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Home is away for Johnstown basketball team

Home is away for Johnstown basketball team

Lady Bills have no gymnasium, yet
Home is away for Johnstown basketball team
The Raiders' Den at FMCC was home for the Johnstown High School girls' basketball team Monday night.
Photographer: ERICA MILLER

JOHNSTOWN — Getting on a bus to go play its final home game was something new for the Johnstown girls' varsity basketball team Monday night.

Playing a home game away from the high school, that was old hat for the Lady Bills. They've done it all season long.

"It hasn't been the most ideal situation, but we've made the best of it," Johnstown coach Tim Derwin said after a 69-45 senior night loss to Gloversille at Fulton-Montgomery Community College. "We've made it work."

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A remodeling job on the Johnstown gymnasium created road warriors out of all of the high school's basketball teams this winter season. As their main hubs they've used Warren Street Elementary School and F-MCC for games and practices. 

"We've got an awesome facility to look forward to," Derwin said.

Warren Street Elementary is where the Johnstown girls played in the past, and it's just a hop, skip and a jump from the high school. A sign still hangs there that reads "Home of the Lady Bills."

"It doesn't matter where we play," Johnstown senior Jesse Van Nostrand said after scoring 11 points in the last home game of her five-year varsity career. "We always try to give our all, wherever we play."

The varsity girls had not played at F-MCC before Monday's Foothills Council contest. The F-MCC court is about twice the size of the one at Warren Street Elementary.

"It's a little different," Van Nostrand said. "Toward the end, it definitely got a little tougher on you, trying to get through it."

Johnstown athletic director Jim Robare said the game was played at F-MCC because he was expecting a sizable crowd, which he got.

"It's Johnstown and Gloversville," Robare said earlier Monday. "We figured it would draw a pretty good crowd so we moved it to F-MCC."

"Parents showed up. Students showed up," said Kelly Miranda, Van Nostrand's mother. "If there's a game, we go."

The gymnasium remodeling and swimming pool renovations at the high school, which began last spring, are part of a $39.6 million capital plan that was approved by district voters in December of 2014. Work projects have or are currently being done in all district buildings.

"The whole winter season had to be moved," Robare said.

"There were so many rumors going around," Van Nostrand said. "We were going to play at Knox [Johnstown's middle school] or Warren or F-M. I didn't want to be all over the place. I was curious, but it's been pretty good the way it worked out."

The Johnstown wrestling and boys' swimming teams compete as a merger with Fonda-Fultonville and have used the Braves' facilities this winter season. The Johnstown boys' basketball teams have played several games at F-MCC.

"I can't thank F-MCC and Kevin Jones [F-MCC athletic director and women's basketball coach] enough for letting us use their facilities," Robare said. "He has cut practice times for us. He has cancelled practices so we could get in there."

Robare said the Johnstown gymnasium and pool projects will not be complete until June at the earliest. He is already piecing together a preseason practice plan for his spring teams. The spring season in Section II begins March 5.

"We have five levels of baseball, four levels of softball and three levels of boys' and girls' lacrosse, and three gyms to fit them all in," he said. "We'll make it work."

Gloversville extended its Foothills Council win streak to 12 games with Monday's victory. Harmony Philo and Alex Benfatti scored 23 and 20 points, respectively, for the Dragons. Anna Lee, one of five freshman on the Johnstown roster, led all scorers with 25 points. She scored 16 in the first half to help keep it close before Gloversville pulled away.

GLOVERSVILLE

Christman 1-0-2, Brown 1-0-3, Hauser 5-4-14, Philo 8-5-23, Beach 0-1-1, Langley 1-0-2, Lavery 1-2-4, Benfatti 8-1-20. Totals: 25-13-69.

JOHNSTOWN

Sasaki 2-1-5, Van Nostrand 3-3-11, Mraz 0-2-2, Lee 9-2-25, Wilson 1-0-2. Totals: 15-8-45.

Gloversville 16 19 15 19 - 69

Johnstown 14 14 9 8 - 45

Three-point goals: Brown, Philo 2, Benfatti 3, Van Nostrand 2, Lee 5.

Reach Gazette Sportswriter Jim Schiltz at 518-395-3143, jims@dailygazette.com or @jim_schiltz on Twitter.

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