SCOTIA — At the end of last week, the Scotia-Glenville girls’ basketball team headed to South Glens Falls to collect its ninth win of the season.
That didn’t happen.
Instead, the Tartans lost that night, their season’s first blemish.
“We went up all hyped,” Scotia senior Mary Kate Palleschi said. “None of us expected that to happen. It was a wake-up call and we needed it.”
In the locker room after that game, Scotia head coach Megan Bowman kept her message simple and upbeat.
“It’s not a loss if we learn from it,” Bowman said.
A hard practice Saturday — “The best one we’ve had all year,” Bowman said — and a couple days later, the Tartans were back to their winning ways and playing as a confident bunch. Scotia topped Broadalbin-Perth Monday 58-23 to pick up a Foothills Council win and end the first half of its regular season on a high note.
“We were so much more disciplined on the defensive end tonight and that’s what we wanted to take from the loss,” Bowman said.
Sophomore Mikyla Mitchell led Scotia (7-1, 9-1) with 14 points, while senior Juliana Geniti had 13 and Palleschi added nine. For Broadalbin (1-6, 2-7), senior Makenzie Smith and senior Nyah Thompson each had seven points.
“Just playing as a team,” Mitchell said of her team’s focus Monday. “We wanted to move the ball more and talk a lot more on defense than we did on Friday.
“We’re better defenders,” Scotia senior Kelsey Brown said. “We’d struggled really hard with our defense against South High.”
That wasn’t the case Monday for the Tartans, which used their defense to generate six separate runs of 6-0 or better. After scoring Monday’s first eight points, Scotia’s lead never dwindled to fewer than five the rest of the way in a game it led by 27 points late in the fourth quarter.
“Our offensive will always come,” said Palleschi, whose squad lost talented sophomore Jazmyne Corker for the rest of the season after a knee injury last month. “We’re skilled, but defense is about effort and that’s what Coach has been pushing us to work on.”
Last season ended for Scotia in the Section II Class A quarterfinals with a loss against Gloversville. That ending motivated the Tartans, whose roster for the 2017-18 season includes four sophomores and an eighth-grader.
“They worked so hard in the offseason,” said Bowman, the team’s second-year coach who scored more than 1,000 points during her career at Sage Colleges.
Scotia’s first 10 games this season showed the strength of the program Bowman is developing. Before their loss against South Glens Falls, the Tartans’ eight-game winning streak included six league wins, a victory against Mekeel Christian Academy — a Class C state semifinalist last season — and Class AA Guilderland of the Suburban Council. Scotia topped Gloversville, too, in an early-season Foothills Council game.
“We expected that from us,” Mitchell said of the team’s terrific start.
More valuable than the team’s nine wins from its first 10 games, though, was its lone loss. Palleschi called that defeat a “necessary” one for a young squad looking to make noise later this year in the postseason.
“More than anything,” Palleschi said, “it showed us we need to play together as a team.”
“That was the wake-up call we needed,” Bowman said.
Before the postseason rolls around next month, Scotia will get several chances to test itself. It’s got a rematch against South Glens Falls. Another tussle with Gloversville. Plus two showdowns with Amsterdam, likely the top challenger to four-time defending champion Averill Park for the area’s Class A crown.
“And we want to keep getting better every day,” Brown said, “so we have to go in and work hard every day.”
Goebel 0-3-3, Iannotti 1-0-3, Morreale 0-1-1, Thompson 3-0-7, Smith 3-1-7, Palmateer 1-0-2. Totals: 8-5-23.
Mitchell 5-2-14, O. Geniti 1-2-5, J. Geniti 6-0-13, Palleschi 4-0-9, Charnews 1-1-3, Winney 2-0-4, Brown 2-0-4, Porter 3-0-6. Totals: 24-5-58.
B-P 6 6 7 4 — 23
S-G 11 13 20 14 — 58
Three-point goals: Iannotti, Thompson, Mitchell 2, O. Geniti, J. Geniti, Palleschi.