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Ballston Spa goes deep to beat Niskayuna

Ballston Spa goes deep to beat Niskayuna

Scotties use clutch 3-pointers to prevail
Ballston Spa goes deep to beat Niskayuna
Ballston Spa's Keegan Zoller scored 15 points in Friday's 63-50 Suburban Council win over Niskayuna.
Photographer: ERICA MILLER

BALLSTON SPA — So many good things can happen when you effectively move the basketball like Ballston Spa did Friday night.

The Scotties created open looks and cashed in on enough of them to derail a hot Niskayuna team 63-50 in a Suburban Council game that featured a pair third-quarter scoring binges.

Ballston Spa put together the second of those lengthy runs, rattling off 15 unanswered points to gain the upper hand.

"That's what we're trying to get them to buy into," Ballston Spa coach John Lea said after his team won its second straight following a three-game slide to open the season. "They've got to rely on each other and move the ball."

The Scotties moved it particularly well in the first and third quarters, when they built a lead, and when they regained it after a 15-2 spurt by the Silver Warriors.

"It was the extra pass," Ballston Spa junior Jason Faizy said after a 13-point outing off the bench. "We've been working on it, and tonight, it showed."

Luke Alteri and Zach Washington knocked down 3-point baskets to start Ballston Spa's 15-0 run, and Faizy capped it with three more 3s as the hosts built a 50-38 advantage

"He [Faizy] did a heck of a job tonight," Lea said. "He had lost his confidence a bit. Hopefully, this will help him get it back."

Richie Quinn's layup had given Niskayuna a 38-35 lead before Ballston Spa answered with its flurry of points.

"We had to get tough," Lea said. "The kids kept their composure and hung in there. We believed. We fought and worked hard and you saw the result."

"We couldn't get down on ourselves," Faizy said. "We had to keep the energy up."

Strong defensive play helped Ballston Spa (2-3, 2-3) early and in the late going, when Washington had a steal and a deflection that led to another in quick succession, as well as two free throws to help the Scotties seal the victory.

"Tip your hat," Niskayuna coach Ben Smith said. "They went after the ball. That's what you get from a John Lea team."

"We were working our tail off on defense," Lea said after the Scotties held the Silver Warriors to a season-low point total.

Alteri paced Ballston Spa with 19 points, and Keegan Zoller had 15 including a trio of 3s to begin the game as the Scotties raced to a 9-0 lead. Ballston Spa led by as many as 11 twice in the first half and was up 33-23 at the break.

"Basketball is a game of runs," Smith said. "We went on ours and we got up. They hit a couple of threes, and that kind of knocked the wind out of our sails."

Sean St. Lucia scored 11 of his 16 points in Niskayuna's 15-2 charge to start the third frame, with the junior sinking three 3s in the surge. The last of those gave Niskayuna its first lead at 36-35 before Quinn's layup extended it.

"We knew they were going to hit shots," said Alteri, one of Ballston Spa's three seniors. "We hit more shots."

Niskayuna (2-2, 4-2) came in with a three-game winning streak that included victories over Guilderland, Mohonasen and Shaker, and had topped Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons to open the campaign.

"The last few years, there was a lack of success in the program. We are starting to see some," Smith said. "That doesn't mean someone in the Suburban Council can't come up and bite you. We can't be complacent."

Ballston Spa's modest two-game winning streak started Tuesday when Alteri hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer in a 63-62 triumph over Schenectady.

NISKAYUNA

E. St. Lucia 1-0-3, S. St. Lucia 6-0-16, Halusic 2-2-6, Quinn 4-0-10, Brown 0-1-1, Benton 4-5-14. Totals: 17-8-50.

BALLSTON SPA

Zoller 5-2-15, Alteri 6-4-19, Faizy 5-0-13, McDonough 1-0-2, Fox 2-0-5, Washington 3-2-9. Totals: 22-8-63.

Niskayuna 11 12 17 10 — 50

Ballston Spa 18 15 17 13 — 63

Reach Gazette Sportswriter Jim Schiltz at 518-395-3143, [email protected] or @jim_schiltz on Twitter.

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