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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, February 7, 2008

Bulldogs get electric victory over big rival

By Tim Matteson

BERNE — In the five seasons Andy Wright has led the Berne-Knox-Westerlo boys’ basketball team, Schenectady Christian has been the benchmark program.

This year, the Bulldogs find themselves in the top spot along with the Falcons.

BKW beat Schenectady Christian, 61-56, on Saturday night on the Falcons’ home court at Scotia-Glenville High School.

"I’m in my fifth year," Wright said. "And they have been on top of the league in four out of five of them. They only lost to Canajoharie and lost to Duanesburg. They have lost to us twice. They have four losses and we have two of them. They don’t lose very often."

Schenectady Christian came into the game ranked second in the New York State Sportswriters Class C poll. The loss was just the second in the last 41 games for the Falcons, who also had a 33 regular-season winning streak.

"This is a win we needed as a program," Wright said. "This is a great win for this year’s Bulldogs. This gives us a chance to share a league title with them. We have to beat Canajoharie on Wednesday night. That would be huge for our program. It’s everything Coach [Brian] McCoy and myself having been building for."


The gym at Scotia-Gleville High School was packed Saturday night, with half of the people in the gym BKW supporters.

"It was electric out there," Wright said. "It was appropriate we were so close to GE. Half the gym was representing BKW. When they have a big crowd, my kids play as hard as they can. They came out and worked."

Wright said that his team benefited from the loose officiating that let the two teams lay it all out on the court.

"They let us play," he said. "It didn’t feel like a small-school game. It was like the Suburban Council or the Big 10. It was physical like the game is meant to be played at the varsity level. We were not stopping every 10 seconds for fouls. That helped us, because we have scrappy kids that stay fighting."

BKW trailed for most of the game until senior Matt Lounsbury hit a three-point shot to give the Bulldogs the lead with 6:22 left.

The fourth and final quarter saw seven lead changes. Lounsbury and David Sikule made three-pointers.

The Bulldogs went on a decisive 8-0 run that featured four foul shots by Sikule, a turn-around jump shot by Joe Conklin, and a lay-up by Ben Burton.

Conklin had a big game inside for the Bulldogs on Saturday night. He scored 24 points after being held scoreless when the teams first played — a 76-54 Bulldogs’ loss last month.

"Joey Conklin was a man playing with high school players," Wright said. "Whatever we needed, he did it for us that night. We didn’t do well in the first game, and they didn’t give him any respect. He went up against a guy that was in foul trouble and his replacement couldn’t defend him...Against Schoharie, he had 18 points and 11 rebounds. Joey had confidence. It allowed him to have a good game without trying to do too much."

"First love"

The Bulldogs have been shooting the ball with confidence all season.

"We lead the section in three pointers," Wright said. "Out of 92 teams. I’m excited about that. We are also in the top 10 in every other statistic. The kids are playing well. We have three top-20 three-point shooters. Josh Skinner, Sikule, and Lounsbury each have more than 30. And Ben Burton is capable of having that many."

BKW played Canajoharie on Wednesday to close out the regular season. The Bulldogs then play in the Western Athletic Conference Tournament. They will take on a team from the Northern Division in a first-round game next week.

Wright was happy to see this group of players win a game of this magnitude. Wright has a special connection with his players this season.

"I’ve known all of them since they were little kids and I was umpiring their Little League game," Wright said. "Their fathers were coaches and managers of their teams. I’ve known them for a big portion of their lives. I’ve known Matt Lounsbury since he was 3 probably...

"This is a different group of kids," Wright added. "They don’t play other sports. Even David Sikule, who is excellent at golf, he’s a basketball player. That’s his first love. Lounsbury plays other sports, but his love is basketball. That’s what they love to do and I’m glad it’s basketball. I share that with them. They are special and I’m glad they have a chance to win a championship."

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — Tuesday night’s game might have been tougher than expected for the Guilderland boys’ basketball team, but it just might be what the Dutchmen needed.

The Dutch had to overcome a sharp-shooting Bethlehem team and foul trouble to beat the Eagles, 84-80, in overtime at Guilderland High School. The Dutch remain unbeaten in the Suburban Council.

"We haven’t had a game in a long time that has come down to the last couple of minutes," said Guilderland Coach Ron Osinski. "We came back and did a good job. Hopefully, a game like this will get us ready for sectionals."

"They came out and shot the ball well," said junior Kevin Kost. "We started off slow, but we stayed with it. We kept playing our game and our shots went in."

The game went at a fast-paced back-and-forth tempo as neither team built a big lead. The Dutch led, 25-18, at the end of the first quarter but Bethlehem came back due to Dutchmen foul trouble.

