Scotties dial up intensity, 53-49 (with photo gallery)

A more aggressive defensive approach in the second half helped lift Ballston Spa’s boys out of their
Ballston Spa’s Jonathan Hammond, right, moves around  Mohonasen’s Joshua Schaninger.
Ballston Spa’s Jonathan Hammond, right, moves around Mohonasen’s Joshua Schaninger.

A more aggressive defensive approach in the second half helped lift Ballston Spa’s boys out of their funk Friday night.

The Scotties applied a press, sank back into a more intense defense and kept Mohonasen scoreless for the first 7:06 of the third quarter. Meanwhile, Jonathan Hammond was leading them back into contention on their way to a 53-49 Suburban Council win.

“First half, we came in going hard,” Hammond said. “That’s what we need. We’re a young team. We’re good, we’re fast, we just have to keep this going.”

Hammond scored 11 of his team-high 20 points in the fourth quarter. His basket with 25 seconds left in the third tied the game at 32-32, bringing the Scotties back from an 11-point halftime deficit.

The Scotties’ defense was dismal in the first half, allowing open looks for the Mighty Warriors on the perimeter.

Ballston Spa coach Tim Moseman said he had talked to the team all week about containment and rotation on defense, knowing Mohonasen could sit four or five players on the arc and shoot from outside.

The rotation was slow to get to the Mighty Warriors, especially Garrett Sisson, who booked 14 of his 21 points in the second quarter.

“Our whole defensive philosophy broke down in the first half,” Moseman said. “In the second half, we showed some pressure, and it loosened up our kids a little bit.”

Hammond said the halftime talk was centered around slowing Sisson down.

“Coach said we need to stop him, so we just put our best defender on him,” he said. “He had a few more points, but we stopped him.”

Sophomore Ryan McVaigh drew the defensive assignment to start the second half. Not only did he play tight defense on Sisson, he also started cleaning the glass, grabbing five rebounds, two offensive that led to three second-chance points, in the first four minutes of the period.

Sisson was hobbled with 6:12 left in the third quarter and went to the bench. He returned 2:11 later after watching the Mighty Warriors commit four turnovers in his absence.

Even with Sisson back on the court, however, the Scotties’ defense kept Mohonasen out of the paint and out of the scorebook. A Jeffrey Kruzinski three-pointer with 54 seconds left in the period broke the scoreless slump and Sisson hit a deep three with two seconds left, but Ballston Spa still had all the momentum.

Mohonasen assistant coach John Karbowski, who took questions after the game because head coach Ken Dagostino had to leave for family reasons, said the Mighty Warriors’ youth showed in the second half.

“We’re a young team, and we let the lead evaporate so quick after the first half,” he said. “We fought back, but then Jon Hammond took over. We knew he could shoot, we just didn’t get out on him.”

The Scotties (2-2 overall, 2-2 Suburban Council) also got 10 points apiece from McVaigh and Mark Seager. Seager also had four steals.

Mohonasen dropped to 2-3 overall and 2-3 in the league. The Mighty Warriors got 12 points from Joshua Schaninger.

Mohonasen hit nine of 31 three-point attempts, eight of 14 from inside the arc. The outside shooting, Karbowski said, contributed to the big swings in the game.

The Mighty Warriors recovered for another 11-point lead with 6:09 left in the game, but Ballston Spa responded with a 16-0 run to take a 48-43 lead with 1:17 as Hammond converted an and-one opportunity.

Hammond was three-for-four at the charity stripe in the final 23.4 seconds to keep the Scotties ahead by two possessions.

Moseman said simulating tense game moments in practice seems to have paid off for the Scotties, who received clutch play even from their younger players.

“We’re very disciplined in practice,” he said. “We put ourselves in situations like that in practice, shooting free throws under pressure. Our practices are very intense.”


McVaigh 4-2-10, Denofio 1-0-2, Seager 2-5-10, Bishop 2-0-5, Hammond 7-4-20, McElwain 2-0-4, Stenglein 1-0-2. Totals: 19-11-53.


Dalton 2-1-5, Schaninger 3-3-12, Sisson 8-2-21, Kruzinski 2-0-6, Tallman 1-0-2, Manikas 1-0-3. Totals: 17-6-49.

Ballston Spa 11  7 14 21 — 53

Mohonasen 12 17  6 14 — 49

Three-point goals: Seager, Bishop, Hammond 2, Schaninger 3, Sisson 3, Kruzinski 2, Manikas.

Categories: High School Sports, Sports

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