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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, December 8, 2011

BKW and Voorheesville play meaningful scrimmage

By Jordan J. Michael

VOORHEESVILLE –– Two traits were apparent after Berne-Knox-Westerlo and Voorheesville finished their scrimmage on Friday –– both teams have no problem scoring and the players for each school went about their business in a serious manner.

Voorheesville Head Coach Don Catellier said that the meeting between the two neighboring teams was “just a scrimmage,” but it seemed more meaningful than that at certain moments. The Bulldogs and Blackbirds were hustling and jockeying for position as they would in a real game.

“The referees let a few calls go and it got a little physical,” said BKW senior Nate Krimsky, who stands at 6 feet, 5 inches tall. During the scrimmage, Krimsky made a long jump shot and then immediately stole the ball at the other end. “It’s nice to play Voorheesville,” he added.

The Blackbirds and Bulldogs usually play each other every season, whether it’s a scrimmage or a non-league match-up. BKW plays in the Western Athletic Conference and Voorheesville competes in the Colonial Council.

Each team struggled last season, so both are working extra hard this year to turn their fortunes around. On Friday in Voorheesville, players were getting up and down the floor rather quickly.

BKW Head Coach Andy Wright has witnessed his team finish with seven or eight wins over the last few years. “We’re trying to break out of mediocrity,” he said. “I think we’re capable of having a successful season –– 10 to 12 wins is more realistic. We have the energy for it.”

The Bulldogs started the 2011-12 season on the right foot, beating Tamarac, 65 to 39, in the Rensselaer Tip-Off Tournament on Nov. 22. The next day, BKW lost a close game to Rensselaer, 49 to 47. Junior Garrett Pitcher is leading the team with 34 points over those two games.

Wright told The Enterprise that BKW can move pretty well for its size –– Pitcher, Krimsky, Mike Gamble, Tyler Sigond, Jake Farnam, Tanner Laurie, and Connor McDermott are each at least 6 feet tall. “We have offensive weapons,” Wright said, “but we need the whole team to win games. You have to have the knowledge of responsibility.”

There wasn’t much great defense on Friday from either side, but Wright said that defense is the theme for his team this year. “In the past, we allowed other teams to exploit our weaknesses,” he said.

The starting five for BKW appear to be Krimsky, Sigond, Pitcher, Gamble, and Tristan Wilson, all of whom are back after getting plenty of minutes last year. Krimsky and Sigond cause havoc under the basket, while Gamble and Wilson run the offense as guards. Pitcher is more of a two-way player, able to handle the ball as well as create down the lane.

“We shouldn’t have problems scoring,” Gamble said after Friday’s scrimmage. “I feel that we’re pretty all right, but we need to pick up that defense.”

“Passion for the game”

As for Voorheesville, Catellier feels as through, already, the team is working a whole lot harder than last season. “They have a passion for the game,” Catellier said of his players. “That’s all I can ask for.”

The Blackbirds opened the regular season at home on Tuesday against Watervliet, the defending Class B champions. “We’re getting thrown right into the frying pan from the start,” said Catellier. “We’ll come out and play as hard as we can.”

Voorheesville lost to Watervliet, 72 to 43. Jordan Gleason’s 22 points led the Cannoneers, one of Section II’s most outstanding teams. Russ Daly and Logan Hotaling each scored 11 points for the Birds.

BKW is trying to bring basketball back into focus after “underachieving lately,” Krimsky said. “We used to have some really great teams here in the past. It might be nice to play like that again.”

Krimsky was referring to the “glory days” of the 1950s, ‘60s, and ‘70s when the Bulldogs dominated, bringing out the entire community to games. However, Wright said that times have changed. There are new families in the Hilltowns that have no ties to the old days.

“It’s a public school,” said Wright, a former player at BKW. “There is a lot of pride though.”

Gamble told The Enterprise that his team is taking this basketball season very seriously. Some even go the extra mile. The Bulldogs’ first game will be in its brand-new gym on Friday, Dec. 16, against Mekeel Christian Academy.

“Sure, we’d love to bring the ‘glory’ back,” said Gamble. “We’re a good team, but we need to put the pieces together.”

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