New BKW coach, team still wins

The Enterprise — Jordan J. Michael

Far reach: Berne-Knox-Westerlo’s Justin Lee puts up a lay-up between two Schoharie defenders during the first half of last Friday’s game in Berne. The Bulldogs won, 44 to 38, to move to 6-2 on the season. Lee scored six points.

The Enterprise — Jordan J. Michael

Focused observation: The Bulldogs’ basketball team moved to 4-0 in the Western Athletic Conference with a 44-to-38 victory over Schoharie at home last Friday. Here, some Berne-Knox-Westerlo players watch the game from the bench in the second half.

The Enterprise — Jordan J. Michael

Where’s the foul? Maclin Norray, a senior for Berne-Knox-Westerlo, looks towards the referee last Friday in Berne after the referee blew his whistle during a battle for possession of the basketball. The Bulldogs beat Schoharie, 44 to 38, and Norray scored 25 points and grabbed 15 rebounds.

BERNE — Tim Moseman, the new Berne-Knox-Westerlo basketball coach, walked into a tough situation and, in half a season, has won his players’ confidence and produced a winning team.

“We’re like a family,” said BKW senior Justin Lee after the Bulldogs beat Schoharie, 44 to 38, last Friday, increasing its record to 6-2. “We started off kind of shaky, but we’re good now.”

Back in October, some BKW players stood in front of the school board, expressing their support for Andrew Wright, who was fired after coaching the team for 10 years. Last Friday, it seemed like none of that mattered.

“We just look at what’s going on now,” Lee said.

After a tremendously low-scoring first half last Friday — both BKW and Schoharie shooting poorly — the Bulldogs built a 33-to-16 lead off of a 13-to-2 scoring run in the third quarter. Senior Maclin Norray had an impressive showing for BKW, scoring 25 points and grabbing 15 rebounds. The game was in the Bulldogs’ control.

However, the Indians weren’t done. Half-way through the fourth quarter, Devan Smida and James Sackett made consecutive three-pointers, closing the gap to seven points. Schoharie got to within five points, but BKW, hoisted on the strong shoulders of Norray, held on for the victory.

Moseman told The Enterprise that a similar circumstance played out in the previous game against Duanesburg. The Bulldogs had been ahead by 17 points, but the Eagles were able to make the contest close.

“When you coach, it’s more about the point spread in a game,” Moseman said after beating Schoharie last Friday. “We’re spreading the points out, getting leads, but, towards the end, we make mistakes that young kids would make.”

Five of BKW’s 12 players were with the team last season. The Bulldogs have skilled players, but not much experience.

“They’re building their confidence,” Moseman said of his players. “They’re going to want the basketball at the end of the game, but they have to learn to be strong when they get it. Finishing the game is important.”

For example, if a BKW player takes a shot with a lot of time left on the shot clock, up 16 points late in the game, that’s something Moseman would rather not see happen. “Those are the little things we have to learn,” he said.

Coming into last Friday’s contest, BKW was averaging 57.5 points per game; Schoharie was averaging 63.5. Each team scored well below its mean.

“We had a bad night with shooting,” said Justin Houck, a sophomore.

“The crowd was getting into it pretty good,” Lee added. “Both teams were fighting really hard defensively.”

Houck and Lee said that Moseman pushes the players quite hard in practice, especially on defense where he’s been rather strict. At times, Schoharie looked foolish against BKW’s high-pressure defense.

As a coach, Moseman is very skill-oriented, so there’s no down time with the team, he said. Moseman said that every BKW player listened to what he had to say from day one; none of their heads were down.

“A good coach isn’t going to be friends with the players. A good coach is their coach, a professional relationship between you and the kids,” Moseman said. “You’ve got to separate that; that’s how programs fall apart. When you try to be buddy-buddy, they think that they’re favorites. You can’t do that. You have to separate yourself from that.”

As a physical education teacher at Ballston Spa High School, Moseman commutes back and forth to Berne. That’s more of the separation he was talking about.

“I travel all over, state to state, so driving an hour is nothing, really,” he said. “Everything has been positive. We’re looking out for the best interests.”

It’s all about the kids, Moseman said, referring to the basketball players who compete in the games. He said that the adults, the parents, must realize that the game is for the kids.

“Parents sit in the stands and live through their kids’ eyes,” Moseman said. “Let them play basketball, let it be their time to play. We could put a bubble over the gym; the parents can look in, but can’t say anything.”

Back in October, parents of current and former players, and other adults yelled at the BKW School Board over Wright’s dismissal. Have the players said anything to Moseman about Wright or the way he used to coach?

“Absolutely not…There aren’t any of those conversations,” Moseman said. “If they did bring that stuff up, I’d say, ‘Let’s move forward.’ I would leave it.”

The entire BKW community has been really good with moving the basketball program onward, Moseman said.

“It’s been great, the kids have been great, and the administration has been great,” said Moseman. “I’ve talked to a lot of people.”

The Bulldogs are 4-0 in the Western Athletic Conference and have a few non-league wins over Heatly and Keene. Also, BKW beat Sharon Springs by 51 points.

How far can the Bulldogs take this season?

“Ultimately, we want to win the league,” Houck said.

Lee hopes that BKW can make it to the Glens Falls Civic Center for the Class C semifinals. “I mean, we have a lot of work to do; it’s going to be hard,” he said. “I think we can do it.”

Moseman is pleased with how the Bulldogs have been playing, but he was irked by two non-league losses to Maple Hill and Ichabod Crane; the team did not play well. Although BKW is a hard team to scout because seven or eight players are constantly in the rotation.

“One day, we look awesome, then the next day, it’s like, ‘Oh my god,’” Moseman said. “That’s youth. I don’t want to predict anything.”

BKW is still trying to find its best chemistry.

“We have kids that can play,” Lee said. “Everyone comes into the game, fills their role.”

Moseman talked about being BKW’s coach for three, four, five, or six more years down the road.

“I want this team to get to the level of being able to compete with some big schools in non-league play,” said Moseman. “I’m in the process of getting film on every team; I have guys filming for me all over. I’ll have a better idea about this later.”