Zachary O’Dell drew a charge at one end of the court, Devin Murphy dropped in a floater at the other and Schalmont was headed toward its first victory.
“It was like the first domino falling. It leads to good stuff,” Sabres coach Kevin Curtin said after Friday night’s 46-40 comeback win against Fonda-Fultonville. “We needed a big stop, and O’Dell makes a play. Then Murphy scores, and that was the sealer.”
Those plays came at the end of an 11-0 run the Sabres pieced together to close out the Colonial Council game.
Lucas Curtin sank a three-pointer in the spree and ended it on two free throws with four seconds left after hauling down a defensive rebound.
“We wanted our first league win. We just missed getting it at Watervliet,” said the younger Curtin, who finished with 16 points and seven rebounds. “We knew we needed one before facing Mechanicville Tuesday.”
Schalmont (1-1, 1-3) let a lead evaporate against Watervliet earlier in the week in a 49-45 setback before overcoming one against the Braves (1-2, 1-4). The Braves roughed up Cobleskill-Richmondville in their last outing, 69-40.
“We were up 11 at Watervliet and didn’t make the right plays. We didn’t make the right decisions and let it get away. Tonight, we struggled early and then came on,” said Kevin Curtin. “There was a sense of urgency in them.
“We talked pregame about being 1-1 in the Colonial Council and 1-0 at home, and we got it done. It was nice to see shots go down late, and nice to see that good defense.”
Fonda-Fultonville did not score over the final 4:30, after its 6-foot-7 leader, Will Turner, had given the visitors a 40-35 advantage with a layup off an inbound pass from Ryan Scofield.
“The key was to shut them down on defense and execute on offense,” said Lucas Curtin. “We knew we could win the game if we did that.”
Schalmont was up, 42-40, when O’Dell took a charge on Turner down low with 41 seconds left. After the Sabres worked the clock, Murphy found a seam and scored on a difficult runner with 12 seconds to go.
“I saw their defense was overplaying,” said Murphy, who scored 13 points to go with four assists. “[Aidan] Frank gave me a great feed, and I went over their big guy [Turner].”
Frank made two free throws, O’Dell scored on a layup and Curtin nailed a three-pointer to begin Schalmont’s closing push. Curtin’s delivered his three right after the Braves missed the front end of a one-and-one, and just before they came up empty on another.
“They hit timely shots and we had misses,” said Braves coach Eric Wilson. “That’s not a good recipe for the end of a game.”
The game included some outstanding hustle from O’Dell and a spark off the bench from teammate Josh Clifford.
O’Dell collected five points, 10 rebounds, three steals and two blocks, and the 6-foot-4 sophomore twice drew charges on Turner. Clifford scored all seven of his points in the second quarter, and made two foul shots with no time left to cap a 9-0 run to end the first half as Schalmont drew within 24-22.
“He [Clifford] gave us some energy,” said coach Curtin. “He knocked down a big three. He hit two free throws at the end of the quarter, and we were right there.”
Turner led the Braves with 17 points and 11 rebounds. The football and basketball senior standout scored 12 of Fonda-Fultonville’s final 14 points.
“What’s frustrating to me is I know they can do it. We need to do a better job of helping Will out,” said Wilson. “I’ve got solid players who can make plays. We need it more consistently.”
Lucas Curtin had given Schalmont a 28-26 lead in the third quarter with a three-pointer. Turner notched eight points in a 10-3 quarter-closing run by the Braves, and the senior center’s drive early in the fourth made it 38-31.
“We just tried to converge on him as much as possible,” said Lucas Curtin.
Mace Madore scored eight points for the Braves, with his layup in the second frame capping a 10-3 spurt that put the Braves up, 24-13.
“We’ve got to do a better job of finishing,” said Wilson. “Litttle plays here and there. Turnovers. Missed shots. They’re costly.
Calkins 1-0-2, Myers 1-0-3, Valachovic 2-0-5, Ives 2-1-5, Madore 3-2-8, Turner 7-2-17. Totals: 16-5-40.
Curtin 5-3-16, Murphy 5-1-13, Clifford 2-2-7, Frank 1-3-5, O’Dell 2-1-5. Totals: 15-10-46.
Fonda-Fultonville 14 10 12 4 — 40
Schalmont 10 12 9 15 — 46
Three-point goals: Myers, Valachovic, Turner, Curtin 3, Murphy 2, Clifford.