next year and, with that, will come a weight room with $20,000 of equipment donated by Gold’s Gym.

Also, Wright says that great players will be coming up from a talented junior-varsity squad.

“I felt good about the team, but then we lost some guys and got into a rut,” Wright said. “It’s real sad,” he concluded. “We’ll finish with heads up.”

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