The tribute to Eddie Stanley was both beautiful and emotional, and the game that followed Friday night just kept getting better and better for Schenectady’s basketball team after it paid hommage to the fallen star.
That’s when a kid with bright pink sneakers came off the Albany bench and stole the show.
Conor Driscoll scored all of his 14 points in a second-half surge as the unbeaten Falcons wrestled the lead from the Patriots and forged a 68-54 Big 10 win at the Pat Riley Sports Center.
Driscoll connected on four high-arcing three-point baskets and did all of his offensive damage after Randall Symes dropped in a layup for a 44-41 Schenectady advantage late in the third quarter.
“I wish I had Eddie tonight,” Schenectady coach Eric Loudis said of the blossoming star, a would-be junior swingman, who was shot to death last June. “He’s been there, but I can’t fault my boys at all. The guys hustled, and I’m proud of the way they fought back.”
Down by as many as 10 points in the first half, Schenectady (1-2) whittled away and took its first lead at 37-36 on a third-quarter three by Danssell Rodriguez. That was part of a 12-7 third-quarter push capped by Symes’ layup.
“The emotion did not get to us,” said senior guard Jallah Tarver, one of two holdovers back from last season’s Schenectady’s team. “We played hard. We just made mistakes, and they capitalized off those mistakes.”
Untimely turnovers, 10 missed free throws and Driscoll’s sudden outburst did Schenectady in.
“The kid hit some threes,” said Tarver. “We were rotating, rotating, rotating, and he found spots.”
Daquan Johnson complemented Driscol with 28 points, including five of his 15 free throws inside the last two minutes. Rodriguez paced Schenectady with 21 points, 13 coming in the second half, while Tarver finished with 12 points and six assists.
“Eddie is over my shoulder,” said Loudis. “I wanted to win on the night we recognized him. I wanted to win for the school and for his family.”
“The ceremony was special. It was nice. It really did touch your heart,” said Albany coach Jon McClement. “Before we started. I told my kids there’s a lot of emotion here, and you’ve got to be prepared.”
Driscoll certainly was prepared when he got the call. The junior guard, in his first varsity season, hadn’t scored a point in Albany’s opening two games, wins against Bishop Maginn and Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons.
“I was just trying to do my job and hit threes. It was my time to do my thing,” said Driscoll. “I kept shooting, and they kept going.”
“He was making it rain. He came out of no where and hit big shots,” said Loudis. “You’ve got to give him credit. The young man stepped up.”
Driscoll tied the game at 44 on his first three, and Rodriguez answered with a layup before Driscoll delivered another deep bomb to close the third quarter.
Driscoll then produced the first eight points of the fourth quarter on a three, a short jumper and another three to make it 57-46. Schenectady got as close as six after that, 59-53, on a three and a layup by Rodriguez.
“He [Driscoll] has been working hard in practice. I told him he was going to get his chance,” said Johnson. “Today was his day.”
“Coach [Kenneth] Danzy said why don’t we try to put in another shooter with him [Loudis] going with his 3-2 zone,” said McClement. “The game came to Conor, and he made the most of his opportunity.”
Johnson and Marquan Chandler scored nine points apiece to help Albany go up, 18-10, after one quarter. Schenectady pulled within 34-32 at the half, using a 9-4 run that Symes ended with a putback and a layup, and a 10-4 run that Rodriguez ended with a three-pointer and a putback basket.
“They kept trying,” Driscoll said of the Patriots. “They didn’t quit.”
“At halftime, I told the guys don’t worry about the crowd and don’t worry about the refs,” said Johnson, a senior guard who had seven rebounds and four steals. “I told the guys lets play hard, pressure them and get the win.”
“We’ve got a season to play for our brother, for Eddie,” said Tarver. “Now we move on to Troy. Let’s see if we can spoil a party there.”
Holmberg 1-0-2, McPherson 2-2-6, Johnson 6-15-28, Driscoll 5-0-14, Ware 1-2-4, Brown 1-0-3, Chandler 3-0-9, Williams 1-0-2. Totals: 20-19-68.
Garlic 1-0-2, Hundley 1-0-2, Jackson 1-0-3, Macon 1-2-4, Rodriguez 8-1-21, Symes 3-0-6, Tarver 5-0-12, Verestin 1-0-2. Totals: 22-3-54.
Albany 18 16 15 19 — 68
Schenectady 10 22 14 8 — 54
Three-point goals: Johnson, Driscoll 4, Chandler 3, Jackson, Rodriguez 4, Tarver.
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Categories: High School Sports