SCHENECTADY — Saratoga Springs and Schenectady played three different boys’ basketball games Tuesday night, and the Blue Streaks won two of them — including the last.
The Blue Streaks quelled a big comeback by the Patriots with 10 unanswered points to close the third quarter, and went on to register a 64-49 win in the Suburban Council opener for both teams at the Pat Riley Sports Center.
“With Saratoga over the years it’s we punch and they punch,” Schenectady coach John Miller said. “Last year we went back and forth and got a big win at their place.”
Saratoga (2-0) got this win after using some excellent passing to build a pair of 16-point leads in the second quarter, and then losing all of that advantage when Schenectady (1-1) found a higher gear.
“We saw that lead trickling away and Schenectady gaining confidence,” Saratoga coach Matt Usher said. “Credit to our kids. They didn’t want to lose and did what good teams do. They found a way to win.
“I’m proud of the effort and the guts they showed.”
Ryan Farr scored a game-high 20 points, and joined with Bryant Savage to spark Saratoga’s 10-0 answer to close out the third frame after Jakiem Edge gave the Pats their only lead at 40-39 with a layup.
“They did a good job of changing their defense, and it took us a while to figure out how to attack it,” Farr, the Blue Streaks’ junior point guard, said of Schenectady’s switch from a man-to-man look to an aggressive 3-2 zone. “I thought we showed a lot of chemistry and played as a team.”
Savage scored on a layup and a 3-point play to begin Saratoga’s 10-0 push, and Farr connected for a 3-point basket and drove for a hoop.
When Savage opened the fourth quarter with another inside basket, Saratoga’s lead had grown to 51-40. Farr scored his final seven points after that.
“We took the lead and stopped scoring,” Miller said. “They went to a 1-3-1 [zone]. They made that adjustment and we had multiple answers we were confident in, and we didn’t execute.”
Saratoga displayed superb ball movement in the first half when it built a 26-13 lead after the first quarter, and extended it to 33-17 and 35-19 in the second quarter. Farr had supplied Saratoga with those 16-point leads on a 3-pointer and a layup.
“They came out of the gate running right past us,” Miller said. “We didn’t play good defense out of the gate. We made an adjustment and that allowed us to crawl back into it.”
Schenectady scored the final five points of the second quarter and began the third with a 16-4 run that included a pair of 3s by Malakhi Hooks, a drive and a jumper by Damari Holder, and two layups by Edge. His second of those made it 40-39 with 2:46 left in the third.
“They did a nice job of slowing us down after the first quarter, and credit Schenectady for making some tough shots,” Usher said.
“They were making shots and we weren’t,” Farr said.
Saratoga faced no adversity in its 67-27 non-league season-opening win Friday against Scotia-Glenville.
“We showed some real heart after Schenectady fought its way back in it,” Usher said.
Rodell Evans scored 11 points for Saratoga, with seven coming in the opening quarter, and Andrew Stallmer collected 10 points and eight rebounds. Savage finished with nine points and six boards.
“It’s going to be a different guy every night,” said Usher, who had four double-digit scorers in the Scotia-Glenville win. “We’ve got guys who can score from outside and guys who can score inside .”
Schenectady played without its starting point guard, C.J. Gomez, who was out with an illness. Gomez had excelled with eight points and five steals when Schenecady opened its campaign with a 62-60 non-league win over Columbia a week ago.
“He changes our offense and he changes our defense,” Miller said. “Without him, we all feel the ripple.”
Hooks totaled 15 points and five rebounds to lead Schenectady, Edge finished with 14 points, Holder had nine points and three blocks, and Quy-Maine Haggray had seven points, five steals and four assists.
“They fight,” Miller said of his cast. “They never quit. They play hard until the end.”
Saratoga Springs 26 9 14 15 — 64
Schenectady 13 11 16 9 — 49
Saratoga Springs scoring: Evans 4-2-11, Farr 7-3-20, Masten 3-2-8, Robbens 1-0-2, Savage 4-1-9, Snyder 2-0-4, Stallmer 5-0-10. Schenectady scoring: Holder 3-3-9, Hooks 6-0-15, Haggray 3-1-7, Edge 7-0-14, Graham 2-0-4. Team totals: Saratoga Springs 26-8-64; Schenectady 21-4-49.