Scotia-Glenville basketball coach Jim Giammattei bristles when he hears the “R” word.
“Absolutely, we have surprised some people this year. These guys have overachieved to a certain extent, but to say this is a rebuilding year is an insult to our seniors,” he said as his league-leading Tartans were getting ready for tonight’s Foothills Council headliner at Gloversville.
“We’re not rebuilding. We expect to compete in every game. Sure, we lost everything. We lost all our top scorers, and we have only one returning starter from last year, but we do have some seniors. We expect people on this team to step up and compete. That’s our tradition.”
The Tartans (7-2, 11-4) battled Gloversville for second place last season, and finished 11-3 in the league and 16-5 overall. But leading scorers James Kehoe (15.3 ppg) and Mike Stopera (15.0 ppg) graduated, along with two other starters.
Giammattei decided to rework this year’s lineup around his only real returning starter, point guard Jeff Stopera, seniors Kevin Frame and Weston Shapiro, who both missed last season with knee injuries, and 6-foot-10 junior center Jim Jansen, the tallest player in the league.
Despite overhauling his lineup, Giammattei guided his Tartans to eight wins in their first nine games, including a 58-53 victory over preseason favorite Queensbury and a 57-53 decision over Gloversville.
The Tartans’ eight-game winning streak was snapped by Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons, but Scotia-Glenville regrouped with three more wins before suffering back-to-back losses to Hudson Falls (58-52) and Queensbury (62-46).
“I would have liked to win the last two games, but by no means are we down about those losses,” said Giammattei. “We played two teams that were supposed to win this league. They were the favorites. Obviously, Queensbury is the most talented team in the league. They’ve got two players who competed in the Empire State Games on their roster.
“As far as the Hudson Falls game is concerned, that game was on their home court, and we just couldn’t make our shots in that game.”
Giammattei doesn’t want to put too much pressure on his relatively inexperienced team, but he expects the Tartans to compete hard every night.
“It’s a cliche, but for us, it’s truly one game at a time. We’re happy to be in the spot we’re in right now, but we’re not satisfied,” he said.
The anchors of this year’s team are Jansen in the post and Stopera at the point. Jansen is averaging 11.8 points per game. Stopera paces the balanced Tartans in scoring at
11.9 ppg, while Joe Ferrari is next at 11.3 ppg.
“Jansen seems to be getting better and better every game. With big guys, it takes a while to develop,” said Giammattei. “We just need Jimmy to continue to attack the glass for offensive rebounds, stay balanced and aggressively ask for the ball. He’s definitely getting better as the season progresses.”
Stopera is like another coach on the court.
“He’s an old-school, gritty little player. He does whatever he can to win. He’s all team. That’s what’s he’s all about,” said Giammattei.
But snapping the Tartans’ two-game losing streak won’t be easy against the Dragons, who are 4-4 in the league and 7-8 overall.
“Gloversville is a young team, and obviously, they’ve continued to improve They’re a team that has a lot of scorers. We have to do all we can to stop them. We don’t want them to score 80 points against us. We’ll play whatever defense we have to in order to beat them,” said Giammattei.
Gloversville’s Matt Baldwin, last year’s sixth man, has turned into one of the premier scorers in Section II. He is averaging just under 20 ppg, and has scored at least 20 seven times. He has cracked the
30-point mark twice, with 30 against Plattsburgh and 31 against South Glens Falls.
Ryan McCloskey, the only returning starter for the Dragons, provides both leadership and about nine points per contest. He has scored in double figures nine times, including a season-best 17 against Cobleskill-Richmondville.
Another featured game tonight pits Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake at Mohonasen in the Suburban Council.
The Spartans, 5-6 in the league and 7-8 overall, are led by Dave Fischer (14.6 ppg), Paul Layton (12.3 ppg) and Jaret Falkowitz (10.7 ppg).
Mohonasen, which saw its eight-game winning streak halted by Bethlehem on Friday, is 6-5 and 9-6.
Cameron Couball (13.5 ppg) and Jordan Macejka (12.7 ppg) are the top weapons for the Mighty Warriors, who lost to the Spartans, 63-58, in their first meeting this season.
