Schenectady High School coach Mark Sausville has been impressed with how the Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons ballhandlers have been finding Zach O’Brien and Brian Hamor for open shots.
That means the Patriots defenders must find O’Brien and Hamor, also, if Schenectady wants to win the city rivalry game at 6:30 tonight at the Pat Riley Sports Center.
Hamor is averaging 18.5 points per game, and O’Brien 18.0 for the Golden Knights, who are 4-2 in the Big 10 and 6-4 overall, and tri-captain point guard Avery Mitchell is a threat, too.
Chris Lewis has been a standout defender for Schenectady, and will likely be assigned to either O’Brien or Hamor.
“We have to get out on them, and not let them spot up,” Sausville said. “I think my kids are coming together a little bit. Defensively, we’ve gotten a lot better. We’ve got five guys helping each other.”
The teams split regular-season games last year, as Bishop Gibbons finally ended an 11-year, 22-game losing streak to Schenectady with a 54-36 home victory in which O’Brien ripped the Patriots for 22 points.
Bishop Gibbons coach Garry Horne said after that game that he used the losing streak as a motivational tool, but now that the streak is over, he wants his team to concentrate on playing well, and not on rivalries.
“I try not to put undue pressure on the kids,” he said. “Sometimes they believe what’s in the headlines too much.
Sausville, on the other hand, doesn’t mind dangling the city matchup aspect in front of his players.
“I think we do play it up a little bit,” he said. “You’ve got to have some pride, and you look for things like that, as a coach. It’s big. We mentioned it a little bit today. They got us last year in that one game. It does mean something, because they play against each other all the time, and see each other around town.”
Schenectady will be without starting center Mark Blair, who hurt his ankle against Saratoga Springs in the Hilliard Tournament, and will be sidelined for at least another week.
That means the Patriots will be a little smaller, but the key to their defense will be how they guard the perimeter, anyway, especially in transition, when Bishop Gibbons is capable of kicking out for three-pointers.
“We’ll give Chris Lewis to one of them [O’Brien or Hamor], because he’s a very, very hard worker,”
Sausville said. “He gets up into you. He did a great job on [Jordan]
Stevens in the Saratoga game. We’ll also look at Kendall Delgado, who might not be the most skilled kid we have, but he gives us a boost off the bench, and is a relentless defender.
“Not having Mark Blair makes us a lot smaller, we’re all 5-11 to 6-2, but we’re pretty interchangeable.”
“My three captains have all been playing very good ball, and generally, our team will follow their lead,” Horne said. “We need them to turn it up another notch. Everybody knows you have to contain them, but it’s not as easy as it sounds.”
The Patriots (4-3, 7-4) are coming off a 91-66 victory over Albany in which they clamped down on defense right from the start and continued to develop an unselfish personality on offense. Schenectady also has victories over Shenendehowa and Saratoga.
Even without Blair, the Patriots have a deeper bench than the Golden Knights.
“I’ve been following their progress,” Horne said. “They’re loaded with athletes. They’re almost as deep as Maginn, but they play a little differently. Their kids have been getting better every game. They can slash and back down defenders. They’re so quick and so versatile, and they put a lot of pressure on defenses because they crash the boards. They’ve got 12 guys and a lot of speed.”
“We had a tough early season, with Bishop Maginn, CBA and Catholic Central, but we’re starting to get some confidence,”
Sausvile said. “We’re learning to distribute the ball, and cut down on turnovers.”
st. johnsville wins
On Monday, Evan Springer scored 14 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter as St. Johnsville got past Dolgeville, 63-60, in a non-league game.
Jaxson Smith scored 11 of his 19 points in the third quarter as
St. Johnsville (7-3) got back into it by outscoring Dolgeville (7-4), 20-11.
Josh Weaver scored 18 points for Dolgeville, and Kelsey Brandow scored 15.
In a Central Hudson Valley League girls’ game, Jessica Knuetter scored 22 points to lead Berlin to a 58-23 victory over New Lebanon.
In a Big 10 game played Friday, Albany built a 48-36 lead after three quarters and held off Schenectady, 57-51.
Shenewka Stewart led the Lady Falcons with 14 points, and Prima Groves and Chelcy Moore each scored 10.
Sheila Dixon scored 22 points for Schenectady.
ST. JOHNSVILLE 63, DOLGEVILLE 60
Jodway 2-0-4, Brandow 5-4-15, Edick
3-0-9, Normoyle 1-0-3, Ardoin 1-3-5, Weaver 9-0-18, Gray 1-0-2, Lagrange 2-0-4. Totals: 24-7-60.
Springer 11-4-28, Vicciarelli 3-2-9, Lyons 1-0-2, Dygert 1-1-3, Smith 6-5-19, Szczesniak 1-0-2. Totals: 23-12-63.
Dolgeville 10 18 11 21 — 60
St. Johnsville 8 12 20 23 — 63
Three-point goals: Brandow, Edick 3, Normoyle, Springer 2, Vicciarelli, Smith 2.
BERLIN 58, NEW LEBANON 23
Knuetter 10-2-22, Reed 4-4-12, McCawley 0-2-2, DePaolis 4-3-11, Hogan 3-1-7, Willis
1-2-4. Totals: 22-14-58.
Gavrity 1-0-2, Colon 6-0-13, Furlano 1-2-4, Carpinello 2-0-4. Totals: 10-2-23.
Berlin 19 13 15 11 — 58
New Lebanon 8 2 4 9 — 23
Three-point goals: Colon.
ALBANY 57, SCHENECTADY 51
Butler 1-1-3, Colafemina 1-1-3, Csakany 3-2-8, Dixon 10-2-22, Williams 2-1-5, Cromwell 3-1-7, McClean 1-0-3. Totals: 21-6-51.
Coore 1-3-5, Groves 4-2-10, Beetle-Moorcroft 2-0-4, Simms 4-0-8, Moore 3-4-10, Hauser 2-2-6, Stewart 7-0-14. Totals:
Three-point goals: McClean.
More from The Daily Gazette: