ROTTERDAM — It was a Colonial Council loss that stung, but it was also a defeat senior Shane O’Dell said will make the Schalmont boys’ basketball team a stronger one as it heads toward postseason play.
“They’re really good. Really physical every time we play them,” O’Dell said after his squad’s 80-70 loss Wednesday to visiting Lansingburgh. “I just think it helped going into playoffs. That was a playoff-type game.”
With the Section II playoffs not far off, Class A Lansingburgh (11-2, 16-3) and Class B Schalmont (10-3, 13-6) delivered a back-and-forth performance that demonstrated why each squad is a contender in its respective classification. Lansingburgh received a game-high 38 points from senior Isaiah Knight and secured its second big win in as many days after topping La Salle Institute Tuesday in overtime, while O’Dell scored 31 points for a Schalmont team that defeated Ichabod Crane Tuesday to earn the 100th career win for Sabres head coach Greg Loiacono.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game,” Knight said, “and we came out here and got the job done after facing another great team the night before.”
“It means a lot,” Lansingburgh head coach Eric Loudis said. “I think we’re turning it on at the right time.”
After Schalmont pulled ahead late in the third quarter on a deep 3-pointer from junior Trent Randle, Lansingburgh answered with a 10-2 run that extended into the fourth and put it ahead 58-52. From there, Schalmont chased, but could never catch up to Lansingburgh, which maintained at least a two-possession advantage throughout the final stanza.
“We just couldn’t get that lead,” Loiacono said.
Schalmont struggled to find defensive answers for Knight and his teammates — “You give up 80 points, you’re not going to win too many nights,” Loiacono said — while Lansingburgh made sure O’Dell didn’t get any easy points. That meant plenty of trips to the foul line for O’Dell, who made 19 of 21 free throws.
“We were trying to contain Shane as much as possible. He’s a big boy. He bulldozes his way to the hoop, gets to the foul line. We were just trying to keep him in check as long as we could,” Loudis said of the 6-foot-6 O’Dell. “We knew he was going to score. If we could shut down everybody else around him, we thought we would be pretty successful.”
Schalmont received 16 points from Randle, 11 from senior Jake Sanford and eight from junior Tyler Pepicelli. For Lansingburgh, seniors Vinny Tario and Kobi Wallace each scored 10 points.
In registering 38 points, Knight made 15 of 19 shots from the field.
“He’s a gym rat like no other,” Loudis said of his senior star who scored his career’s 1,000th point earlier this month.
Tournament brackets for the Section II postseason will be released next Wednesday. After falling in the last two Section II Class B championship games, Sanford said the Sabres viewed their matchup with Lansingburgh as a valuable contest from which to grow.
“Definitely. This game, really, it meant a lot to us,” said Sanford, whose team fell 67-53 at Lansingburgh in December. “Meant a lot for our ego going into sectionals, but we know what we need to work on now.”
Lansingburgh 23 13 20 24 — 80
Schalmont 16 17 19 18 — 70
Lansingburgh scoring: Allison 2-3-9, McFarlane 3-2-9, Knight 15-5-38, Teta 2-0-4, Tario 4-2-10, Wallace 4-2-10. Schalmont scoring: O’Dell 6-19-31, Sanford 5-0-11, Pepicelli 3-0-8, Redmond 0-1-1, Randle 4-7-16, Brown 1-0-3. Scoring totals: Lansingburgh 30-14-80, Schalmont 19-27-70.