Friday, January 22, 2010

Keegan a fourth quarter warrior for Averill Park; news and notes

Averill Park senior center Kyle Keegan elevates for a shot over Shaker's Ben Capeless during Friday's Suburban Council game at Shaker High School. Keegan scored 12 points and added 14 rebounds, leading Averill Park to the 45-42 victory. (Photos by J.S. Carras - The Record).

Keegan scored 10 of his points and grabbed eight of his rebounds in the fourth quarter, coming up big in crunchtime for the Warriors. He also made all four free throws he attempted in the final stanza.

"When the chips are down, somebody has to step up and I figured, why not me?" Keegan said.

Shaker's Casey Hall dribbles past Averill Park's Zach Everett during Friday's game.

It was a baffling beginning for the Warriors, who did not score for the first five minutes and change of the first quarter. They rallied, however, for a 9-0 run to close out the period.

And in the second quarter, Shaker held the Warriors scoreless for a long stretch again, this time for the first 5:55. But a late lay-in from Kevin Rocco put the Warriors ahead by a single point heading into halftime.

Averill Park put together a 10-0 run midway through the third quarter and never looked back, as Keegan kept the Warriors in control in the final period.

"Kyle did well tonight," said Averill Park head coach Dave Pugliese. "He altered a lot of shots. He’s a great kid. He works really, really hard and I like to see him succeed. He gives great effort and he’s always there when we need him."

Shaker's Drew Lasky chases down a loose ball during Friday's game. There were plenty of rebound opportunities in this one, as both teams were cold-shooting from the opening tip.

With the victory - Averill Park's seventh over Class AA opponents this season - the Warriors took a one-game lead in the Suburban Council South Division, as South Colonie fell to Saratoga Springs and is now one game behind in the win column.

4-18 a season ago, the Warriors changed their attitude in the offseason, adapting to a selfless, pass-first type of team that waits for a good shot to develop. While the team didn't play that way early in Friday's game at Shaker, they've already doubled last season's win total. They'll be a factor in the Section II Class A postseason, no doubt.

"I think a lot of it is that we’re still growing," Pugliese said. "Like I said, we struggled last year for a reason. I think the first five minutes, not to take anything away from them, they played great defense, but we went back to taking bad shots and got frustrated. We tried to get ours instead of trying to execute and doing the stuff we do in practice."

For more on the Averill Park boys, check out Saturday's edition of The Record.

It was a busy night Friday, and here are some of the top stories from around Section II.

The Lasningburgh boys topped Voorheesville in the Heldebergs thanks to a two-headed performance from Tyler Hammett and Sajae Pryor. The Knights now hold a one-game advantage in the win column over Voorheesville and Watervliet in the Colonial and they're on track for a second consecutive regular season title. For more on this story, read Ryan Kircher's account in Saturday's edition of The Record.

The Lansingburgh girls continued their hot streak in the Cololnial Council with an overtime victory over Voorheesville, jumping into a crowded race for second place behind Holy Names. The Knights are now 8-5 overall.

The Waterford boys defeated one of the top teams in the CHVL for the second time in three days, beating Heatly Friday night. Matt Berthiaume scored 23 points and added 15 rebounds, while Derrick Marchione added 17 points and seven rebounds for the surging Fordians (4-5, 5-8). Scott Averill added eight points and eight assists.
The Fordians had defeated New Lebanon Wednesday night when the Tigers were tied for first with Heatly.

At Loudonville Christian, Cullen Overholt topped the 1,000-point mark in a CHVL boys basketball victory over Berlin.

In the Big 10 Conference, the Albany High girls and the Christian Brothers Academy team remained undefeated atop their respective set of standings. La Salle, however, gave the Brothers a real test in the area's ultimate rivalry game, sticking within six points at the end.

In Suburban Council girls action, Shaker kept it close against Averill Park in the first half, but the Warriors used a 23-0 outburst in the third quarter to pull away for the big victory.

And in the battle for first place in Wasaren League, the Greenwich girls beat Hossic Valley at home for the second season in a row. The Witches scored 51 points on the Hoosic Valley defense, perhaps signaling a new era at the top of the Wasaren League standings.

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