SCHENECTADY — Nick Sarcioto is beginning to make a significant impact with the Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons boys’
“I’m getting used to the Big 10 now,” the Duanesburg transfer said after helping the Golden Knights avoid Albany’s upset bid Monday afternoon. “It’s a big jump from the Western Athletic Conference. This is the best league around. It took some time.”
Sarchioto had two timely baskets late in the third quarter to push Bishop Gibbons ahead for good, and Zach O’Brien scored eight points in a 16-6 put-away run as the Golden Knights notched a difficult 81-73 victory on their home court.
Bishop Gibbons had a much easier time at Albany on Dec. 11, breaking to an early 26-10 lead in a 75-53 win. The Golden Knights surged early again in the rematch, opening up a a 23-9 advantage, yet this time, the Falcons stormed back behind Isaiah Duke and Malachi Mitchell.
“This wasn’t our best performance, but we gutted it out,” said ND-BG coach Garry Horne. “We’re learning how to win. We held
together, and followed the game plan.”
Sarchioto was a big part of it, and scored 10 of his 16 points in the second half. The slender 6-foot-5 junior forward also took down 11 rebounds to help the third-place Golden Knights improve to 8-3 in the Big 10 and 10-5 overall. Sarchioto has scored in double digits in four straight games, and five times this season.
“When he first started with us, he was not in the flow,” ND-BG junior guard Brian Hamor said of Sarchioto, who as a sophomore was a key performer in Duanesburg’s run to the Section II Class C title game. “Now, he’s making all of his shots and rebounding the ball. He’s fitting in just fine.”
Hamor topped the Golden Knights with 27 points, including six free throws inside the final two minutes. O’Brien delivered 12 of his 23 points in the final quarter, and at the defensive end, the hosts collected 12 steals while blocking eight shots, three by Joe Gallagher.
With the 6-6 Gallagher on the bench in foul trouble throughout the second half, Sarchioto stepped up with his clutch points, board work and defense down low. His effort was a key reason Albany (0-11, 1-12) is still winless in the league.
“With the game in the balance, he turned aggressive at both ends. He gave us tremendous minutes,” Horne said of Sarchioto. “I call him my warrior because he gives every ounce for every second he’s out there.”
Albany put together an 8-0 third-quarter run and took its first lead, at 48-47, on a free throw by Mitchell with 2:47 left. After Sarchioto scored down low, Corey Vance put the Falcons on top again,
50-49, with a drive.
Sarchioto answered with a putback basket in traffic, and scored again soon after grabbing the ball in a scramble of bodies and laying the ball off the glass. O’Brien’s drive made it 55-50 before Mitchell closed the period with a drive.
“That 34 [Sarchioto] started to get off some second-half baskets,” Albany coach Jon McClement said. “He started to get after it.”
Bishop Gibbons went on a 16-6 burst to begin the fourth quarter, with reserve Chris Buskey starting and ending it with a jumper and a putback, and O’Brien scoring on three layups and a jumper in between. Buskey’s putback made it 71-58 with three minutes to go.
“We started doing our high-post offense, screening and rolling,” Sarchioto said. “We were passing the ball, and it was working.”
“We spaced the floor, and looked for cutters. We ran our offense, and got some good looks,” Horne said of the 22-8 run which spanned the final two quarters. “I thought at the other end during that stretch, we controlled Malachi and Isaiah pretty well, too.”
Duke had 27 points and eight rebounds, while Mitchell, a super quick 5-9 senior guard, collected 23 points, nine rebounds and four assists. Duke produced 12 points in a 16-8 run the end the second quarter as the Falcons drew within
36-32. He also had two baskets in the 8-0 run that propelled the Falcons ahead in the third.
“They have a lot of elements. They have the potential to be a very good team. They just haven’t put it together,” Horne said of Albany. “I did see progress from the last time we played them. They gave us a scare.”
Duke 11-5-27, Fredericks 0-2-2, Harris
2-1-5, Kellogg 2-0-4, McCarthy 4-0-10, Mitchell 9-4-23, Vance 1-0-2. Totals: 29-12-73.
Buskey 3-1-7, Gallagher 3-0-6, Hamor
8-9-27, O’Brien 9-4-23, Page 1-0-2, Sarchioto 8-0-16. Totals: 32-14-81.
Albany 12 20 20 21 — 73
Bishop Gibbons 23 13 19 26 — 81