The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - SPORTS -

just one too many steps be­fore re­leas­ing the ball more than half court with 00.5 sec­onds left on the clock.

In prac­tice the ball would have re­turned to Saratoga with the time left and the game could have headed to over­time, but Albany High coach Sean Brown ques­tioned the call and made his way across the court to the ref­eree. He then moved to the top of the key at the Saratoga end with his play­ers.

On the floor, with­out call­ing for a time­out and the big­gest in­frac­tion, re­main­ing near his bench dur­ing play, he was as­sessed a tech­ni­cal foul and this time it was se­nior Ai­dan Holmes who was sent to the line for two free throws with the 00.5 sec­onds left on the clock.

He sank both for the 5755 win.

“I mean a lot go­ing on ob­vi­ously. I don’t know ex­actly what hap­pened in tech­ni­cal, who knows?,” Ai­dan Holmes said. “But ev­ery time you get up to the lines, the same mind­set, just knock them down. Just like prac­tice.”

The two im­por­tant shots capped a con­test where, all too sim­i­lar to last sea­son the Blue Streaks built a lead, held it through the third and part of the fourth quar­ter be­fore cre­at­ing an­other nail­bit­ing fin­ish for fans and its coach­ing staff.

“I’m sure that was en­ter­tain­ing watch­ing them hit shot af­ter shot af­ter shot in the fourth quar­ter, but credit to Albany, they made some big shots down the stretch and I ac­tu­ally thought we played pretty com­posed,” Saratoga Springs coach Matt Usher said. “I know we missed some shots down, you know, down the stretch in the fourth quar­ter, but we didn’t turn it over. I thought we made some good de­ci­sions and, we’ll learn from it.

“We hit a free throw at the end to get the win, so yeah, I mean I’m glad he knocked them down,” Usher said. “I’m glad we didn’t have to go to OT be­cause they had some mo­men­tum. I saw some good things tonight, es­pe­cially in the first half get­ting the lead. De­fen­sively, I thought we played re­ally well in stretches, but we need to play 32 min­utes so we’ll, we’ll talk about that to­mor­row.”

On thing that was clear in the Blue Streaks home opener is that this team can score.

Holmes fin­ished with a game-high 21 points with ju­nior Michael Ro­gan drop­ping in 13 with ju­nior Chris­tian Du­fort adding nine, in­clud­ing a key three-pointer late in the third.

“Some of these guys are in new roles this sea­son, they’re play­ing more min­utes, they’re tak­ing big­ger shots,” Usher said. “We’re look­ing to them to, to make plays down the stretch when we need me to bucket or a stop. I think as they get more time and more com­fort­able with those roles,hope­fully they just con­tinue to im­prove on and we can fig­ure out some of the other things, you know, on both sides.”

With the grad­u­a­tion of Saratoga’s big men, Nate Chudy and Will Fox, the Blue Streaks are smaller, but tena­cious..

“I know we don’t have as much size as we did last year, but I think you’ve got some tough, tough, gritty kids that will work hard and buy into to get­ting stops on ev­ery pos­ses­sion,” Usher said. “Hope­fully we can con­tinue to im­prove on de­fense and fig­ure out some of the roles mov­ing for­ward.

Re­turn­ing se­nior leader and last night’s hero at the line, Holmes, con­fi­dence is high for the de­fend­ing Class AA champs.

“We lost, we lost a lot of guys, but you’ve got your guys com­ing right in fill­ing those roles,” Holmes said. “They’re not the same play­ers but they are just com­ing up and do­ing, play­ing their game, just learn­ing how to play to­gether. Ev­ery­one play­ing their own game, do­ing what they do well. I think it’s go­ing to work out.”


Saratoga Springs ju­nior Luke Brit­ton goes up for a shot, de­fended by Albany High’s Rasier Chan­dler in the first half of Wed­nes­day’s Sub­ur­ban Coun­cil tilt at Saratoga Springs High School.

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