The Bethlehem boys basketball team’s perimeter shooters proved to be too much for Colonie last Friday night in a pivotal Suburban Council showdown at Colonie High School.
The Eagles had the hot hand from beyond the arc, hitting 14 three-pointers on their way to a 76-67 win.
This is a great win for us, said Bethlehem coach A.G. Irons. `We were hot tonight. We hit a lot of threes. It’s something we practice a lot and we run. It’s our game.`
`We played pretty much how we have been playing,` said Colonie coach Doug Kilmer. `There’s times when we look very good on the floor, and then we lose a little focus and effort.`
The Garnet Raiders (4-2 league, 7-3 overall) took an early 6-2 lead after converting on a couple of Bethlehem turnovers. Colonie still had a 9-8 advantage with 3:45 left in the first quarter, but wouldn’t hold the lead again until late in the third quarter.
Back-to-back three-pointers by Connor Muncil (12 points) and Gleason Judd (17 points) helped Bethlehem (4-2, 7-3) build a 17-16 lead after the first quarter. The Eagles then extended their lead to 46-33 at halftime after scoring 29 points in the second quarter behind more perimeter shots from Muncil, Judd and Joe Kane (17 points).
`We’ve got some guys that can shoot, and when they all get hot at the same time, it’s fun to watch,` Irons said.
`Going into the game, we wanted to take their three pointers away, and they only had 10 at halftime. So, we did a great job with that,` Kilmer said.
Colonie came out strong in the third quarter and controlled play, outscoring Bethlehem 23-9. The Garnet Raiders closed the period on a 20-6 run that put them up 56-55 ` a spurt spurred by a three-pointer from Tashan Newsome (14 points) and second-chance shots by Sean Peer and Jim Bacher (20 points). Herb Tedford also chipped in on his way to a 21-point night.
`I thought they really played good defense in the third quarter,` said Irons. `I think we succumbed to the pressure a little bit, but we held on and didn’t let their run go past where we needed to be.`
Bethlehem went back to work in the fourth quarter. Dan Lanchantin started the period off with a three-pointer, and Judd added a three on the next possession to make the score 61-56.
`It’s tough to prepare high school kids,` said Kilmer. `You can tell them that (Kevin) Wendth is going to fly down the floor and pitch it out (to a perimeter shooter), but until it happens, they probably look at you and don’t believe you.`
Wendth (14 points) added a basket midway through the fourth quarter to put Bethlehem up 69-61. The Eagles then added several free throws to seal the win.
`Coach Irons did a great job,` said Kilmer. `His kids play basketball the way you dream to watch them play. They don’t care who scores, and they try to get the best shot for their team. I can’t tell you what a pleasure it is, even though we got beat. To just see a team play that way is just eye opening.`
`Our athleticism and our intensity is really paying off, as far as what we’ve been doing in practice,` said Irons.
Bethlehem returned to action Tuesday when it hosted Suburban Council Gold Division leader Guilderland, while Colonie faced Averill Park.“