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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, March 5, 2009

Blackbirds’ season is cut short with sectional loss to Lake George

By Jordan J. Michael

ALBANY –– The Lake George Warriors officially have Voorheesville’s number in the 2008-09 high school sports year.

Lake George had a 50-to-45 win over the Blackbird boys’ basketball team in the Class CC quarterfinals at Saint Rose on Saturday. It marked the third victory for the Warriors over Voorheesville sports in sectional play since last fall.

Lady Bird volleyball and Blackbirds soccer both lost to Lake George last fall in sectional play.

Voorheesville boys’ basketball was the fourth seed out of the Colonial Council and Lake George was the fifth seed out of the Adirondack league. The two teams clashed for a memorable game on Saturday.

“It was a championship quality game with physical play and great movement,” said Blackbird Head Coach Don Catellier. “I think the 15-day layoff hurt us more than we thought, but I’m proud of my guys. They fought and battled as hard as they could.”

It took the two teams a few minutes to feel each other’s defenses out. Nate Miller eventually started the scoring with a three-pointer for the Warriors. Mike Snyder and Ethan Mackey put in two hard buckets for Voorheesville in response.

Lucas Freihofer nailed a three for Lake George and Snyder continued his aggressive play under the basket. The Warriors led, 11 to 8, after a highly defensive first quarter from both teams.

Mackey, usually a dominating scorer down low, was kept in check by Lake George. Voorheesville looked elsewhere and found excellent play from Nick Kinisky and Mike Tesch in the second quarter.

“They were giving Mackey a fit all game, guarding him really close,” Catellier said after the game. “Tesch came in and made some clutch shots and Kinisky was trying to make something happen.”

Tesch gave the Blackbirds the lead at 16 to 13 with a three and Kinisky had a couple of strong moves to the basket, including a shot that dropped after a hard foul by Matt McGowan of Lake George.

Miller sank a smooth jumper with a couple minutes left in the half and Tesch made a nice up and under lay-up to give Voorheesville a 26-to-24 lead at halftime.

“We knew that this game was going to go right to the end,” said Catellier. “Neither team could pull away because each team was taking away each other’s strengths. It was a defensive struggle.”

The third quarter was not a good outing for the purple and white. The Blackbirds came out flat and the Warriors began to build a comfortable lead. Voorheesville wouldn’t increase its total to 28 points for several minutes.

Miller buried two clutch three-pointers and Lake George started coming away with a handful of steals. Mackey finally got the Blackbirds on the board with two free throws. The Warriors opened a 38-to-28 lead.

Mackey’s play down low kept Lake George from pulling too far ahead. The quarter came to a climatic close when the Warriors’ Robert Mastrantoni stripped Kinisky of the ball and found Miller for a lay-up at the buzzer. Voorheesville had a nine-point deficit heading into the final quarter.

The climax

“I had no reason to believe that the game was over, but my guys were hanging their heads a little,” Catellier said. “We had an uphill battle in the fourth and my players responded well and almost won the game.”

Lake George continued the three-point attack with one each from Miller and Mastrantoni. Mackey and Kinisky kept Voorheesville in the game and the Warriors led, 48 to 41, with 4:49 left in the game.

Nicholas Blow and Chris Castren missed two wide-open shots for Voorheesville and McGowan fouled out for Lake George. Snyder made two from the foul line to close the Warrior lead to 48 to 43 with 1:45 left on the clock.

The Blackbirds made a stop and got the ball back. Snyder grabbed an offensive board underneath and made it a three-point game with about a minute left. Voorheesville called a timeout with 36.5 left after another defensive stop.

A final shot by the Blackbirds would decide the rest of its season.

Kinisky, Voorheesville’s playmaker, dribbled the ball down the floor and frantically looked for an open teammate, but no one was available. He decided to put a desperation three on his own and missed, only to get his own rebound, saving the possession.

Kinisky dribbled the ball out to the top of the key and fired a pass to a waiting Snyder in the corner. The wide-open three-pointer spun off the rim and the Blackbirds fouled Miller. Miller sealed Lake George’s victory with two free throws.

“That was the best shot we had. Kinisky put up a not-so-good shot and was lucky to get the rebound,” Catellier said. “You hate to see a hard-working senior miss a shot of that caliber. We missed a good amount of open shots throughout the game.”

“We needed to shut down Kinisky and Mackey to win and we did exactly that,” said Lake George Head Coach Dave Jones. “We put everything in to this game.”

Miller led all scorers with 18 and Kinisky had 14 for the Blackbirds. Mackey and Snyder added 11 and 9 respectively. Freihofer had nine points, all off threes.

“They made big shots when it counted and we missed big shots when it counted,” said Catellier. “It wasn’t a good way to go out, but nothing ever ends the way you planned it.”

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