Winning just one of Schenectady’s objectives in Hilliard Tournament

The Schenectady boys come into their Arthur Hilliard Memorial Tournament tonight playing a solid bra

The Schenectady boys come into their Arthur Hilliard Memorial Tournament tonight playing a solid brand of basketball, and with a three-game winning streak.

The Patriots would like to emerge from the event Sunday night at the Pat Riley Sports Center playing at an even more efficient level, and with the biggest trophy in their possession once again.

“We’d like to win the tournament. That would be good for these guys. That’s our main objective, but as we go for that, we’d like to correct some of the things we don’t do as well as we’d like to do,” Schenectady coach Mark Sausville said. “We had a nice win earlier in the week against LaSalle, but I saw things we can clearly get better at.

“If we’re going to compete the way we want to against some of the better teams around here, we’ve got to get better.”

Schenectady (4-2) will be coupled with an all-Suburban Council group, and will take on Niskayuna (1-4) in tonight’s opening round game at 7. Tournament newcomer Guilderland (4-0), a Section II Class AA semifinalist last season, and Saratoga Springs (4-1), led by one of the area’s premier players in Holy Cross-bound Jordan Stevens, meet at 5:30.

Schenectady defeated both Niskayuna (53-39) and Saratoga Springs (79-52) last year to capture its 11th tournament championship in 12 years.

“I don’t know a whole lot about Niskayuna. I did see the tape of one game [a 52-33 loss to Shaker],” Sausville said. “They’re very methodical on offense. I think they understand that they need to get good looks and take high-percentage shots. Defensively, they know we’re a little more athletic, so I would expect to see some kind of zone, but you never know. They did play some man-to-man against Shaker, so we may see that, too.”

Schenectady’s defense has been tight through six games, with only Shenendehowa reaching 60 points against the Patriots. Sausville, though, is asking for more production at that end as his young team continues its climb back to area prominence after two straight lackluster seasons.

“Defensively, the other night, I don’t think we communicated as well as we can,” Sausville said of Tuesday’s 66-55 win at LaSalle. “We can improve there. I also think we can rotate a little better, and in our press, we can cover our zones a little better.

“It’s never a lack of effort with this group. There are just little things we’ve got to keep reminding them of, and I believe, event­ually, they’ll stick.”

At the opposite end, while Schen­ectady’s point production has increased in every game during its recent streak of success, Sausville is hardly content.

“I want our guys to make better decisions, and continue to share the ball. We did not have as many assists as I’d like in the LaSalle game,” said Sausville. “It wasn’t the kind of number I’d like to see.”

Derrick Millinghaus reached a career scoring high for the third time this season with 31 points against LaSalle, while Reece Jackson netted 16 points and Devonte Millinghaus added 12. Schenectady beat Amsterdam before that, 62-53, and Troy, 61-40.

Niskayuna’s lone win came against Bethlehem, 55-53, and the Silver Warriors have lost three in a row since, against Saratoga Springs, Shaker and Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake.

Guilderland has a strong one-two punch in Kevin Kost and Jon Terry, while Stevens recently passed 1,500 points for his career.

Sunday’s consolation and championship games are at 4 and 7, respectively. Schenectady has failed to reach the title game only once, in 2006, when it lost to Saratoga Springs before beating Niskayuna for consolation honors. The Pat­riots had won 20 consecutive Hilliard games before that year.

The Schenectady girls (8-0) will bring a No. 7 state Class AA ranking — their highest ever — into today’s opening-round game against Niskayuna (4-0) at 4. The contest is a rematch from the last three Hilliard finals, with Schenectady taking the title last year and Niskayuna securing championships in 2006 and 2005.

Schenectady also won Hilliard crowns in 2001 and 2002, has reached all seven finals and will strive for another behind Brown-bound Sheila Dixon, Antonia Will­iams, Samara Butler, Amanda McClean and Amanda Colaf­emina. Dixon scored 20 points in last year’s 62-43 title-game win over Niskayuna, and McLean notched nine of her 11 points in a game-breaking, third-quarter surge.

Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake (1-4) and tourney newcomer Columbia (2-4) meet in today’s first game at 2:30. Sunday’s final is at 5:30, and the consolation game is set for 2:30.

Columbia is replacing Schalmont, which will instead compete at the Scotia-Glenville Tournament with Schenectady Christian, Tamarac and the host Tartans.

The boys’ Kirvin Cup at Mohonasen will be staged Monday and Tuesday, with reigning Section II Class A champ Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons joining newcomer Lansingburgh, Schalmont and the host Mighty Warriors. Tournament mainstay Scotia-Glenville is hosting its own event this weekend.

Categories: High School Sports

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