GLOVERSVILLE — The Gloversville Dragons found a way to pay tribute to a fallen alum and to their senior players on an emotionally charged night in the Gloversville High School gym.
After honoring their seniors and Todd Wheaton with a moment of silence and a “Wheat-Dog, Hey, Hey Hey” chant from the student body, the Dragons defeated inter-city rival Johnstown 49-41 Tuesday in Foothills Council boys’ basketball action.
“It was just a special night in so many different ways,” Gloversville coach Ed Collar said. “I usually sit calmly during most games but playing Johnstown, senior night, our last home game and honoring Todd, it was just all kinds of emotion going on tonight. We could have lost the game, but these guys stepped up and got the win.”
Wheaton died after a snowmobile accident on Peck Lake last week.
The teams battled to a 13-13 draw through the opening eight minutes of play with James Collar connecting for 10 points for Gloversville and Braden Jones hitting eight for Johnstown.
The Sir Bills took the lead early in the second quarter on a basket from Matthew Wheelis and a 3-pointer from PJ Yetto. The Dragons responded with eight points from Mariano DiCaterino and four from Rocco Insonia to take a slim 29-25 point lead into the locker room at halftime.
Johnstown grabbed the lead back, 32-29, early in the third quarter on a basket from Elijah Jones and a basket and a 3-pointer from Braden Jones, leading coach Collar to call a time out to help the Dragons regroup.
They responded with an 11-0 run to build a 40-32 lead heading into the final eight minutes of play.
“Our focus wasn’t really great,” Ed Collar said. “We kind of let them get the ball to their shooters early on. Midway through the third quarter with guys like Cal Porter and Dom Dorman gave us a real spark off the bench and that kind of got Rowan Halloran and Rocco Insonia going. That group gave us a good spark in the second half that we rode to the end of the game.”
The Dragons pushed their lead to 11 on a Dorman 3-pointer in the opening minute of the final quarter and held off the Sir Bills for the 49-41 victory.
“I credit them. They pressured us to make mistakes in the second half, which they capitalized on,” Johnstown coach Phil Satterlee said. “I told the guys we worked hard but they just out worked us tonight. The 50-50 balls seemed to go 75-25 in their favor.”
Braden Jones led the Sir Bills scoring with a game-high 23 points, including five 3-pointers, while Elijah Jones had a pair of 3-pointers in his seven-point effort.
“We were trying to take the ball out of Braden Jones’ hands,” coach Collar said. “Whenever Braden got it we doubled it and made him give it up. That helped us. I was so focused on the defensive end that when I looked up at the scoreboard I realized we didn’t do much on offense putting up 49 points when we have been up close to 70 each game at least. Our offense was kind of stagnant and Johnstown played good defense. They have had some tough losses but they are right there and on the edge of getting over the top. They are battling every team. It is a credit to them that they kept pushing through the season and are playing good basketball right now.”
James Collar led Gloversville with 18 points, while DiCaterino hit for 15 and Insonia added 13 rebounds and eight points.
The Sir Bills have two regular-season games remaining, both at home, against Broadalbin-Perth on Friday and Scotia-Glenville next Tuesday.
“We talked in the beginning of the year how there were going to be ups and downs during the season and we were down after a real tough Fonda game and they responded in the Queensbury game [60-58 OT victory],” Satterlee said. “That tells me these guys have that fight in them. I told them at the beginning of the year that I wanted to be playing the best basketball in February and then on. It has been a process, that’s for sure.”
Gloversville also has three regular-season games left on the schedule, Friday at Scotia-Glenville, next Tuesday at Schuylerville and Wednesday at Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake.
Both teams will head to the Washington Avenue Armory in Albany on Feb. 12 for the Foothills Council Showcase before entering the Section II postseason tournament.
Johnstown 13 12 7 9 — 41
Gloversville 13 16 11 9 — 49
Johnstown scoring: B. Jones 8-2-25, E. Jones 3-0-7, Hoyt 2-0-4, Yetto 1-0-3, Wheelis 2-04. Gloversville scoring: Ja. Collar 5-8-18, Dorman 1-0-3, DiCaterino 6-1-15, Halloran 1-2-5, Insonia 2-3-8. Team scoring totals: Johnstown 16-2-41. Gloversville 15-14-49.
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Categories: High School Sports, Sports, Sports