Mar­cus Davis free throw keys Streaks win

Saratoga ral­lies from 10-point deficit late in league opener

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - SPORTS - By Stan Hudy [email protected]­gian.com @StanHudy on Twit­ter

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. >> For the sec­ond straight game as part of a high school dou­ble­header, free throws again set up cel­e­bra­tions for the Saratoga Springs bas­ket­ball teams.

In Tues­day’s opener, Blue Streak se­nior Kerry Fla­herty hit five three throws in the first quar­ter to reach the 1,000-point mark be­fore Saratoga Springs se­nior Mar­cus Davis hit the first of two free throws with less than one sec­ond on the clock to de­feat Colonie, 49-48, in front of a packed home open­ing crowd.

Saratoga (1-0 Sub­ur­ban Coun­cil, 3-0 over­all) ral­lied from a 10-point deficit with less than six min­utes left in the con­test and saw its rally start with a long three­p­ointer from 6-foot 6-inch se­nior Will Fox be­fore the Blue Streak de­fense caused three straight turnovers and con­verted the op­por­tu­ni­ties into six straight points.

“I know we didn’t ex­e­cute an of­fense but us­ing our de-

fense and our length and our ath­leti­cism to get steals, get out in tran­si­tion that can turn into good of­fense,” Saratoga Springs ju­nior Ai­dan Holmes said. “In the fourth quar­ter when we needed buck­ets we pressed and that de­fense, that en­ergy led to easy bas­kets for us.”

Fox’s long dis­tance drop cut the Gar­net Raider lead, 45-41 be­fore Nate Chudy hit a pair with one minute left on the clock af­ter Colonie turned the ball over in front of its own bench, com­ing out of a time out and had head coach Ken Dagostino shak­ing his head in dis­be­lief.

An­other Colonie turnover and foul put Holmes on the line where he con­verted the sec­ond of two with 56 sec­onds left and pulled the Blue Streaks within a point, down 4544.

Holmes came up with a steal, a lay-up and an­other trip to the line, miss­ing the and-one but put Saratoga ahead, 46-45.

Holmes was un­de­terred, fouled yet again on a drive through the lane and this time; hit both for a 3-point lead, 48-45 with 35 sec­onds left.

With the game clock wind­ing down, it was Colonie se­nior wing Aaron Satin’s turn to be a hero, hold­ing onto the ball un­til the fi­nal sec­onds be­fore pulling up for a three-pointer with two sec­onds left to knot the con­test at 48.

Then the al­most im­pos­si­ble hap­pened – Davis was fouled on the in­bounds pass near mid-court and the whis­tle blew for the in­frac­tion as the horn sounded. The foul call was up­held and a minis­cule .2 sec­onds was placed on the clock.

“He clearly hit me,” Davis said. “I had the ball in my hands and when I heard the whis­tle go off I was pretty ex­cited that I was go­ing to the line, so I just had a feel­ing that I was go­ing to knock it down.”

Dagostino called a time out, look­ing to rat­tle birth­day boy Davis be­fore he went to the line for the po­ten­tial game-win­ning shot.

He calmly sank the first free throw for a 49-48 win be­fore his Coach Matt Usher called his fi­nal time out.

Davis was in­structed to miss the sec­ond shot and not at­tempt to re­bound the ball.

“I just took a deep breath and I looked at the rim and I was like ‘This has got to go in,’ and I just shot and it went in,” Davis said. “Af­ter that, af­ter I had the first one, I was like, you know, I’m not too wor­ried about the sec­ond one. We al­ready won the game.”

He did an as two Colonie de­fend­ers cir­cled the bounc­ing re­bound and even­tu­ally picked it up the horn sounded to con­clude the con­test be­fore they had any op­por­tu­nity for a heave to­wards its own end.

Holmes and Dave were stone-cold as­sas­sins at the free throw line down the stretch.