Senior starters Andrew Smith and Dan Gejay picked up a pair of fouls in the first half and were sitting on the bench instead of playing on the court.

Thanks to the play of senior Brett Marfurt and juniors Kost and Jon Terry, the Dutchmen held on to a two-point lead, 46-44, at halftime.

Gejay and Smith picked up their third fouls early in the third quarter and each picked up their fourth midway in the frame and both were forced back to the bench. Smith’s two fouls in the stanza came on the offensive end of the court.

Court drama

The Dutchmen still held their two-point lead, 61-59, at the end of the third quarter, setting up a dramatic fourth frame.

The teams traded baskets like two boxers in a title fight. The Eagles tied the game, but Kost came back with a three-pointer to give the Dutchmen the lead, 64-61.

Ryan Prinzo hit a jump shot for Bethlehem, but Kost knocked down another three-point shot for a four-point lead.

Kevin Wendth made two foul shots, which were answered by a drive to the basket by Marfurt. John Drazan scored inside to keep the Eagles close, 69-67, with 4:12 left in regulation.

Bethlehem tied the game when a Guilderland turnover led to a fast-break lay-up by Prinzo.

The Eagles grabbed the lead when Gejay picked up his fifth foul and Drazan made both free throws to make the score 71-69 with 3:17 left in the contest.

Kost responded with a three-point shot and a floater in the lane to give the Dutch a three-point lead, 74-71.

Drazan made an inside basket and Connor Muncil tied the game with a foul shot after Smith picked up his fifth foul with seven seconds left.

The Dutch had the ball with one more shot by Marfurt, but it clanked off the rim and the game was headed to overtime, tied at 74-74.

"We didn’t give up"

The Eagles got two foul shots to take the lead early in the extra frame. But Terry came back for the Dutch with a reverse lay-up and a floater in the lane to give the Dutch the lead, 78-76.

Drazan scored inside for Bethlehem, but Kost came back with a three-pointer to give the Dutchmen the lead for good.

Marfurt made four foul shots in the final seconds of the game to seal the win for the Dutch.

"In the overtime, someone had to step up," Kost said. "We didn’t give up. We handled all the pressure. We just waited for the things to get open and we hit some big shots. And we stepped up the defense. Quinn Connell did a good job on Wendth and Chris Mannarino’s steal at the end put it away."

"Kevin and Brett, with starters out, stepped up," Osinski said. "Both of them were able to win the game with a complement of players. Drew and Danny didn’t play half of the game. I give them [Bethlehem] credit. They shot the ball well. They are a good offensive team and they will be good in sectionals."

Marfurt led the Dutchmen with 29 points and is now fourth on the school’s career scoring chart. Kost scored 18 points; Terry, who left the game with a cut to his mouth, scored 15; and Gejay and Smith each scored 10 points.

Drazan led the Eagles with 18 points and Joe Kane added 16 points. Muncil scored 13 points and Mike Agneta chipped in with 10.

"This might have been a good time for this," Osinski said. "We have had no close games since CBA and Colonie and that was a long time ago."

"Ready to go"

The Dutchmen are still unbeaten in the Suburban Council (13-0) and still have one more game — a make-up with Columbia on Tuesday. The Dutch are 15-2 overall.

In the meantime, the Dutch will begin post-season play. They are the top seed in the Suburban Council Tournament after winning the Gold Division and clinching the best record.

Guilderland will play Shenendehowa at home on Thursday and, with a win, will play in the championship game at the Washington Avenue Armory on Sunday. A loss will put the Dutchmen in the consolation round on Saturday.

"We are hoping to do better," Osinski said of the league tourney. "We haven’t done so well. We’ve been in the consolation for many of the years of the tournament.

"One year, when Kenny Dagostino was senior," he said, referring to 2002, "we were number-one and we played Niskayuna and they knocked us off. It’s different now. Hopefully, we’ll be charged and ready to go."

Tough teams put Dutchmen on thin ice

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — It was a tough week for the Guilderland ice hockey team.

The Skating Dutchmen had their game against Glens Falls on Friday postponed and lost two close games to the division leaders in the Capital District High School Hockey League.

Guilderland lost to Division II leader Queensbury, 6-5, in overtime on Saturday and lost to Shenendehowa, who is ahead of the Dutch in Division I, 4-2, on Tuesday night.

The Skating Dutchmen have a 10-9-1 overall record and are 10-3 in the CDHSHL. They wrap up the season with a trip to Glens Falls today (Thursday).

On Saturday, the Dutchmen got a hat trick (three goals) from senior Aaron Cahill but it was not enough as Queensbury’s Matt Soprano also tallied three times.