Kevin Terry pumped in 21 points to lead Waterford-Halfmoon to a 63-38 victory over Hawthorne Valley in the Central Hudson Valley League Monday night,
Albany Academy for Girls outscored Loudonville Christian, 22-8, in the fourth quarter to rally for a 60-59 CHVL victory. Amanda
Cioffi led Albany Academy with 23 points, while Chelsea Wagner finished with 22, and Jillian Thonton added 21 for the Eagles.
Geneva Furlano finished with 17 points as New Lebanon evened its CHVL record at 5-5 with a 40-35 victory over Doane Stuart.
Albany ran its overall record to 13-3 with a 70-47 non-league victory over Glens Falls. Shenekwa Stewart led the Falcons with 19 points.
Alysha VanDyke scored 12 of her team-high 20 points in the fourth quarter as Berne-Knox-Westerlo rallied to defeat Greenville, 60-54, in a non-league game.
HAWTHORNE VALLEY 38
Coffey 1-0-2, Gallardo 4-3-11, Jackson 7-1-16, Muller 1-0-3, Smelle 2-2-6. Totals: 15-6-38
Carr 1-0-2, Daus 0-2-2, Hilton 3-0-6,
J. Iachetta 1-1-4, Terry 9-2-21, Walek 3-3-9, Walton 6-1-13, Yattaw 1-4-6. Totals: 24-13-68.
Hawthorne Valley 2 10 11 14 — 38
Water.-Halfmoon 12 8 17 26 — 63
Three-point goals: Jackson, Muller,
J. Iachetta, Terry.
ALBANY ACADEMY FOR GIRLS 60,
LOUDONVILLE CHRISTIAN 59
Buran 2-0-4, Verde 2-4-8, Benson 3-3-9, Cioffi 9-5-23, Carman 6-2-14, Chow 1-0-2.
Thornton 6-9-21, Camilleri 1-0-2, Burgher 5-0-10, K. Nicolaisen 1-0-2, Wagner 8-0-22,
J. Nicolaisen 1-0-2. Totals: 22-9-59.
Albany Academy 9 14 15 22 — 60
Loud. Christian 12 19 20 8 — 59
Three-point goals: Wagner 6.
NEW LEBANON 40, DOANE STUART 35
Sturdivant 1-0-2, Correa 2-0-4, Friel 6-1-13, Flanders 4-0-10, Chiastawa 3-0-6. Totals: 16-1-35.
Colon 3-1-7, M. Springer 4-0-8, Furlano 7-3-17, Capinello 3-0-6, H. Springer 1-0-2. Totals: 18-4-40.
Doane Stuart 6 12 7 10 — 35
New Lebanon 12 11 11 6 — 40
Three-point goals: Flanders 2.
ALBANY 70, GLENS FALLS 47
Beetle-Moorcraft 2-2-6, Bielinski 2-2-6, Coore 4-2-10, Gardiner 1-0-2, Hauser 3-2-8, Moore 2-5-9, Simon 1-0-2, Sims 3-1-7, Stewart 9-9-19. Totals: 27-15-70.
Broderick 2-0-4, Martin 1-3-5, Sam.
Mason 3-0-6, Sar. Mason 1-0-2, Norman 1-0-3, Romeo 1-2-4, Sullivan 7-1-18, Yole 2-0-5. Totals: 18-6-47.
Albany 20 10 27 11 — 70
Glens Falls 8 12 6 21 — 47
Three-point goals: Beetle-Moorcraft, Norman, Sullivan 3, Yole.
BERNE-KNOX-WESTERLO 60, GREENVILLE 54
Ford 3-2-8, Kusler 3-3-9, Mann 3-3-10, Pitcher 4-1-11, VanDyke 6-4-20, Wilson 0-2-2. Totals: 19-15-60.
Benninger 2-1-6, Dudley 3-1-8, Frederick 2-2-6, Russell 2-0-5, Stevens 2-0-4, Winnie
3-0-6, Young 9-2-20. Totals: 23-6-54.
BKW 13 16 5 26 — 60
Greenville 12 16 15 11 — 54
Three-point goals: Mann, Pitcher 2, VanDyke 4, Benninger, Dudley, Russell.
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