Blackbirds struggle with consistency

The Enterprise — Jordan J. Michael

Soaring bird: Voorheesville’s Shane Parry attempts to shoot over the outstretched arm of Lansingburgh’s Nick Foster during Tuesday’s game in Lansingburgh. The Blackbirds (6-1) won, 64 to 60, after being up by 18 points at halftime.

The Enterprise — Jordan J. Michael

Regulator: The Blackbirds moved to 6-1 on the season after a 64-to-60 win at Lansingburgh on Tuesday evening. Here, Voorheesville’s Noah Crawford, behind, who scored 25 points, guards Darnell Sutton, who scored a game-high 34 points.

The Enterprise — Jordan J. Michael

Retreat! Voorheesville’s Logan Hotaling dribbles away from two Lansingburgh defenders after rebounding the basketball in the first half of Tuesday’s game. The Birds had a sizeable lead at halftime, and hung on to win, 64 to 60. Hotaling scored 13 points.

LANSINGBURGH — The Voorheesville basketball team has had a successful season so far, but the Blackbirds resembled Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde on Tuesday night in Lansingburgh.

Voorheesville roared out to an 18-point lead in the first half with superb shooting, precise passing, and busy defense that dug a grave for Lansingburgh. However, that grave was left unfilled in the second half as the Knights slowly clawed back into the game.

Lansingburgh kept chipping away as Voorheesville’s shooting went south. Darnell Sutton, who scored a game high of 34 points for the Knights, drained a three-pointer from the top of the key to get Lansingburgh to within two points with under a minute remaining in regulation play.

“We thought we had the game in the bag,” Voorheesville’s Noah Crawford said of the 37-to-19 lead the Birds had at halftime; he scored 25 points. “We did what we had to do in the first half, and we thought it was enough to make them keel over, but they didn’t. They kept going, kept fighting.”

With one victory on the season, Lansingburgh had nothing to lose.

“Against scrappy teams like that, you have to put them away or they will find a way back in,” said Logan Hotaling, who scored 13 points for Voorheesville. “We had a great first half, executing how we wanted to. In the second half, we came out a little sluggish, a little tired, and it took us some time to figure it out.”

If the Blackbirds hadn’t built such an impressive lead in the first half, it probably would have lost the game. After Sutton made his colossal three-pointer, Crawford was able to make all four of his free throws, icing Voorheesville’s 64-to-60 win.

“We can do what we want to do, but, when we break down like that, we tend to get on the side of not knowing what to do,” said Crawford. “Their [Lansingburgh] full-court pressure in the second half was perfect; they did what they had to do.”

A similar situation transpired during Voorheesville’s previous game at home against Mechanicville last Friday. The Blackbirds were able to hold on for a two-point victory, but only after giving up a 15-point lead in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter.

Following Tuesday’s game in Lansingburgh, Voorheesville Head Coach David Burch told The Enterprise that his team needs to be consistent for four quarters on both offense and defense.

How does a coach teach consistency?

“We practice,” Burch said. “We’ll practice the concept, talk about it, and live that kind of life until we’re playing that way. If we want to…these players have high goals…If we want to meet those, we have to work hard. Nobody is going to hand us anything.”

Voorheesville (6-1) lost its rhythm in the second half on Tuesday, got caught on the wrong end of the momentum, and Burch said that will always lead to big trouble for any basketball team.

“Lansingburgh was hungry for a win, so that’s why we came out with an attitude in the first half,” said Burch. “This game can change within two minutes. That’s why consistency needs to be maintained.”

Against Mechanicville and Lansingburgh, Voorheesville came out strong like a great team that can go far, Burch said. The Birds have had moments of dominance this season, and Burch says it has been fun to watch.

“I have no doubt in my mind that we can be a team that can finish games just like we start them,” Hotaling said. “We can only get better from here, learn from our mistakes.”

If Voorheesville is able to maintain or extend the comfortable leads that it’s now known for building, then the Birds will be capable of afflicting major damage during the Class B playoffs next month. If not, Voorheesville risks falling down the ladder of the Colonial Council standings; the team is currently at the top.

Burch said that the Voorheesville seniors talk to him about wanting to win a sectional championship.

“That’s our goal, and it’s very realistic,” said Burch. “If we want to be a great team, then we have to play great all the way through.”