Greg Warnken and Colin Burg each had a goal for Guilderland. Joe Romano had an assist and Warnken helped out on two goals.

Brendan Glennon made 23 saves in goal for the Dutchmen. He was helped on defense by Jon Fogel, who aided Glennon in killing off nine power-play opportunities after penalties.

Guilderland led, 2-0, after the first period, but Queensbury scored two goals in the second to tie the contest. Both teams scored three goals in the third period to remain tied at the end of regulation.

On Tuesday, the Dutchmen could not keep up with division-leading Shen, which wrapped up the league’s regular-season championship with the win.

The Plainsmen scored a goal each in the first and second periods. Guilderland came back to score two goals in the third period to tie the game, but Shen scored two more goals to pull away for the win.

Cahill and Dan Dickinson tallied for the Dutchmen. Warnken picked up an assist in the game for the Dutch.

Glennon made 30 saves in the game for the Skating Dutchmen.

Guilderland fell to third place with 16 points, just a half-point behind LaSalle for second place.

The Dutchmen will play Christian Brothers Academy on Friday in the first round of the Albany Cup tournament. The Dutchmen will play on Saturday in the championship game or consolation game against either Bethlehem or Shaker-Colonie.

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — The 2007-08 version of the Guilderland nordic ski team is cutting new trails for the program.

The Dutch boys’ and girls’ cross-country ski teams are having their best season ever this winter. The teams have been competitive on the trails at meets this winter.

"It’s been a much improved year than over the last few years," said Guilderland Coach Barbara Newton. "We’ve had snow, and the team has worked hard. Past teams worked hard, but the snow this year is much more plentiful and that’s led to twice as many practices."

For the past few years, the Guilderland teams have not had the conditions to practice early in the season. But the early snowfall this winter allowed the Dutch to practice on skis instead of running or using roller skis.

"Because of getting on the snow," Newton said, "that has let us practice our technique more and get ready for meets. And that has shown in our individual and team finishes."

"It was different last year," said junior Courtney Davis of the weather. "It cut our races in half. It’s difficult for training when you’re not skiing. This year, we’ve been on the skis quite often."

"We got a lot of snow early on and that let us get our first races in," said senior John Raffensperger.

"Doing very well"

The team has 45 skiers, which shows the interest the sport has gotten this year. But having that many competitors has not been a burden for Newton or Assistant Coach Jon Mapstone. They have been able to rely on a good group of upperclassmen who have shown tremendous leadership.

"They made our job easy," Newton said. "They really cooperate and do the workouts. The younger skiers still have a lot to learn and the older skiers teach them well."

The top female skier this winter has been Davis, an 11th-grader.

"She is having a good year," Newton said. "Seventh has been her top finish so far. She has a good chance of competing at states this year. And she wants to qualify for the Empire State Games, which is a credit to her dedication to the program to work outside the program."

"I’ve placed in the top 10 three times, I think," said Davis, who is in her third year on the team. "My top has been seventh, which is looking good for states."

Senior John Raffensperger has been the top male skier this season.

"He’s been a real good role model for the rest of the team," Newton said. "He trains hard and has been one of our very good leaders."

Cody Lassonde and Justin Freese-Bogart have been the other top two Guilderland finishers in the boys’ races.

Elin Molnaas, an exchange student from Norway, is one of the top female skiers.

"She has made the team more competitive," Newton said. "She came here already with a good base of cross-country skiing. She’s been a pleasure to have on the team."

Allie Dimura is also in the top three of Guilderland finishers.

"We are getting great finishes this year," Raffensperger said. "Especially the girls, they have finished second or third this year. The boys’ varsity has finished fifth. Overall, the teams are doing very well."

"The kids who are returning work so hard," Newton said. "We have few days on snow, but they work with individuals with learning technique. They are excellent with helping out the new kids on the team. Coach [Mapstone] and I brag about how special this team is. They are dedicated to the program despite the poor training facilities because of a lack of snow."

Snow motivation

There are also younger skiers that are learning the sport and will continue to get better over the next few years.

"We are getting a lot more younger kids," Davis said. "They are getting more experience than just getting seniors every year. These kids have four years under their belts by their senior year."

"The fact that a lot of freshmen are starting now will help in three or four years," said Freese-Bogart a junior and three-year member of the team. "The biggest thing is the snow this year. Last year, the only day it snowed was sectionals, which postponed it. Everyone is motivated with the snow. It does keep the team motivated."

"It’s been a great senior year," Raffensperger said. "The younger kids have stepped up and performed well, which has been nice."

