High School Basketball: Golden Knights looking to earn first win in Kirvin tourney

The Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons boys’ basketball team is hoping to take a few steps forward at this we

The Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons boys’ basketball team is hoping to take a few steps forward at this week’s Kirvin Cup Tournament at Mohonasen High School.

Under first-year coach Jay Mahoney, the revamped Golden Knights have yet to win a game, with a seven-point setback at Amsterdam Tuesday marking their sixth straight defeat.

“I see signs that we’re getting there, but it’s a learning process,” said Mahoney, who inherited a Section II Class A semifinal team that lost area scoring leader Brian Hamor as well as its top rebounder in Nick Sarchioto and quickest defensive player in Bilal Shabazz.

“Out of our games, I can pick 10 minutes from each where we played very good basketball. When we played CBA, we were within four points in the second quarter, and then they turned up their defense and pulled away.”

Mahoney thinks his team is capable of pulling off a surprise, and possibly two, in the all-Class A tournament that begins Tuesday at 6 when his Golden Knights take on Lansingburgh (6-2). Mohonasen (2-3), the two-time defending Kirvin champion, and Schalmont (1-5) renew their Rotterdam rivalry at 7:30.

“Being 0-6 doesn’t sound too good. We’d like to get a win,” said Mahoney, whose team has faced only Big 10 Class AA competition to date, with two of its other setbacks coming against Bishop Maginn and Albany. “Maybe we can steal one from Lansingburgh, and then we’ll see who we see in the final.”

“I think Bishop Gibbons can give them a good game,” said Mohonasen coach Ken Dagostino. “Lansingburgh is good, and they’ve got the big kid [6-foot-10 Tyler Hammett], but Gibbons has played well in this tournament before. I wouldn’t count them out.”

To break into the win column, it will take more consistent play than the young Golden Knights have shown. In Lansingburgh, they’ll face a team that’s lost only to Class AA Albany Academy and unbeaten Voorheesville — the top-ranked Class C squad in the state — and is riding a three-game victory streak.

“We’ve got to take care of the basketball. We’ve been in the 20s with our turnovers in every game. We’re wasting possessions, and although that comes with being young, that’s got to get better,” Mahoney said. “We’ve also got to try to win the glass. We’re a little undersized, but if we box out, it can happen.”

Sophomores James Vice (14.8 ppg) and Jonathan Villanueva (8.3 ppg) could use a little more support in the scoring department, too. They were the only players on the team that reached double digits in points until Ryan Mellon, one of its four seniors, put in 10 points in Tuesday’s

75-68 loss.

Vice netted 18 points against Amsterdam, and had a season-high 24 in a 56-54 loss to Catholic Central.

“We’ve struggled to score, at times,” said Mahoney. “The other night, we put up 29 in the fourth quarter, and I’m thinking, ‘Where’s that been all year?’ ”

Bishop Gibbons will begin the new year with consecutive home games against LaSalle, Schenec­tady, Bishop Maginn and Troy.

“We want to be playing our best basketball in February,” said

Mahoney. “We want everyone playing hard for 32 minutes. We want everybody doing their job. I think they’re buying in to what we’re trying to do as a team, but like I said before, it’s a process. I’m still getting to know them, and they’re still getting to know me.”

Mohonasen (2-3) beat Schalmont, 52-30, and then Bishop Gibbons, 52-50, to capture the 2008 Kirvin championship. Bishop Gibbons opened last year’s event with a 70-62 win over Lansingburgh to reach the title game.

“It would be nice to have some success before we bounce back into our Big 10 schedule,” said Mahoney.

Mohonasen also beat Bishop Gibbons in the Kirvin final in 2007 and 2005. Bishop Gibbons took the title in 2006, topping Mohonasen.

“We want to win the tournament. We have weekly goals, and that’s the big one for this week,” said Dagostino. “I tell my guys before our games, ‘We have an hour and a half of opportunity, and let’s take advantage of it.’ ”

Mohonasen has dropped three straight Suburban Council games since a 2-0 start, losing to Averill Park, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake and Ballston Spa by a combined 12 points.

“It hasn’t been because of a lack of effort, a lack of hustle or a lack of desire. Our boys are getting

after it, but we’ve had an extremely high number of turnovers, and a lot of them have been unforced,” said Dagostino, who has only one starter back from last season’s Section II Class A semifinal team in Garrett Sisson. “We’re just young, and it’s a correctable situation. I think we’re going to be OK.”

Gloversville, Saratoga Catholic, Schenectady Christian and South Glens Falls will be among the host schools for tournaments that start Monday. Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake and Scotia-Glenville are among the hosts for tournaments that begin Tuesday.

Schenectady will not be hosting its Arthur Hilliard Memorial Tourn­ament this year.

The Amsterdam girls’ holiday tournament begins tonight and concludes Monday, with West 50th Street, Corcoran and John F. Kennedy-Bronx joining the Lady Rams. Amsterdam (2007) and JFK (2008) won titles in the event’s first two years.

Girls’ tournaments start Monday at several schools, including Col­onie, Mayfield and Middleburgh.


jackson to join pats

The Schenectady boys’ basketball team will soon be getting size and a proven scorer with the return of Big 10 first-team all-star Reece Jackson.

Schenectady coach Mark Sausville said the 6-foot-6 senior, who underwent offseason ankle surgery, is expected to see his first action of the season a week from Tuesday against two-time defending Big 10 champion Bishop Maginn at the Pat Riley Sports Center.

Jackson was second among the Patriots last season with a 15.4 scoring average (Derrick Millinghaus averaged 18.8), and landed a spot on the all-state Class AA 12th team. Jackson scored a season-high 26 points against Albany, and had 24 against Niskayuna.

Schenectady (4-1) plays at Alb­any Academy in a non-league game Monday night.

branche top sc player

Michael Branche of Colonie was selected the Suburban Council player of the week for games played Dec. 14-18 after averaging 18.5 points and 10.5 rebounds in a split with Shenendehowa and Niskayuna.

The 6-foor-4 team captain scored 16 points on 8-for-14 shooting and grabbed eight rebounds in a 50-31 loss at Shenendehowa. He bounced back with 21 points on 10-for-13 shooting and snared 13 rebounds in a 55-51 win over Niskayuna.

cba moves up

With wins over Amsterdam and Schenectady, Christain Brothers Academy moved into the state’s top 10 in rankings for Class AA boys’ teams.

The Brothers (6-0) are No. 8, up from No. 12, while Shenendehowa (4-0) took the No. 12 spot after

being ranked No. 16 in the prev­ious poll put out by the New York State Sportswriters Association. Albany Academy (4-3) is No. 22 among Class AA teams.

Voorheesville (5-0) remained at No. 1 in Class C, where Schoharie (6-1) checks in at No. 15. Another Western Athletic Conference school, Sharon Springs (4-0), is No. 6 in Class D.

The girls’ teams from Averill Park (5-0) and Maple Hill (7-0) are ranked No. 1 in Class A and Class C, respectively.

Categories: High School Sports

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