Patriots still haven’t hit on all cylinders

Coach Mark Sausville gave his Schenectady boys’ basketball team a passing grade for the performance

Coach Mark Sausville gave his Schenectady boys’ basketball team a passing grade for the performance it put forth through the first half of its Big 10 schedule. He’d like to raise that mark to an A, and said his Patriots have the potential to get there.

“We’ve got some things we need to improve on, and I think we can improve on,” said Sausville. “If we can do some things better, I think we can play with anyone in the area. If not, we’re going to head home some nights as unhappy people.”

The Patriots walked out of Catholic Central with smiles Tuesday night after outlasting the Crusaders in overtime, 73-69, to begin the second half of their league schedule. Shadell Millinghaus scored a career-high 29 points in the victory, which boosted their Big 10 mark to 6-3 heading into tonight’s matchup with Amsterdam at the Pat Riley Sports Center.

“Catholic Central is pretty good, and it’s tough to win there,” Sausville said. “We played OK the other night.”

Sausville, though, is looking for more from a team that beat Catholic Central, Amsterdam, LaSalle, Troy and Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons in the first half, yet lost to Big 10 leader Christian Brothers Academy, as well as Bishop Maginn and Albany.

Schenectady and Albany are tied for third place in the league, with Bishop Maginn 8-2 and CBA 10-0.

“I want to hold teams to less points. We’re giving up too many layups and too many putbacks,” said Sausville, whose team, 7-3 overall, has surrendered 60 points or more in all but one game. “We’ve got to continue to get better at stopping people and defensive rebounding, and that goes across the board.

Everyone has to get better.

“We need more consistency. We have to do it every night on defense.”

Sausville is seeking an upgrade in play at the offensive end, too.

“We’re trying to get points back too quickly. We come down and take quick ones instead of making them play defense,” Sausville said. “The guys feel like they’ve got to get it all back in a hurry.”

Too many quick shots at one end and a lack of defensive execution at the other can turn a slim deficit into a huge hole. That’s the scenario Schenectady found itself in when it lost to Bishop Maginn, 81-64, and before that when the Patriots bowed at CBA, 79-57, and Sausville warned his players that it could happen again.

“I told them, ‘If you don’t continue to get better, you’re heading toward underachievement,’  ” Saus­ville said. “I don’t want that to happen to these guys. I don’t want them, six years from now, saying we could have. They can make it happen. The talent is there. It’s still the middle of the season.”

Schenectady will have Reece Jackson available for the stretch run as it vies for league placement and a high Section II Class AA tourn­ament seed. The 6-foot-6 swingman had his senior season delayed by offseason ankle surgery, and scored nine points in his debut Tuesday night.

“He was a factor on the glass, and he scored some points,” Sausville said. “He helped with those things, but his presense was important, too. He’s a veteran player.”

Millinghaus’ had his second big offensive output at Catholic Central’s expense, having generated 25 points in a season-opening 76-62 win before piling up 29 Tuesday.

“He played very well,” Sausville said of the Millinghaus, one of Section II’s rising sophomores. “He scored 29 points, but he did other things. He had an all-around great game.”

Derrick Millinghaus earned scoring honors in the first meeting with Amsterdam (2-8, 2-11), piling up a school-record 34 points in an 83-73 victory. Antonio Johnson led Amsterdam with 16 points, and Corey Sumpter netted 15.

“The first time we played them, they hung around for a long time. Johnson shot well, and they hit the boards,” said Sausville. “They played hard, and I expect them to play hard again.”

Schenectady has league games next week at LaSalle and Troy, and then has a three-game stretch against CBA, Bishop Maginn and Albany before closing out with Bishop Gibbons.

“Everyone in the league is better the second time around. That means we have to be better,” said Sausville.

Categories: High School Sports

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