Top-seeded Birds soar over Stillwater
The Enterprise — Jordan J. Michael
Faceguard: Voorheesville senior Logan Hotaling, left, is tightly guarded by a Stillwater opponent in the first quarter of Tuesday’s Class B first-round playoff game in Voorheesville. Hotaling had an excellent game, scoring 28 points, grabbing 12 rebounds, and stealing the ball three times during the Blackbirds’ 65-to-37 win.
VOORHEESVILLE — Igniting for 27 points in the fourth quarter on Tuesday, Voorheesville played like the team that deserved the top seed in the Class B playoffs.
Over the previous three quarters, Stillwater tried to control the pace of the game, slowing the tempo, but the Blackbirds’ quickness and scoring prowess would not be denied. On offense or defense, Stillwater was no match for Voorheesville.
The Blackbirds won the opening-round sectional contest, 65 to 37.
“We were seeded first, so we believe we can be first,” said senior Logan Hotaling, who put on a fantastic display for Voorheesville, scoring 28 points, grabbing 12 rebounds, and stealing the ball three times. “We have the tools that we need.”
Entering the fourth quarter with a 12-point lead, Voorheesville turned on the jets, defending with inspiration, and scoring at will. After a 22-to-6 run, senior Dylan Hensel banked in a three-pointer for the Birds despite the stretched-out hands of Warriors’ defenders for a 31-point lead.
Voorheesville Head Coach David Burch said that Tuesday’s game was more about how Stillwater wanted to play, but “once we built that lead, they weren’t going to win with that slow pace, so they had to pick it up,” he said. “When we get up and down like that, we’re at our best.”
The Blackbirds have the luxury of starting four talented seniors — Hotaling, Hensel, Noah Crawford, and Joe Vogel — every night. Even though Hotaling almost took over Tuesday’s game, they all shared the ball.
“If we play our defense right, we can score any way,” said Crawford, who scored 12 points to go with four steals. “We have players that can do anything.”
For Voorheesville, its defense is the offense.
“The times we’ve faced adversity, our defense failed us,” Burch said. “We try to get better on defense every day because you’re not always going to hit shots. We communicate and push each other. It’s very team oriented.”
The Blackbirds (18-1), ranked 11th in the state in Class B, holds nothing back during practice, Hotaling says.
“Sometimes, kids will just want to fight,” he said. “It’s competitive; everyone wants to win, play, and fight for what they can get.”
At this point in the season, teams are usually getting tired, but Hotaling said that Voorheesville is getting stronger. He thinks the Birds have the determination and focus to go all of the way.
Voorheesville faces eighth-seeded Catskill on Friday at 8 p.m. at Hudson Valley Community College in the quarterfinals. Catskill beat Watervliet on Tuesday, a team that gave the Blackbirds its only loss this season.
“Every day is a different challenge,” Burch said. “You get through one, you get another one, and, if you don’t, you go home.”