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Special Section Archives The Altamont Enterprise, February 3, 2010
Health & Fitness Section
Slam-dunk for awareness: Guilderland basketball battles cancer, loses to Mohonasen
By Jordan J. Michael
LOUDONVILLE The Dutchmen basketball team was part of two different battles last weekend one against cancer and another against Mohonasen and it couldn’t win both.
Guilderland surrendered Sunday’s game to Mohonasen, 54 to 46, at Siena College during the Coaches vs. Cancer High School Challenge, but it prevailed in raising funds to fight cancer. The Dutch were one of eight teams in an event that helped raise money for treatment of a deadly disease.
“Everyone knows someone who either has cancer or had it in the past,” said junior Cameron Dobbs, who led Guilderland in scoring with 14 points and received an Outstanding Player Award. “It feels good to support the cause because this disease really hits home.”
Senior Jordan Weeden, who was honored with an All-Academic Award for Guilderland after the game, mentioned his mother, a breast cancer survivor, during a speech he gave for the team on Saturday night. “Everyone wants to find a cure,” he said.
“There’s so many people you don’t know that have been affected,” said Dutchmen Head Coach Ron Osinski, whose mother-in-law died three years ago of lung cancer. “So much more than you think. It’s like ‘Wow, I didn’t know that.’”
The Albany Academy hosted the Coaches vs. Cancer and played in the final game of the day against Schenectady. Head Coach Brian Fruscio spearheaded the event four years ago when he was working for LaSalle. Fruscio lost his grandfather to cancer in 1988 and then lost his friend and boss to the disease in 2001.
“This is important because the money stays local,” Fruscio said. Over $50,000 has been raised in the last three years. “It’s continuing to grow.”
All eight teams were on hand for a dinner at Albany Academy on Saturday night and Fruscio said people stood up and talked about “real stuff.” Jack Bestle, the college counselor at Albany Academy, recently lost his father to cancer.
“The stories really impact and affect the kids,” said Fruscio. “This is about awareness. You have about 120 people in a room and you can hear a pin drop. They’re definitely paying attention.”
Fruscio said that Saturday’s dinner was the “awareness moment,” but Sunday was about basketball competition. Guilderland faced Mohonasen, a familiar Suburban Council foe, but it didn’t count as a league game.
Osinski told The Enterprise that the game didn’t feel like a Suburban Council match-up because, for one, it was played on a Sunday afternoon. “We came here to win, but it’s a different court and a bigger atmosphere,” he said.
The Dutch players thought otherwise.
“It’s kind of a rivalry between us,” said Weeden, who also played soccer for Guilderland. “It was the same intensity.”
The Dutch were 6-6 coming into Sunday’s game after beating Burnt Hills at home on Friday. “We wanted to get to a winning record,” Dobbs said.
The Mighty Warriors, which led the Suburban Council South, had a 13-to-6 advantage after the first quarter. The game eventually turned into a jump-shooting clinic with Guilderland and Mohonasen combining for 13 three-pointers.
Dobbs and Grant Massaroni of the Warriors each sank three from behind the arch, and Brendan Doak made two triples for the Dutch.
“We tried to get inside, but everything stayed in the perimeter,” Weeden said. “It was zone discipline.”
Dobbs said that he’s used to that type of perimeter play. “Both teams have tremendous shooters,” he said. “I think they got more open looks.”
Osinski was trying to get his players to go inside, but it “didn’t work,” he said. “I think our execution has been lacking all year,” Osinski said, noting the 17 turnovers. “It’s a mental thing.”
The Dutchmen started the second quarter off well. Brandon Courtney was found open under the basket for a score, and Doak made a three-pointer, cutting the Mohonasen lead to two points. That was as close as the Dutch would get for the rest of the game.
Every time Guilderland looked to make things interesting, the Warriors would go on a small run, extending the lead. It was the trend of the afternoon.
“They scored more in bunches and got all the loose balls,” said Dobbs. “They gave 110 percent. We need to match that.”
Mohonasen committed 15 turnovers, but Osinski said that most of those didn’t look like mental mistakes. “The mental stuff can be controlled, it’s attainable,” he said. “It breaks your back.”
At 5-5 (6-7 overall) in the Suburban Council, the Dutch still have a chance at hosting a Class AA sectional game if it finishes strong. Games against Ballston Spa, Colonie, Columbia, Averill Park, and Bethlehem remain.
“We have a few more chances,” Weeden said. “That’s the goal.”
“I’m still looking for 32 minutes of solid basketball,” Osinski said. “If that happens, we’ll be awful tough.”