By MICHAEL KELLY
NISKAYUNA — Junior guard Tommy Kelly was quick to the point about what had done in the Niskayuna boys basketball team Friday night against the visiting Bethlehem Eagles.
“They hit shots,” he said. “We didn’t.”
The Eagles scored a 62-33 Suburban Council victory, as the Silver Warriors suffered through a nightmare of a first half shooting the basketball. Niskayuna did not make a field goal in the first quarter, finally breaking the seal with a short shot from junior forward Connor Detrick several minutes into the second quarter — breaking a 0-of-18 start to the night for the squad.
“It was tough,” Niskayuna senior guard Tim Doyle said of the club’s first-half shooting woes. “But, the coaches, they were giving us positivity, so we were trying not to hang our heads.”
“We got great looks in the first half, but they just didn’t go in,” said Niskayuna head coach Bryan Mattice, whose team shot 1 of 22 in the first half and 6 of 46 for the contest.
Despite the poor shooting, the Silver Warriors (2-3, 2-3) managed to stay competitive with Bethlehem (3-2, 3-2) through much of the first half despite their lackluster offensive showing. Detrick’s field goal was Niskayuna’s only one in the first half, but the Silver Warriors only went into halftime trailing 29-12 after an 8-2 run for Bethlehem ended the second stanza.
Bethlehem head coach A.G. Irons said his squad was fortunate to hold a double-digit lead at the intermission.
“We got lucky that way,” said Irons. “We didn’t exactly light it up, either.”
But the Eagles were able take complete command of the contest in the second half, stretching their lead out to a game-high 31 points late in the fourth quarter.
“We needed a win like this,” Irons said.
Junior forward Luke Dole had 12 points, 12 rebounds and five steals to lead Bethlehem, while Zane Thompson pumped in nine of his game-high 17 points in the second half.
A strong defensive effort from Niskayuna senior guard Patrick O’Brien helped keep senior John Sica, Bethlehem’s top gun, to only eight points in the contest on 3-of-6 shooting.
“Patrick O’Brien, he did a really good job on him,” Kelly said.
Kelly led the Silver Warriors with a dozen points, while senior forward Mitchell Dame added six points and a team-high nine rebounds.
The loss was the third consecutive one for the Silver Warriors, who had opened their season with back-to-back wins. With only five games of the 2014-15 season gone, though, Mattice said his squad is not getting discouraged.
“We have quite a bit of time left for us to fix what we need to fix,” he said.