SCHENECTADY — The switch from gridiron to hardwood wasn’t seamless.
“At first, we were still running kids over,” Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons sophomore Nacier Hundley said. “We caught a lot of charges.”
It seems, though, like they’ve figured it out. Hundley is one of several ND-BG students who played in the fall for the school’s combined Holy Trinity football program with Catholic Central and plays this winter with the ND-BG boys’ basketball team. That football team made it to the Class C state championship game, and the Golden Knights are playing this winter like a squad capable of making a run in the Section II Class B postseason tournament using aggressive full-court pressure.
“It’s just like football for us,” said Hundley, who is coming off a football season in which he was named Daily Gazette Offensive Player of the Year. “We have a great defense and it turns into our offense.”
“That’s the key to our wins,” ND-BG senior Lorenzo Cavallaro said.
That was the case Friday in a 75-43 Western Athletic Conference win for ND-BG (6-0, 11-2) against Northville (1-5, 4-6), a game in which Hundley scored 15 points and sophomore Noah Foster — another Holy Trinity star — led the Golden Knights with 20. ND-BG used its full-court defense to jump out to a 10-0 start, and its pressure later keyed a game-changing 22-5 run that wrapped around halftime.
“From Day 1, our focus has been defense,” ND-BG first-year varsity head coach Steve Garzone said. “Everything is about helping and we overplay, which most teams know by now.”
Garzone was missing about half his roster for the season’s first two games because of Holy Trinity’s postseason run. ND-BG split those games, and has gone 10-1 with its full team.
“Since they’ve come back, they’ve worked extremely hard for us,” Garzone said of his multi-sport stars.
“And football kept us in shape,” Foster said. “Basketball’s just got a little more running for us.”
ND-BG led by as many as 11 points in the first quarter before Northville used a 12-2 run to pull within 23-22 in the second. A 3-pointer from Hundley started the Golden Knights’ 22-5 run, which ended with a Foster layup off a Hundley pass in the third quarter.
Northville senior Lucas Jetty led the Falcons with 18 points, while senior Michael Kalkbrenner added 13.
Cavallaro had a dozen points for ND-BG, which had eight different players score.
“We have a lot of great players, a lot of good athletes here,” Foster said. “There’s talent on this team.”
Kalkbrenner 2-9-13, Reidell 3-0-8, Wadsworth 1-0-2, Jetty 7-4-18, Klingbeil 0-1-1, Monfils 0-1-1. Totals: 13-15-43.
Hundley 6-2-15, Foster 8-3-20, Priest 4-1-9, Whitfield 2-0-4, Mettler 4-0-9, Sexton 2-0-4, Cavallaro 6-0-12, Cooper 1-0-2. Totals: 33-6-75.
Northville 13 14 8 8 — 43
ND-BG 21 18 18 18 — 75
Three-point goals: Reidell 2, Hundley, Foster, Mettler.