Ran­dle driven by tough loss

Albany Times Union - - SPORTS - James ALLEN ▶ [email protected]­sunion.com 518-4545062 ■ @Tuside­lines ■

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.

Hans Pen­nink / Spe­cial to the Times Union

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.


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