Sabres scrap, but come up short (with photo gallery)

The Schalmont girls proved Tuesday night that desire and athletic ability can carry a basketball te

The Schalmont girls proved Tuesday night that desire and athletic ability can carry a basketball team a long way.

Unfortunately for the undersized Lady Sabres, those qualities couldn’t quite get them all the way through a full 32 minutes against Voorheesville, as the Lady Blackbirds scored the final five points to escape with a 40-37 Colonial Council win.

“The girls played as hard as they could for as long as they could,” said Schalmont coach Craig Sargent, whose team fell to 2-1. “Give credit to Voorheesville. They hit some shots in the fourth quarter, and we came up a little short.”

Sarah Madden, one of six players back from Voorheesville’s Class C championship team from last year, got the winning basket with 43.5 seconds to play. The final two of the senior’s eight fourth-quarter points put her team up, 39-37, its first lead since early in the first quarter.

Madden had drained a shot off an inbounds play moments earlier to tie the game, 35-35, as the 2-1, 3-1 Blackbirds fought back from three different 10-point deficits, including 26-16 at the half.

“Schalmont really came out and played hard. They took us right out of our game,” said Blackbirds coach Bob Baron. “Fortunately, we got untracked a little in the fourth quarter, and Sarah hit some big baskets at the end.”

Sargent knew going into the game that his team would have to find a way to overcome Voorheesville’s size advantage. That his team led by 10 at the half, with veteran Karley Murray sitting out the entire second quarter due to foul trouble, gave him hope.

“We didn’t run as much as we would have liked,” said Sargent. “But the first half was a good as I could have hoped for.”

“I think we showed that we can play with anyone in the league,” said senior guard Jessica Bellai, who led Schalmont with 13 points, nine in the first half.

“It was frustrating,” said Murray who gamely battled underneath the basket, but was held to two points on a pair of fourth-quarter free throws. “They’re very big up front, and I’m only 5-foot-5. I think I’m the smallest post player in the Colonial Council.”

“We needed Karley to battle underneath, Jessica to run the floor for us and for someone else, like Hailee, to get us some points,” said Sargent.

“I’m not surprised. We expect that from her,” Bellai said of Metzold, whose second and final three-pointer of the game put Schalmont up, 29-21, midway through the third quarter.

Voorheesville began making better use of its height advantage over the last 12 minutes, with 6-foot center Anna Feller connecting on a pair of put backs in the fourth quarter that got the Blackbirds within 35-32.

“We finally stopped putting the ball on the floor when we went inside,” Baron said. “We kept doing that, and Schalmont did a great job of getting their hands in there and taking the ball away.”

Feller blocked Murray’s shot in the lane, and after the teams both turned the ball over, Baron took a timeout to set up a shot for Madden, a six-foot perimeter player.

“It was a designed play from the inbounds,” he said. “Sarah’s a good shooter, and her shot is tough to block.”

Bellai scored on a drive to put her team back up, 37-35, the only basket the Sabres made in a four-point fourth quarter.

Jennifer Cillis hit two free throws to re-tie the game, and Madden’s basket on the Blackbirds’ next trip down the court was the winner.

“I’m relieved to come out of here with a win,” said Baron. “Schalmont showed me a lot.”

“It’s different this year, in practice, everything,” said Murray. “We want to show everyone that we’re a good team.”


Bogart 0-2-2. Blow 3-1-8, Cillis 3-3-9, Madden 3-5-12, Feller 4-1-9. Totals: 13-12-40.


Cardinal 2-0-4, Bellai 6-1-13, Metzold 4-0-10, Hyde 2-0-5, Vitallo 1-1-3, Murray 0-2-2. Totals: 15-4-37.

Voorheesville 8 8 10 14 — 40

Schalmont 16 10 7 4 — 37

Three-point goals: Blow, Madden, Metzold 2, Hyde.

Categories: High School Sports, Sports

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