Raffensperger credited Brian Dyer, Barrett Smith, and Andrew Lapinski-Barker as being strong skiers this winter.

And the team has overcome the recent loss of snow to still finish strong. The varsity and junior varsity girls’ teams have had second-place finishes this season. The JV boys’ team has also had a second-place finish this year.

"Those are the best finishes we’ve had since I’ve been here," said senior Matt Williamson. "We are still trying to get past the powerhouse teams. It’ll be exciting to get that high."

But as the snow has melted in the past couple of weeks, it’s made practices difficult.

"We don’t know what we’re going to do," Raffensperger said. "There’s no snow, so we’ll run. Teams up north will be able to keep up with their technique. We’ll make it happen."

"The boys’ varsity is the toughest to compete in," Newton said. "Their best has been a fourth-place finish. The northern schools are on snow five times more than we are and we can compete with them. That shows how strong we are and our desire to compete."

The Dutch wrap up the season at Lake George on Friday then will compete at the Section II meet on Wednesday at Lapland Lake. Then, if anyone qualifies for the state meet, he or she will compete from Feb. 25 to 27.

Newton thinks that a couple of her skiers could qualify for the state meet, but it won’t be easy.

"Twelve out of 70 racers in the girls go," Newton said. "It’s a tough field to get in to. Especially with Queensbury, Mayfield, and Glens Falls having courses in their backyards."

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — The Guilderland wrestling team took some lumps this past week as it had its worst performance of the year.

The Dutchmen lost to Whitehall in the first round of the Section II Duals on Saturday at Colonie High School.

"We lost 44 to 37," said Guilderland Coach Korey Rogotzke. "We had guys that were ahead that got pinned. It was a disappointing defeat. But we came back to beat LaSalle."

The Dutchmen pinned a 40-35 defeat on the Cadets in a consolation match after losing to Whitehall, a small-school power from Washington County.

Guilderland did get some good individual performances at the tournament.

Kevin Bates wrestled well in his lightweight matches. Travis Wolanski did well in making the adjustment up to 119 pounds from 112.

"He moved up and did excellent against Whitehall," Rogotzke said.

Matt Cubillos and Robert Romeo continued to dominate in their weight classes. Cubillos won both of his matches with first-period pins at 125 pounds and Romeo did the same at 130 pounds.

Josh Sawyer won both of his 171-pound matches by pin as well. Devan Van Auken beat the number-one ranked small-school 285-pounder from Whitehall by pin.

"Youth is showing"

"A lot of guys are stepping up," Rogotzke said. "Our youth is showing. We have six guys that hadn’t wrestled on varsity before and have not wrestled for a whole season before. There was a big crowd and the younger guys didn’t know how to respond. But I think it was good for us. The atmosphere was a trial by fire for the young guys."

Rogotzke said that his wrestlers will learn from the experience and continue to get better.

"So much of wrestling is mental," Rogotzke said. "It’s about completely believing you are capable of beating your opponent at any point of the match. You better know the mental and physical demands...there is no room for error."

The Dutch are now 9-5 overall as they wrap up the regular season. Their final dual match was Wednesday against Bethlehem.

"If we beat Bethlehem," Rogotzke said at Monday’s practice, "we’ll have 10 dual wins. To reach double-digits in dual wins is great."

Guilderland lost to Shenendehowa, 52-24, last Wednesday, but the Dutch are looking to finish up strong.

"Everybody is contributing"

"Right now, we are hurt that we don’t have our 160-pounder, Clay DeCesere, in the line-up. Winning duals has been a lot more difficult. But I’m happy with the veterans."

Bates, Eugene Sellie, Dan Bennison, David Taylor, and Greg Reinhart have been solid during the season.

"Everybody is contributing," Rogotzke said.

The junior varsity Dutch, coached by Ryan Johnson, have done well this season. They did well at the Bethlehem dual meet and are preparing for the sectionals in Amsterdam on Saturday.

"Over half the team has won five matches," Rogotzke said. "Over 60 percent of the team has a winning record. We have a good nucleus. They are looking forward to doing well at the Amsterdam JV tournament."

The varsity Dutch are aiming for the Class A sectional meet at Albany High School on Feb. 16.

"We want to be ready for sectionals," Rogotzke said. "I expect us to be in the top three of the A’s. We get healthy, I believe we’ll be ready to go.

"We would love to have the community and fans to come down to Albany," Rogotzke added. "The guys would love to have the support at the Class As. It would be great to see the Red Sea come out."

Rogotzke said they have been very supportive this year.

" I want to thank the school and the community for their support," Rogotzke said. "It’s been great. The Booster Club, the alumni, the students, and teachers have been excellent."

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