SCHENECTADY — The Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons boys’ basketball team cruised past Hudson to a 30-plus-point victory earlier this season in a non-conference matchup.
The teams met again Tuesday in the Section II Class B tournament, and the rematch played out much differently with a spot in the quarterfinals at stake.
That change didn’t surprise Bishop Gibbons head coach Steve Garzone.
That game was then, this game was now — and this one came with win-or-go-home stakes.
“They had a tough game against us here back in December,” Garzone said, “and I knew we were going to get their best.”
Bishop Gibbons did get that, but still found a way to emerge with another double-digit victory with an 82-65 decision. The teams were tied at halftime, and Bishop Gibbons didn’t seize control until late in the third quarter with a stanza-closing 14-2 run that left it ahead 60-49.
“In the beginning of the game, we came out lackadaisical on defense,” Bishop Gibbons junior Rodney Parker said. “They were scoring a lot easier than we thought they would because last time we shut them down. Knowing this could be our last game if we lost, we came out in the second half and we just had to shut them down.”
“We had to come together and play basketball. Slow the tempo down,” Bishop Gibbons senior Nacier Hundley said. “They wanted to run and shoot 3s the whole time, so we had to slow down and play basketball. That’s what we had to do. Play defense, play basketball.”
Bishop Gibbons (No. 7, 18-3) led Hudson (No. 10, 13-7) by as many as 23 points in the fourth quarter after the teams traded the lead a number of times through well into the third quarter. Hundley led Bishop Gibbons with 27 points, as his club earned a matchup with No. 2 Schalmont in the quarterfinals.
The Sabres advanced with a 78-56 win against Coxsackie-Athens in which senior Shane O’Dell led Schalmont with 45 points — a statistic Hundley didn’t know when he offered his breakdown of what his club needs to do to reach the semifinals.
“We’ve got to stop Shane O’Dell,” Hundley said, “and play Bishop Gibbons basketball.”
For most of the season, that second part has been no issue for Garzone’s team. The club won eight games in a row before suffering a one-point loss to Class A’s Lansingburgh and a two-point defeat against Class AA’s La Salle Institute, then won nine more games before losing in double-overtime to Fonda-Fultonville in the Western Athletic Conference Cup game on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer.
Besides that, Bishop Gibbons has mostly rolled to win throughout its 2019-20 campaign.
“We want to go all the way,” said Parker, who missed that loss against Fonda with an injury.
Parker had 18 points against Hudson, while Noah Foster added 15 and Todd Williamson had 10. For Hudson, Dayquan Griffin had 23 points.
Hudson led 20-19 after one quarter and the teams were tied at 37 at halftime. At times, Bishop Gibbons seemed to play too fast for its own good in the first half, which Parker said had to do with the team being a little too excited to play postseason basketball.
“I’m not going to lie,” Parker said. “We definitely were.”
At halftime, though, Bishop Gibbons calmed down — then, the squad took off in the third quarter.
“These guys,” Garzone said, “got motivated.”
Hudson 20 17 12 16 — 65
ND-BG 19 18 23 22 — 82
Hudson scoring: Hedgepeth 4-0-11, Maines 2-0-4, Anderson 2-0-4, Griffin 9-5-23, Romano 4-0-9, Gorman 2-0-5, Johnson 2-0-5, Gordon 1-0-2, Cunningham 1-0-2. ND-BG scoring: Foster 7-0-15, Hundley 9-9-27, Carmon 3-2-9, Blasquez 1-0-3, Williamson 4-2-10, Parker 8-2-18. Scoring totals: Hudson 27-5-65, ND-BG 32-14-82.