ROTTERDAM — The Mohonasen boys’ basketball team appears to have found its footing, while Schalmont continues to have that as a goal.
Andrew Farnsworth scored 17 points, fellow senior Kyle Cornell netted 16 points, and Mohonasen won each of the final three quarters to gradually pull away Friday night in a 62-42 Colonial Council win on the court of its Rotterdam rival.
“They had a big crowd,” Mohonasen sophomore Jacob Paolino said after scoring all 10 of his points in the second half. “Our crowd got loud, too, and we got momentum.”
The Mighty Warriors took off after a super-intense, yet non-productive first quarter when the Sabres eked out a 8-6 lead. By the half Mohonasen was up 24-19, and after three it was 41-32.
“Coach [Graham Macbeth] got into us a little bit,“ Cornell said of the 8-6 deficit. “Coach gave us a good defensive plan and we were okay there, and we came out swinging on offense.”
Tyler Olesiak added 12 points as Mohonasen won its second game in a row and third in four outings. Only a five-point loss to Voorheesville kept the Mighty Warriors from a four-game win streak.
“The seniors refused to have a losing mind-set,” said Mohonasen coach Graham Macbeth, who has two other 12th-graders in Jacob Verra and Alonzo McNeill. “It wasn’t looking good. I talked to them about the easy way or the right way, the hard way, which was to work their butts off.”
“We’re all putting in the work at practice,” Cornell said after Mohonasen’s first win against Schalmont since December 2017.
“We’re starting to jell together,” Farnsworth said. “We’re realizing each other’s strengths and that’s helping us play a lot better.”
Mohonasen (3-3 Colonial, 3-7 overall) opened its season with six straight losses before it had to postpone games against Averill Park and La Salle while half of the team was in a coronavirus quarantine.
“We lost to Catholic Central by 50. The next day COVID hit,” Macbeth said. “Since we’ve been back it’s been different. They’re not forcing passes. They’re not shooting threes early in the shot clock. They’re buying in on defense.”
Friday night the Mighty Warriors also mader good on their opportunities from the free throw line, going a combined 25 for 34. Olesiak went 6 for 6, Cornell went 4 for 5, Paolino went 5 for 7, and Farnsworth went 7 for 12.
“It’s tough to win games when the other team makes [that many] free throws,” Schalmont coach Greg Loiacono said.
Four of Mohonasen’s free throw misses came early in the second quarter, but the visitors were still able to put together a 9-2 run to establish a bit of breathing room at 15-10. A 7-0 run early in the third made it 32-23, and a 7-0 run midway through the fourth boosted Mohonaen’s advantage to 56-39.
“We executed better on offense,” Paolino said of his team’s 56 points after the first quarter. “We didn’t have as many turnovers. We had better looks, and we played defense, too.”
Each of Mohonasen’s wins have been by double digits, starting with a 49-39 victory over Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk. After losing to Voorheesville 46-41, the Mighty Warriors topped Cobleskill-Richmondville 54-42 and then beat Schalmont.
“They are building good habits,” Macbeth said.
Isaiah Smith scored 20 points for Schalmont (2-6, 2-9), and Sean Willis put in 10.
“We’ve got to come together. I’ve been telling them if it happens, we can surprise some teams in the sectionals,” said Loiacono, who guided Schalmont to the Section II Class B title in the 2019-2020 season. “We’ve got the pieces. We’ve got to figure it out.”
Loiacono was feeling good about his Sabres heading into Friday’s rivalry game.
“We had a great practice yesterday and I was happy with the energy. We came out tonight and nobody shot well. Our rebounding wasn’t like it should be,” Loiacono said. “The good news is we get them again in a couple of weeks. I think we’ll be in a better spot by then.”
Mohonasen 6 18 17 21—62
Schalmont 8 11 13 10—42
Mohonasen scoring: Olesiak 3-6-12, Colling 0-2-2, Paolino 2-5-10, Farnsworth 5-7-17, Cornell 5-4-16, McNeill 0-1-1, Verra 1-0-2, Batcher 1-0-2. Schalmont scoring: Escobales 0-2-2, I. Smith 6-7-20, E. Smith 0-2-2, Van Dyk 1-0-2, Pratt 3-0-6, Willis 5-0-10. Team totals: Mohonasen 17-25-62; Schalmont 15-11-42.