“We shoot them ev­ery day in prac­tice and to get to the line to close it out, it’s you and the bas­ket and I knocked them down,” Holmes said. “They’re free. When things aren’t go­ing for us and our of­fense, eas­i­est thing is to get to the line and that’s what we did.”

Chudy led the Blue Streaks with 14 points on the night with Holmes and Fox chip­ping in nine each. The Gar­net Raiders were led by Mar­cus Shel­ton’s 11 points and Bren­dan Coyle adding 10.

The cel­e­bra­tion was ex­cit­ing, but brief as a long post-game chat was con­ducted by Usher with his squad af­ter the open­ing league win.

“Ob­vi­ously we didn’t shoot the ball well tonight,” Usher said. “We need to have con­fi­dence with our jumper when it’s there, but also be smarter about tak­ing good shots and tak­ing care of the ball. We played hard on the de­fen­sive end that needs to con­tinue, but when we have the ball in our hands, we need to look a lit­tle more co­he­sive and to­gether. We seem to watch peo­ple with the ball and we don’t play to­gether as a unit at this point.”

Just three games into the sea­son and as the Blue Streaks look to adapt to their new roles, Usher of­fered un­der­stand­ing, but also a sense of ur­gency.

“We’ve got a lot of new guys out there and I’m hop­ing that we con­tinue to im­prove in play­ing to­gether and hav­ing a bet­ter feel as five out there mov­ing the ball and play­ing as one,” Usher said. “I’ll credit their ef­fort and their de­fense and fight­ing all the way to the buzzer.

But in my mind this is, you know, this is a loss in many ways. It was sloppy, it was ugly and it was frus­trat­ing to watch for me.”

His words weren’t lost on the Blue Streaks.

That game tonight was not a good rep­re­sen­ta­tion of our­selves, we don’t be­lieve,” Holmes said. “I think we played re­ally sloppy and we put our­selves down 10 when we should not have let that hap­pen.

“We did not ex­e­cute on of­fense, but I think tonight we show if we showed one thing we showed tough­ness and men­tal tough­ness. Down 10 I don’t think a sin­gle one of our 13 guys thought we were go­ing to lose that game. It was about get­ting the next bas­ket and chip­ping away one bucket at a time.”

Saratoga will host Shaker High, 7 p.m. Fri­day, Dec. 7. SARATOGA 49, COLONIE 48 COLONIE (48) Josh Ay­bar 3-2-9, Tayshawn Glover 2-1-6, Aaron Satin 3-0-7, Ryan Cuva 0-2-2, Mar­cus Shel­ton 5-0-11, Lo­gan Scott 1-0-3, Bren­dan Coyle 4-2-10. To­tals: 18-6-48. SARATOGA (49) Char­lie Beck 0-1-1, Ai­dan Holmes 1-7-9, Ai­dan D’Agostino 2-0-5, Mar­cus Davis 3-1-7, Michael Ro­gan 2-0-4, Nate Chudy 3-8-14, Will Fox 3-2-9. To­tals: 14-19-49. Colonie 8 12 15 13 – 48 Saratoga 11 11 6 21 – 49 3-point goals: Colonie – Ay­bar 2, Glover, Satin, Shel­ton, Scott. Saratoga – D’Agostino, Fox.

STAN HUDY [email protected] DIG­I­TAL­FIRST­MEDIA. COM @STANHUDY ON TWIT­TER

Saratoga Springs se­nior Mar­cus Davis (30) looks to keep Colonie ju­nior Tayshawn Glover in check on the de­fen­sive end Tues­day night at home.

STAN HUDY [email protected]­I­TAL­FIRST­MEDIA.COM @STANHUDY ON TWIT­TER

Saratoga Springs ju­nior Ai­dan Holmes wasn’t afraid to bat­tle Colonie’s Dono­van Canty un­der­neath the bas­ket look­ing for a re­bound Tues­day in Sub­ur­ban Coun­cil ac­tion.

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