Saratoga Boys Basketball Uses a Tough Defense to Overwhelm Colonie
They were slow to start, but quick to the finish Friday night, as the Saratoga High boys’ basketball team gave a shellacking to the visiting Garnet Raiders of Colonie.
Pressured by Colonie’s two-three zone defense, the Blue Streaks (4-4, 2-4) scored just five points in the first period. But the second period more than made up for the early drought, bringing 25 points and a 30-15 halftime lead they never relinquished, winning 61-33. The win brought to a halt the team’s four game losing streak.
Coach Jack Brock said the team loves defending their home court. But he said the first quarter started off slow because the players were just too tight. “And I told my assistant this, soon as we hit that first shot things will loosen up. And then we were tight, tight, tight. We finally hit a shot towards the end of the first quarter that loosened things up. Once we loosened things up, it just kind of took off. You know, it takes a life form of its own.”
“The offense started off slow,” said Nick Smith, who contributed ten points in the win. “But the offense finally started moving and we picked up the tempo a little, so that helped out a lot. The tempo in the first quarter was a little slow, so we wanted to pick it up in the second, and that’s what we did the rest of the game.”
They also began forcing turnovers. Noah Arciero scored three quick layups at the start of the second period, all off Colonie errors. The Blue Streaks had a 17 point run in the middle of the period, and they never looked back.
Halftime talks can be tough when a team is up by 15 points. But Brock said he spoke about the fundamentals – play hard, and keep an eye on the little things. “We talked at halftime about it being a zero-zero game, and having to really work hard for the next two quarters. We seem to do this, you know, you have peaks and valleys in a game, and we get in these valleys and it’s hard to get out sometimes. So we talked at halftime about just keep the pedal to the metal and keep on pressing and stay in the zone, don’t come out of the zone.”
Jonathan Rach fights through heavy traffic
Tempers flared a bit in the fourth period. Sean McPadden, a Colonie forward, got into a tussle with Camarin Ellis with 6:25 left in the game. The two locked up over the ball and rolled across mid court. After the whistle blew, McPadden continued to say things to Ellis and finally charged him before being restrained by a teammate. McPadden was hit with a technical and removed from the game.
Brock said he was disappointed. “Both teams were doing things I don’t like. That happens in the intensity of the game sometimes. A little trash talking on both sides. But we just talked about it in the locker room, we want to celebrate the victory but we also don’t want to bring ourselves down there. Things happen, but that kind of thing shouldn’t be happening.”
Jesse Alexander, a junior starter, got into foul trouble with two fouls in the first half, and two quick fouls at the beginning of the second. But Brock said the team’s bench stepped up. “We got Taylor Mickle coming in off the bench. He’s as good a sixth man as there is in the league, I’m gonna tell you. I mean, he’s just a dynamite kid, he’s not afraid of anything.
“That’s the way we practice too. There’s seven or eight guys that practice together every single night, so that they’re interchangeable. You’re in foul trouble? That’s okay, fine, we’re not going to panic, here you go, you’ve got to step it up.”
Brock said the game was perhaps the team’s best of the year, at least so far. But Saratoga won’t have much time to savor Friday’s win. The Blue Streaks travel to Bethlehem on Tuesday. Brock said they’re a very good team. “They run on eight cylinders, everybody else is on four.”
But he says they won’t do anything too special to prepare for Bethlehem. “You go to work. You go to work and you don’t back down. We don’t back down from anybody – we really don’t. That’s not bravado, we just – we’re a tough team. We’re out-sized by every single team in the league. But we just spread it out. We don’t care who scores. I don’t care if Arciero scores, or Cam scores, or who scores. We just come in, work hard, and we’re going to do the best we can.”
Nick Stiansen fights for a rebound while Taylor Mickle (#11) watches
ON THE WIRE