Spartans looking for another Cinderella run

Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake put together an astonishing run through the Section II boys’ basketball to

Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake put together an astonishing run through the Section II boys’ basketball tournament last year when it beat three lower-seeded teams and captured the Class A championship.

Can the Spartans repeat history?

They took the first step Wednesday night as the tournament’s No. 12 seed, knocking off No. 5 Glens Falls behind Robbie Knightes’ career-high 32 points, 57-43. That win gave the Spartans a quarterfinal date today at 1 p.m. against No. 4 Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons at Hudson Valley Community College.

“You look at all of the teams out there, and we can beat anybody. On the same token, they can all beat us,” Burnt Hills coach George Dudas said. “The one thing we know is we can’t win anything with a mediocre performance. We’ve got to play extremely hard, and we’ve got to execute our game plan every time we go out there.”

Burnt Hills shows a 5-14 record, yet has three wins in its last six outings.

“It has gotten better. We’re 3-3 in our last six, and that includes an overtime loss to Shenendehowa and tough losses against Niskayuna and Shaker,” said Dudas. “The chemistry is starting to get better. Defensively, we’re coming on. This is the time to start doing it.”

Burnt Hills lost to Glens Falls at its Christmas tournament, 53-51, before earning some payback.

“We went up there and played well, and Robbie had a special night,” said Dudas.

Knightes sparked a 21-12 first-quarter spurt with 10 points, capping the frame with a buzzer-beating three from just inside the halfcourt line, and the sophomore totaled 14 points in the final stanza. Keaton Flint scored nine points, and Jake Batty snared 14 rebounds.

“Some of the boys were saying to me that we haven’t been mentioned much this year,” Dudas said. “I told them, ‘You win that first game, and they will. People will start recalling last year.’ ”

Burnt Hills entered last year’s tournament with a 7-11 record and a No. 7 seed, and beat No. 2 South Glens Falls, No. 6 Gloversville and No. 1 Lansingburgh to regain the title it won in 2004 and 2005. It took a buzzer-beating three-pointer by Phil Neumann to get past South Glens Falls, and the Spartans needed overtime to prevail against Lansingburgh.

“Can they do it again? Why not,” said Dudas. “Why not us.”

Bishop Gibbons (9-10) defeated Averill Park Wednesday, 61-42, behind James Vice’s 18 points, Mike Gallagher’s 16, and a man-to-man defense that gave the Warriors fits.

“Vice makes things happenen,” said Dudas. “We’ve got to keep him under wraps, and we’ve got to battle on the boards with them. We’ve got to go out and compete.”

Three other Class A quarter­finals will be played today at HVCC. Lansingburgh (No. 3, 14-4) meets Hudson Falls (No. 6, 13-6) at 2:30, Mohonasen (No. 2, 14-4) takes on Queensbury (No. 7, 8-9) at 4, and Scotia-Glenville (No. 1, 17-1) battles South Glens Falls (No. 8, 10-9) at 5:30.

Categories: High School Sports

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