Randle driven by tough loss
LJ Randle is a senior standout for the Schalmont boys’ basketball team.
Friday night, Randle scored 19 points in helping the Sabres (ranked No. 2 in the Class B state poll) produce a 73-49 victory over Voorheesville in the Colonial Council. Randle, a threeyear varsity player, ranks second on the team in scoring at 15.8 points per game.
Schalmont (12-0 overall, 8-0 league) has Colonial Council games this week against Catholic Central on Tuesday in Troy and Saturday vs. Cobleskill at Washington Avenue Armory as part of the Slam North South Classic.
The team is enjoying a great 2018-19 season so far, but is what happened at the end of your junior season when the team lost in the sectional final driving things?
a: It is a big motivator. We know what the feeling is like to lose at that stage. We want to get back there.
Q: I have to imagine of all the great wins last season, beating Glens Falls in the semifinals had to be pretty high on the list, right?
a: Yeah, it was a good win, especially it being right before the sectional championship game.
Q: You lost to a Mekeel Christian Academy squad that went on to win the Class B state championship, so did you guys sort of feel a win in the sectional final could have meant a possible state title and motivated everyone even more for this season?
a: We thought all during the offseason that we were eight points away from almost being like Mekeel. We have been thinking about it since then. It has kind of motivated us.
Q: From your prospective, what do you try to bring to the team?
a: I just try to make sure everyone is on the same page, bringing the defensive energy and offensively, moving the ball and scoring: whatever the team needs, pretty much.
Q: It appears to me you take more pride in your defensive play than what you accomplish on offense. Am I reading that correctly?
a: Yes. Ever since I was little, I was taught that defense ignites our offense. A lot of the offense comes from defense. I do pride myself on my defense.
Q: The team has put together some really strong wins so far. How happy are you with what the team has accomplished thus far?
a: I am definitely happy with how we have played so far, but I am not satisfied yet because we need to keep working to get better.
Q: How exciting was it seeing teammate Shane O’dell score his 1,000th point Friday night?
a: It was great, a moment we all shared in. Q: What is it like to have your brother Trent on the team with you?
a: It is fun. We are always jaw-jacking with each other. The basketball team is already a bunch of brothers. To have my actual brother makes it that much better. It makes us closer.
Q: You also played football at Schalmont, but is basketball something you are looking to play beyond high school? a: Yes, it would be.
Q: Have you selected what you will major in?
a: I am going to major in business. Q: We are not that far away from the start of sectionals. How are you approaching it?
a: All season, we have taken things one game at a time. We are not thinking ahead. We are just playing our hardest each game and are focused on each team we face. Our coach (Greg Loiacono) has us ready for every team we face.
Q: Earlier in the season, you played in the SUNY Cobleskill High School Classic. Saturday, the team gets to face Cobleskill at the Armory. How much are you looking forward to that?
a: I am excited and the team is excited, especially getting some exposure at the big event before the postseason.
Q: The 2018 Section II Class B tournament was very competitive, even with the top seeds advancing. Are you anticipating an even more competitive tournament next month?
a: I do. Lots of the top teams have most of their best guys returning. I really think it is going to be very competitive for a lot of teams.
Q: When you were growing up, was there a team or a player you really loved to watch?
a: I always admired Dwyane Wade. I loved the way he played fast and attacked the rim. He was really athletic when he was younger.
Q: If you had a choice between making a game-winning steal or a game-winning shot, which scenario would you select?
a: Either one I would do, whatever it takes to get the win.
Schalmont senior LJ Randle (11) scores in front of Watervliet’s Khari Croley during the first half on Dec. 18 in Watervliet. Randle averages 15.8 points per game for the Sabres, ranked No. 2 in the state in Class B.