It was no surprise that Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake suffered through a couple of offensive droughts in its season-opening basketball game at Niskayuna Friday night, and the Silver Warriors took advantage.
“Obviously, with them playing their first game, you can’t expect them to come in and tear it up,” Niskayuna coach Mike Black said after his team won for the third time in four tries, 47-38. “Our guys did a real good job when Burnt Hills struggled a bit. It allowed us to get some breathing room.”
The Silver Warriors put together a scoring run in each half totaling 21 unanswered points, the second push extending their lead to 32-15 in what would end in a Suburban Council North Division victory.
Kyle Bayly scored 14 points for Niskayuna (1-1, 3-1), including four in a balanced 12-0 first-half run, and Aaron Wyngowski netted 11 points, five coming in a 9-0 third-quarter surge.
“We wanted to slow things down and run our halfcourt offense. We weren’t able to do that in our last two games because they [Shaker and Columbia] were pressuring us a lot,” said Bayly, a junior guard who has scored in double digits in each game. “We played it at our pace, swung the ball and took advantage of our size.
“Burnt Hills played a very physical game on defense, but we were able to do enough good things.”
With only nine practices under its belt due to the school’s long football season, Burnt Hills looked unorganized and unsure at times the offensive end of the court. In the second quarter, the Spartans went scoreless until Keaton Flint dropped in a layup with 22 seconds left.
“I thought our defense was there and the kids played with a lot of heart, but we could have done a better job on the boards, and with us being limited in what we’ve put in so far, it affected our offense,” said Burnt Hills coach George Dudas.
“We’ve still got to put things in on offense and defense,” said BH-BL senior center Jacob Meyers, who had seven points, seven rebounds and drew two charging calls. “We have a good work ethic and we’re going to iron some things out. It can only go up from here.”
Nothing went down for the Spartans for quite some time after Meyers’ layup pulled Burnt Hills within 11-8 in the first quarter. Bayly and Jacob Syed ended the period with jumpers, and in the second frame, Peyton Houghtaling scored on a tip-in, Bayly and Guy Waltman scored on layups, and Wyngowski nailed another jumper later on before Flint’s layup made it 23-10.
“That dry spell hurt us,” said Meyers. “They were in a 3-2 matchup zone and it was a little tough to break down.”
“The guys have got to work their way through that,” said Dudas. “If we could have kept it around seven, that’s a big difference.”
Burnt Hills got a three-pointer from Tyler Paluba and a layup from Flint to begin the third quarter before Niskayuna answered with nine straight points to pull away from its 23-15 lead.
“We hit a couple of baskets and had momentum on our side,” said Dudas. “I’m thinking, ‘We’ve got a shot here. The kids are battling.’ ”
Niskayuna, though, battled back, as Wyngowski converted a three-point play to start the 9-0 run and turned a steal into a layup soon after. A putback by Matt Royce and a succesful drive by Bayly extended the hosts lead to 32-15, and John Fragnoli’s putback hoop made it 39-26 entering the final quarter.
“Aaron is a kid who plays multiple sports. He does a great job of understanding situations and making plays,” Black said of his senior guard, who finished with five steals. “He makes things happen. He did that tonight. He has a knack for that.”
Brandon Beatty scored all 13 of his points in the second half for Burnt Hills, including three three-point baskets. The junior’s last got the Spartans within single digits, at 46-38, with 37 seconds left.
“I’m very happy with the effort considering we had no scrimmages, only nine practices and we were missing our top player,” said Dudas, referring to Zach Morton (elbow injury), one of his eight players who were members of the school’s state runner-up football team. “The kids were fierce.”
“Those guys were hungry. It was their first game and they really wanted to win,” Bayly said. “They came out with intensity, and we matched that. We had to push back.”
Niskayuna never trailed after Bayly and Wyngowski scored on drives to begin the contest, and Bayly totaled seven first-quarter points.
“I was really pleased with how we started the game,” said Black. “We talked about matching their intensity. We knew they would be pumped up, and our kids came to play. They didn’t always execute, but they played hard.”
Batty 1-0-2, Beatty 5-0-13, Bynon 1-0-3, Flint 2-0-4, Little 1-0-2, Meyers 3-1-7, Paluba 3-0-7. Totals: 16-1-38.
Syed 1-0-2, Wyngowski 5-1-11, LaMar 0-1-1, Houghtaling 2-1-5, Bayly 6-1-14, Fragnoli 1-0-2, Waltman 2-2-6, Royce 3-0-6. Totals: 20-6-47.
Burnt Hills 8 2 16 12 — 38
Niskayuna 15 8 16 8 — 47
Three-point goals: Beatty 3, Bynon, Paluba, Bayly.
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Categories: High School Sports