On Schools: Macbeth steps down as Mohonasen boys’ basketball coach

Mohonasen coach Graham Macbeth talks to his squad during a non-league contest between Schenectady and Mohonasen in the Pat Riley Gymnasium on the Schenectady campus November 27, 2021.
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Mohonasen coach Graham Macbeth talks to his squad during a non-league contest between Schenectady and Mohonasen in the Pat Riley Gymnasium on the Schenectady campus November 27, 2021.

Graham Macbeth stepped down earlier this week as Mohonasen’s varsity boys’ basketball coach, but he’s not leaving the game completely.

The 37-year-old Mohonasen graduate is lined up to coach another group of the high school’s students starting Monday when the Mighty Warriors’ season of unified basketball — a program designed by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association and Special Olympics New York — starts up.

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“It’s a lot of fun,” said Macbeth, who coached the unified team several years ago. “It’s good for the kids. It’s a whole different side of basketball that I love.”

Macbeth spent the last three seasons on the varsity side of things, and he loved that, too. He said his departure from the basketball position was a difficult call but was predicated on his goals of earning advanced certification as a special education instructor and starting a family.

Macbeth coached junior varsity basketball and served as a varsity assistant for six years at Mohonasen before he got the opportunity to coach the varsity team he played for as a teenager.

“It’s not easy to walk away from something you love to do, but if I don’t do it now, I’ll never do it,” Macbeth said. “I am going to take some time to focus on myself. That’s something I haven’t done in nine years.”

Macbeth guided his last varsity team to a 6-14 record, after the first two went 8-12 and 2-4 in a COVID-shortened season.

“If it was a mess, I wouldn’t feel good about it,” Macbeth said of his stepping away from the program. “We took some lumps this year and kept our lower groups together. The wins and losses were tough, but the way we did it should make for a bright future.”

Macbeth said he was proud of his three varsity teams for different reasons, including the diligence of his last edition that started the season with six straight losses but went 6-8 to finish up.

“We started the season by getting roughed up, and they got better,” Macbeth said. “Our best weeks were in February. The kids kept working and working.”

Macbeth’s signature win with Mohonasen came in early February when the Mighty Warriors put together a 15-6 fourth-quarter run and stunned one of the Colonial Council’s top teams in La Salle 44-43. A 46-41 win over Voorheesville on senior night followed.

“The boys showed up and played their hearts out,” said Macbeth, whose team had lost to La Salle by 26 points earlier in the campaign. “They [La Salle] beat Suburban Council champion Niskayuna in the playoffs.”

Great hustle, a desire to grow, team unity and representing Mohonasen in a positive manner were among the trademarks of the Macbeth-coached teams.

“I’m proud of the way we did things,” Macbeth said. “We wanted to do things the right way.”

Macbeth said he intends to coach more school basketball in the future, but has no set time for a return.

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DECITISE FANS 27

Troy junior Olivia DeCitise struck out 27 batters Wednesday in a 2-1, 12-inning Suburban Council softball loss to Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake.

The left-handed softball and bowling standout struck out the side five times. At one point, she recorded 11 consecutive outs for Troy via the strikeout, and during another segment of the game she recorded nine straight outs via the K.

“When you get in the teens with 13, 14, 15 [strikeouts], it’s an accomplishment. What she did was an incredible accomplishment,” Troy coach Sean Geisel said. “She used a variety of pitches and she got stronger as the game went on.”

DeCitise gave up five hits and Burnt Hills hurler Katie Rhodes also went the distance, with the sophomore allowing four hits and striking out 10 in her first varsity appearance. 

“Both pitchers did a nice job of getting out of jams,” Geisel said. “She [Rhodes] pitched great, too.”

Both pitchers also got plenty of help from their teammates in the marathon contest that took three hours and 20 minutes to complete.

“Phenomenal defense by both teams,” said Geisel, the Flying Horses sixth-year coach, “especially in big situations.”

Beginning in the 10th inning, the international softball rule was used where each half frame began with a runner on second base. Danielle Debonis got the winning run home in the top of the 12th with a bunt single.

Chi Benamiti of Burnt Hills homered in the second inning after Olivia Ashline of Troy homered in the first.

“Great high school game. It had the feel of a sectional environment,” Geisel said. “Sure, we wanted to come out on top, but we have a lot to be proud of in terms of focus and resilience.” 

DeCitise bowls with the Troy boys’ team (the school does not have a girls’ team) and this past season was named a first-team Suburban Council all-star. She competed as an independent at the girls’ Section II Class A tournament and rolled the high single while earning a state tournament berth.

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NUMBERS GAME

1

Jack Foster’s position on the Saratoga Springs outdoor track and field all-time leaderboard after the senior threw the discus 170 feet, 1 inch in a Suburban Council meet Tuesday against Schenectady. Foster smashed the school record (144-61/2) established by Elijah Taylor in 2018. Foster won the state indoor discus title in March and is also the school record holder in that event (57-9 3/4).

2

Grand slams hit by Mayfield batters in a 19-6 non-league softball win over Amsterdam Wednesday, with Alexis Broderick and Kaylee Klymkow both clearing the bases with their home runs.

11

Strikeouts recorded by Albany Academy pitcher Aviv Drucker in a no-hit, five-inning, 13-0 Colonial Council baseball win over Cobleskill-Richmondville Wednesday. On Monday, Tyler Sausville (five innings) and Josh Slater (two innings) combined on a no-hitter as Colonie beat Troy 6-0 in Suburban Council action.  

12

Points accumulated by Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake junior MK Lescault, on 11 goals and an assist, in an 18-8 Suburban Council girls’ lacrosse win over Niskayuna Thursday. The Johns Hopkins commit set a school record with her 11 goals and set another with her 12 points. Lescault has 29 goals and five assists in four games this season. 

17

Consecutive wins by the Queensbury girls’ lacrosse team — setting a program record — after the Spartans beat Schuylerville 23-4 Monday in a Foothills Council game that saw Brigid Duffy and Kendal Kelsey score five goals apiece. Queensbury went 14-0 last season and beat Glens Falls and Johnstown before topping Schuylerville. Queensbury’s 2013 edition won 16 straight games.

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