SARATOGA SPRINGS — After Mechanicville made a few more plays down the stretch than Saratoga Central Catholic did Friday night to remain unbeaten on the season, veteran coach Rian Richardson pointed to his team’s experience.
“I’ve got senior leadership out there,” Richardson said after a 60-52 win on the Saints’ court. “Devin Garland and Luci D’Ambro are four-year seniors. They’ve been there before. I’ve also got my sixth man back, and he saw a ton of minutes.”
That would be Tyler Eiseman, who scored 20 points before fouling out with 4:46 left in the game. After Eiseman fouled out, Garland delivered the last nine of his 19 to lift Mechanicville to its seventh win with seven scheduled games to go.
“It’s our chemistry,” Garland said of his team’s streak of success. “And we’ve got positive energy from the starting five to the 10th guy on the bench.”
Eiseman had just taken a seat on the bench when Anthony Barile sank two foul shots to get Saratoga Catholic (3-4) within 48-45, and a layup by Robbie Bolen III nudged the Saints a bit closer.
“Every game we’ve played has been like this one,” Saratoga Catholic coach Bill Haskell said. “Our point of emphasis was execution in crunch time, and we didn’t get it done.”
Mechanicville did, though, with Garland and Fen Egan making the most significant plays.
Saratoga Catholic had an opportunity to go ahead after Bolen’s layup, but a turnover gave Mechanicville the ball back, and Garland drilled the last of his four 3-pointers from the wing. His six free throws that followed inside the final minute helped clinch another Mechanicville victory.
“He’s a confident guy,” Richardson said of Garland, who was a key player in Mechanicville’s drive to the Section II Class B final last season. “He didn’t hesitate. He stepped up and knocked down the shot.”
A free throw by Barile had the Saints within 51-48 when Egan scored his only points on a three-point play. Egan took a charge immediately after, and Mechanicville had all the momentum it needed.
The 6-foot-2 Eiseman scored 12 second-quarter points to spark a 22-7 run as Mechanicville built a 32-20 advantage. The junior capped the half with a rebound, end-to-end sprint and successful runner in the closing seconds.
“I told them at the half, ‘They had their run. We’ll go on ours,'” Haskell said.
Saratoga Catholic started the third quarter with a 14-3 spurt that included a pair of 3s from both Barile and Aiden Lambert, and closed within 35-34.
“The scouting report said Spa Catholic has a bunch of shooters,” Garland said. “Coach got on us after they got hot.”
Saratoga Catholic stayed within striking distance after its third-quarter run, yet never was able to wrestle the lead away from Mechanicville.
“I like the way we fought back,” Haskell said.
Eiseman gave Saratoga Catholic trouble with his offensive output and interior defense that included two blocks.
“Step on up defense. Crash the boards. Get out on their shooters,” Garland said of Mechanicville’s things to do after Eiseman fouled out trying to block another shot. “Little things win games.”
Hayden Day had 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Saints. Barile scored 16 points and Lambert finished with 11.
D’Ambro added 10 points for Mechanicville.
“The things we’ve run in the past, they pick up on quick,” Richardson said of his group. “We’re very prepared for whoever we’re playing.”
Mechanicville 10 22 12 16 — 60
Saratoga Catholic 13 7 18 14 — 52
Mechanicville scoring: D’Ambro 5-0-10, Graland 4-7-19, Richardson 2-0-4, Eiseman 9-2-20, Egan 1-1-3, Salustri 1-0-2, Amadeo 1-0-2. Saratoga Catholic scoring: Barile 4-6-16, Bolen 2-3-7, Day 7-1-15, Fizer 1-0-3, Lambert 4-0-11. Scoring totals: Mechanicville 23-10-60, Saratoga Catholic 18-10-52.