The old wine commercial came to mind: “What are you saving it for?”
Scotia-Glenville junior Joe Cremo picked up a charge on the Tartans’ first possession of the game on Thursday night, and, bang, was whistled for another charge a few minutes later.
With 3 1⁄2 long quarters of a Section II semifinal to play against Amsterdam at the Glens Falls Civic Center, Scotia coach Jim Giammattei didn’t think twice about it, and Cremo adjusted slightly, but didn’t waver.
The Tartans’ best player stayed in the game, Scotia stayed aggressive and by halftime the game was effectively over, 42-22.
It wasn’t time to be careful, it wasn’t time to pull Cremo out of the game to preserve him for later, it was time to put away Amsterdam, and it’s a measure of how well-coordinated and cohesive the top Class A team in the state is that they absorbed Cremo’s foul trouble as if it never happened.
“Our team played well,” Cremo said. “At points, we had a tough time moving the ball, but at the same time, everybody out there can play with each other, and that’s what’s great about this team. We’ve got a lot of guys that can come in and play at a high level.”
“My theory is there’s nothing I hate less than to see a guy finish a game with fouls to give,” Giammattei said. “Every coach is different, but they’ve got to have a high enough basketball IQ to keep themselves in the game. Joe did that, and the other thing is if that’s the way you’re coached and you’re aware of it, that’s not the first time doing that.”
Cremo finished with 21 points and 13 rebounds as Scotia’s front line dominated smaller Amsterdam.
He made some subtle adjustments to his game, but otherwise still went hard to the glass at both ends.
“I kind of had to be a little bit safer on the defensive end,” he said. “At the same time, I still had to be sort of aggressive. I had to be smart. I know my teammates need me out on the floor, and when I get into foul trouble, that’s not helping them at all.”
Cremo started the second half in much the same way as the first, picking up an offensive foul on Scotia’s first possession, with his back to the basket, no less.
His fourth came on a reach-in with 6:15 left in the third quarter, and this time, Giammattei had little choice, and also the comfort of a 44-22 lead.
Cremo gets a lot of the media attention, but Scotia is anything but a one-man team.
Far from it, and it was illustrated pretty clearly on Thursday.
The other starting forwards — Mike Palleschi and Dom LeMorta — combined for 33 points, and Palleschi also had 11 rebounds and seven blocks.
Cremo sat for almost all of the third quarter, but helped put away the Rams for good at the start of the fourth.
“That’s what my coaches tell me all the time, you can’t worry about the officials, you’ve got to keep playing,” he said.