SCHENECTADY — On a night when Schenectady honored a legend of the past, Isaiah Moll and his Colonie teammates kept the host Patriots from making the occasion just a little more special.
Moll matched a career high with 35 points and triggered a key third-quarter run as the Garnet Raiders beat the pesky Patriots 71-60 in a Suburban Council game Tuesday at the Pat Riley Sports Center.
“They play extremely hard,” first-year Schenectady coach John Miller said afterward. “Sometimes the result doesn’t show it. They’re fighting for four quarters.”
Just before the Patriots opened with a shaky first and then bounced back, the court was officially named “Walter S. Przybylo Center Court” in honor of the late multi-Hall of Fame coach whose Cortland, Canajoharie, Nott Terrace and Linton teams put together a 289-111 record from 1952-73.
Przybylo had his greatest success in Schenectady, where his 1969-70 Linton team finished 22-0 and ranked No. 1 in the state, and his Blue Devils put together a 46-game win streak from 1959-61. Schenectady High School was build on the land once occupied by Linton.
“There’s a lot of tradition and history here that this generation doesn’t know about,” veteran Colonie coach Ken Dagostino said. “I’m glad we were a part of it. I’m glad my team got to see that.”
Dagostino’s team also saw a 13-point lead early in the second quarter sliced to 31-29 early in the third, after Schenectady recovered from a that rough first quarter.
“There is something here,” Miller, Schenectady’s former JV coach, said. “We’re going to make a push. They’re trying, and good things will come.”
Moll was real good for Colonie (5-3, 7-3), which also beat Schenectady (5-3, 5-6) by 11 in last season’s Section II Class AA semifinals. The 6-foot-7 Daily Gazette All-Area first-team pick generated 24 of his 35 points in the second half to go with 12 rebounds.
“He’s very difficult to match up with,” Miller said of the Vermont-bound senior forward who went 14-for-15 from the line. “He is a match-up problem. Every one of our guys gave 110 percent to try to keep him contained.”
Moll scored on three drives and two free throws in a 13-3 run after Schenectady got within 31-29 on a layup by Cameron Coles in the third quarter. Moll scored 16 points in the last frame which included a breakaway slam dunk and a pair of 3-point plays and an 10-for-10 showing from the line.
“We came out after halftime emphasizing passing, moving and getting open for shots,” Moll said. “They had the crowd with them, but we did those things and guys were hitting shots.”
Miller took note of some of those.
“Right now we’re tightening some things up so we don’t make the same mistakes,” Miller said. “Two areas we’re focusing on our defending the three and making free throws. They made six threes and missed four free throws [19-for-23]. We missed 14 free throws [12-for-26].”
Josh Aybar hit four 3-pointers and totaled 14 points for Colonie. Aybar scored five points in the first quarter and Moll had six when the Garnet Raiders opened up a 22-11 advantage.
“I didn’t know what to expect coming into the season,” said Moll, the chief holdover from last season’s Section II Class AA runner-up edition. “We’ve got a bunch of new guys, and while we’re not playing too bad, we’re not where we should be. We’ve still got a way to go.”
Twyquan Jenkins scored five points and Coles scored six points a 15-9 spurt which enabled Schenectady to get within 31-26 at the half. Coles led the Pats with 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Jenkins finished with 12 points.
“Schenectady is scrappy,” Dagostino said.
Przybylo graduated from Mont Pleasant and was a physical education teacher in the Schenectady City School District. His list of star basketball players includes All-Americans Barry Kramer, Pat Riley, Sidney Edwards and his son Gary. He also coached baseball and golf, with his 1960 Linton golf team claiming the state title.
“I’m happy Pat [Riley] was okay with putting his name on the floor,” Przybylo’s son David said after the court dedication. “It was nice to see some of the guys from the ]50s, ]60s and ’70s show up. This was such a nice gesture.”
Walter Przybylo, who died in 1973 at the age of 49, was a member of the inaugural class inducted into the Schenectady City School District Athletic Hall of Fame in 1998.
“My dad would always say, ‘Some day they’re going to name the court after me,’ ” David Przybylo said. “It’s a great honor. I’m glad the school did this.”
J. Aybar 5-0-14, W. Aybar 2-0-4, Canty 2-2-6, Cuva 0-2-2, Dunn 0-1-1, Moll 10-14-35, Satin 2-0-5, Young 2-0-4. Totals: 23-19-71.
Coles 7-2-17, Cruz 2-0-4, Fisher 1-3-5, Haggray 2-1-5, Jenkins 4-3-12, Johnsen 1-0-3, Johnson 3-3-9, Sanders 1-0-2, Sukhraj 1-0-3. Totals: 22-12-60.
Colonie 22 9 18 22 — 71
Schenectady 11 15 15 19 — 60
Three-point goals: J. Aybar 4, Moll, Satin, Coles, Jenkins, Johnsen, Sukhraj.