Tartans lock up Foothills crown
SCOTIA Bing, bang, boom.
Just like that, Scotia-Glenville had put together another substantial run, and was headed toward another championship.
“We moved the ball well to start the second half,” Scotia-Glenville senior guard Alex Sausville said after Tuesday night’s 70-47 homecourt win against Gloversville. “We moved it, and hit shots, big shots.”
The Tartans opened the third quarter with 11 unanswered points to pull away from the Dragons in a victory that clinched the Foothills Council title.
A 14-4 run to start the contest put the Tartans ahead for good, but they couldn’t shake their rival until that timely third-quarter burst that included a pair of three-point baskets by Sausville and a putback basket by gutsy Mike Palleschi.
“We talked about the first four minutes of the second half,” said Scotia-Glenville coach Jim Giammattei. “We talked about getting that separation. I think we took the wind out of them.”
Joe Cremo moved a bit closer to the all-time Scotia-Glenville scoring record with 23 points to go with nine rebounds and six assists, Sausville nailed four threes in a 20-point performance and Palleschi collected 10 points, eight rebounds, three blocked shots and two steals on a right ankle he sprained at Monday’s practice.
The junior forward’s putback basket in traffic put the finishing touch on the Tartans’ 11-0 third-quarter spurt as their advantage grew to 52-27.
“A half-hour before the game, I decided I was going to play. I decided, ‘I’ll do what I can on the ankle,’” said Palleschi. “Gloversville is big, and the team needed me to play big. My job was to box out, rebound and maybe add some points.”
Palleschi didn’t start on Scotia-Glenville’s senior night, but certainly made an impact as the Tartans (12-0, 16-0) claimed their second straight league title and third in four seasons, extended their Foothills winning streak to 29 games, and pushed their regular-season win streak to 37 in a row.
“All day, we weren’t sure if Mike was going to play,” said Tartans junior point guard Scott Stopera. “We needed him, and he stepped up.”
So did the rest of the Tartans, at both ends of the court.
“Coach says defense wins championships,” said Cremo, a junior forward. “We did a great job of getting our defense set and getting out on the break. The past few games our defense slipped a bit, but we were on tonight.”
Scotia-Glenville also had its slick passing game working, and totaled 16 assists, including six from Stopera. That ball work led to numerous open looks for the two-time defending Section II Class A champs.
“We moved the ball really well. We played really unselfish,” said Stopera. “It’s so fun to play with these guys.”
Scotia-Glenville connected on its first three trips in the third quarter, with Sausville sandwiching three-pointers around a long ball by Dom LeMorta.
“We wanted to jump out,” said Stopera. “Once the first one went in, it was, ‘Here we go.’ That run was exactly what we needed. It was excellent.”
“We knew they were going to try to come back,” said Palleschi. “Coach told us to let them know there’s no way they’re coming back.”
Scotia-Glenville defeated Gloversville (9-3, 12-4) on Jan. 7, 60-39, when the Dragons were missing several players who had been suspended for violating a team rule.
“You’ll take the win, but you’d rather have a team at full strength when you play them,” said Giammattei. “This one feels a lot better.”
Stopera started Scotia-Glenville’s first-quarter run with a floater and capped it with a three-point hoop. The junior also provided a second-quarter spark when he drew a charging call and nailed a deep three.
“It’s easy to get overshadowed when you’re playing with guys like Joe, Alex, Dom and Mike,” said Giammatei, who saw Stopera score a season-high eight points to go with a pair of steals. “There’s no question he’s our quarterback. Every game he does things that help us.”
Asa Barnhill led Gloversville with 13 points, James Scholl put in nine and Barceem Dukes had eight points and eight rebounds.
Scotia-Glenville came into Tuesday’s game with a No. 2 state Class A rank, and as one of 10 unbeaten teams remaining in New York.
Scholl 3-0-9, Barnhill 6-0-13, Dukes 4-0-8, Goodwin 4-0-8, Arnold 2-0-6, Roy 1-0-3. Totals: 20-0-47.
LeMorta 2-2-7, Sausville 7-2-20, Sayles 0-2-2, Cremo 8-6-23, Palleschi 5-0-10, Stopera 3-0-8. Totals: 25-12-70.
Gloversville 14 13 9 11 — 47
S-G 22 19 17 12 — 70
Three-point goals: Scholl 3, Barnhill, Arnold 2, Roy, LeMorta, Sausville 4, Cremo, Stopera 2.