Niskayuna emerges from abyss to beat CBA in Suburban Council men’s basketball quarter-finals

A slow step at both ends, struggling to establish an offensive rhythm and unable to make a shot, this is how the Niskayuna boys’ basketball team suffered in their first half on Monday against the Christian Brothers. Academy. The Silver Warriors were fortunate enough to be just 15 points behind in the intermission. Niskayuna’s sophomore coach Mike Grasso didn’t like what he saw and let his team know during intermission.

“It was a challenge for the kids,” said Grasso. “They were playing more physically. They were the first on the ball. We hadn’t done anything and I just challenged them, ‘Are you going to play hard enough? If you do, we can make that return. “I think they answered very well.”

Niskayuna returned to the game thanks to his defensive prowess in the third quarter and junior reserve guard Jack Allen produced a monster performance in the fourth quarter to tie his team back. Outstanding junior Gabe Eldaye converted two free kicks with 4.6 seconds left for Niskayuna’s first lead of the night and the Brothers were unable to convert from midfield to buzzer as the Silver Warriors produced a meteoric victory of 47-45.

“Besides playing in the first half, Niskayuna matched that in the second half,” said CBA coach Dave Doemel.

Niskayuna advances to face seeded Shenendehowa on Wednesday in the semifinals.

“We had to achieve such a victory,” said Grasso. “We had a great one last year in Hudson Valley. This one is really good for the seniors. They put in a lot of work just to have a season and it’s great to see them have a great win over a Really good ABC team. These guys were really resilient in the second half and they really decided we didn’t lose this game. That’s really what it all boiled down to – a mental thing above all. “

Allen, who scored 10 of his 12 points in the fourth quarter, and Eldaye both said Grasso’s halftime message motivated the team.

“He really wanted us to bring energy in the second half. Obviously we were missing a lot in the first half,” Allen said. “He told us we had to toughen up. We didn’t bring him in like we usually do. Niskayuna’s culture is to play defense and get saves. That’s not what we were doing and he told us to play our game and if we did, we could come out on top. “

“We feel really good,” Eldaye said. “We’re on cloud nine right now. It was the worst we played in the first half. The coach said we looked like we were alone there.… We just had to have to. get out of it and make a few saves in the second half. That’s exactly what we did. “

CBA made 12 of 23 shots in the first half, including six 3-pointers, to build up a 30-15 cushion. Niskayuna had just one 3 points and an offensive rebound in the first 16 minutes.

In the second half, Niskayuna’s senior playmaker Kenyon Coleman opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer and the Silver Warriors’ energy levels on both ends of the field amplified.

Niskayuna had 10 of 19 shots in the second half, compared to the Brothers’ 5-for-19 accuracy.

“We struggled in the third quarter there and took some bad shots,” Doemel said. “Once they picked up the momentum they came back into the game. I don’t know if we were tired or what, but we certainly didn’t tackle their shooters like we did at the start. . Offensively, we made some really bad decisions and took some unwanted shots. “

Junior center Ayden Harrison, who topped the Brothers with 11 points, drained a 3 to give CBA a 38-31 lead at the start of the fourth quarter. The Brothers missed their first shot of the fourth quarter and Allen buried a 3-pointer at the end of the shot clock to reduce the Silver Warriors’ deficit to four points.

“Coming out for the fourth quarter, the goal was to bring it down to under seven points and we did it,” said Grasso. “Gabe made some amazing plays, a few good passes and some huge practice. Kenyon was big. I thought Darian (Parker) played big minutes, not just bouncing but defensively fighting guys seven or eight inches tall. more.”

Allen added another 3 points with 51.4 seconds left to tie the score at 45.

“The coach always tells me to keep shooting. I started out hard,” Allen said. “It was nice to bring them in.

“Seeing him play like that I couldn’t be happier for him. It was freezing,” Eldaye said.

Eldaye scored his winning points on the foul line when he came down the lane and was fouled. He finished with seven points, six rebounds and four assists.

Coleman paced Niskayuna with 14 points and combined with senior guard Jaden Giammattei to help limit CBA star Hagen Foley to eight points.

“You have a great player like Hagen at three points in the first half was remarkable,” said Grasso. “It was a team defense, but Jaden and Kenyon really did a great job on an absolutely amazing player.”

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