Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Two Area Basketball Teams Rebounding for Sectionals

There are times things happen in basketball that numbers simply can't explain.  We have seen a few instances this year like Saratoga Catholic's 47 point blow-out of Fort Plain and Schenectady's recent collapse.  Neither of these could have been predicted by the previous games they had played leading up to the events.  There are two teams in particular that have overcome similar events, the Mekeel Christian Academy boys and Colonie girls basketball teams.  Both teams lost two games within the opening weeks of the season and neither have lost since.

For Mekeel Christian Academy, it was their first two games of the season.  The first was a one point loss to cross-division WAC opponent Mayfield, the second a two point loss to the Colonial Council's Mechanicville.  Both teams are currently 6-5 and both have been extremely competitive in their losses.  Mekeel Christian Academy managed just 77 combined points in those two games.  It was not the impressive start we are accustomed to seeing from this team.  They followed that up with 75 points in a five point win over WAC rival Berne-Knox almost matching their previous two game totals.  They entered the fourth quarter of that game trailing by two.  To date, that fourth quarter was the turning point of their season.  They scored 27 to Berne-Knox's 20.  Since that point their trio of Caleb Stewart (20.6 ppg), Spencer Bath (13.7 ppg) and Courtney Penson  (11.4 ppg) have helped deliver wins averaging 32 points over their last six in-section games including a 39 point drubbing of Schoharie, the team that authored Berne-Knox's only other in-section loss.  

After tonight's rematch 7 point win over Berne-Knox they face two more tests before sectionals.  Next Wednesday they'll have the opportunity to avenge their season opening loss to Mayfield and on February 2nd they match-up with Gloversville from the Foothills.  Regardless of how their regular season ends, they have completely turned their season around from the brink of an 0-3 start, changing a difficult climb to the top of the WAC South into a cake walk.  Anything can happen come Sectionals, but the Mekeel Christian Academy boys' basketball team is making a run for a prime position come mid-February.

The Colonie girls basketball team started their Class AA Championship title defense with a 1-2 record.  After defeating Mohonasen, they lost two games to Averill Park by 3 points and to Bethlehem by 2 points.  Neither of these losses were unforgivable, Averill Park owns a 8-3 record while Bethlehem is 11-0, but the caliber of team Colonie puts on the court night in and night out it was certainly shocking to see these losses back to back.  Led by their own big 3, Sydnie Rosales (15.1 ppg), Jaclyn Welch (13.3 ppg) and Nicole Riddick (10.4 ppg) they have rebounded to win their last 8 games by an average of 20.1 points.  

Colonie still faces a long road to winning the Suburban Council with rematches against Averill Park and Bethlehem and a cross division game against 11-0 Shaker.  If they can maintain their momentum, and with a little luck, they can shake off the memory of their disappointing one bucket early season losses and be set up for another deep run into March.

The heart of a champion is not shown or earned in blow-out victories night after night.  Contenders earn that title by showing what they can do after they've been knocked down.  Neither of these teams are exactly where they wanted to be at this point in the season, but they have shown that giving in when things get tough is not what they are about.  In Sectionals, your record and scores are what they are.  The numbers can't tell you who wants it more.  They may not win when it's all said and done, but they aren't going down without a fight, and a fight is what they are about to get.

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