Extra motivation isn’t often needed this time of year, but the Schalmont boys’ basketball team found just that Friday night when the Sabres took on Broadalbin-Perth with a spot in the Section II Class B semifinals on the line.
“We all wanted to play there last year,” said Schalmont senior guard Frank Parisi, “but the roof collapsed.”
The Sabres got their wish, weathering a late rally by the Patriots to come away with a 60-58 victory at Shenendehowa.
When a snowstorm caused a portion of the roof at the Glens Falls Civic Center to collapse last winter, the Section II semifinals were moved to Hudson Valley Community College. Schalmont had earned a berth in the semifinals, and defeated Voorheesville before losing to Hoosick Falls in the finals. Now the Sabres get a crack at the civic center.
“It’s even cooler now as a senior,” said Parisi.
“The juniors and seniors got cheated out of the opportunity last year,” said Schalmont head coach Greg Loiacono, “so it’s nice to get a chance to play there this time around.”
Schalmont came out of the gate quickly Friday night, relying on senior big man Zac O’Dell and a barrage of three-pointers to jump out to an early lead.
Broadalbin-Perth responded by leaning on its own big man and leading scorer Vincenzo DiCaterino, who kept his team in the game with his physicality down low. But early turnovers did the Patriots in, as they fell behind 17-9 at the end of the first quarter.
O’Dell continued his offensive assault early in the second quarter, responding to a Broadalbin-Perth 3-pointer with an isolation layup after a nice spin move to extend Schalmont’s lead to double digits.
Broadalbin-Perth then switched to a 2-3 zone that seemed to stymie the Sabre attack. O’Dell was slowed down and the Schalmont jumpers wouldn’t fall. The defensive switch sparked a 9-2 Patriot run to close out the half, capped off by a putback buzzer-beater by senior Colby Hartz which chipped Schalmont’s lead to 30-26.
Schalmont senior Matt Bird picked up his third foul early in the third quarter, but O’Dell’s little brother Jesse did a serviceable job in relief, putting home a pair of buckets and sustaining the Sabres’ lead.
Zac O’Dell made up for a lack of scoring in the third quarter by upping the defensive effort, securing the defensive paint with block after block, and grabbing a steal that sprung Parisi for an easy fastbreak layup.
“He’s a great guy to play alongside,” said Parisi.
“You never have to worry about Zac’s effort,” said Loiacono. “When the times get tough, we depend on him.”
The game got sloppy in the third quarter, but Schalmont junior Tyler Mattice hit a buzzer-beater of his own, this one from three-point distance, to make it 44-39 Sabres at the end of the quarter.
Broadalbin-Perth’s senior sharpshooter Mike Mann finally got into the action by nailing a three-pointer to open the fourth, only to see Parisi answer right back with a three of his own.
Back and forth they went until it was 53-48 with a minute remaining, when Parisi nailed the three-point dagger to put the Sabres up by three possessions. Parisi tallied 12 of Schalmont’s 16 fourth-quarter points.
“Those were huge shots,” said Loiacono, “and it takes a lot of guts to take those shots.”
A pair of late threes from Broadlbin-Perth junior Preston Taylor cut it to two, but it proved to be too late.
Lavallee 1-0-3, Ericson 3-0-9, Mattice 1-0-3, Z. O’Dell 5-2-12, Parisi 9-2-25, J. O’Dell 2-0-4, Bird 2-0-4. Totals: 24-4-60.
Taylor 8-1-22, Hartz 3-6-12, Mann 1-0-3, Pingitore 1-0-3, DiCaterino 5-1-11, Ladipo 1-0-2. Totals: 21-8-58.
Schalmont 17 13 13 16 — 60
B-P 9 17 13 19 — 58
Three-point goals: Lavallee, Ericson 3, Mattice, Parisi 5, Taylor 5, Mann, Pingitore, Ladipo.