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Schools of Thought: Size does matter

December 29, 2008
By BILL CAIN, The Leader-Herald

It was both a sign of how good Gloversville's boys might be this year and how essential it is for Fonda-Fultonville to play a strong non-league schedule.

The second game Saturday at the Gloversville Holiday Festival featured the Braves against the host Dragons.

A 56-49 win by the home team moved the Dragons' record to 7-1 on the season. It was the first loss for the 4-1 Braves, who return a strong squad from last season.

For those who don't know the particulars, the Dragons are a Class A team playing in the Foothills Council, where their competition includes two Class B schools, four other Class A schools and a Class AA school. The Braves are a Class B school playing in the Western Athletic Conference North Division against schools smaller than theirs.

Now, Fonda coach Eric Wilson knows the WAC is not an inferior league, and he's quick to point out there are a lot of good teams in the conference.

Also, each time Fonda takes the court in a league game, the Braves have a bullseye on their back and get the best game from their opponent. Just being big doesn't mean an easy road to a conference championship.

Yeah, but conference championships are not the end-all, be-all.

There are these little maroon and white patches.

Glens Falls Civic Center. The sectional championship.

Then, beyond Glens Falls and back again for a chance at a state championship.

As strong as some of the WAC teams are and as hard as they play against Fonda, the WAC cannot prepare the Braves for the postseason as well as playing against schools their size and larger.

Now, WAC teams, don't be jealous. Fonda still loves you, but the Class B teams give the Braves something else they need.

Size matters.

If it didn't, we wouldn't have the classification system we have. Class B teams play other Class B teams in the playoffs for good reason.

That's why Wilson scheduled home-and-home contests with Cobleskill-Richmondville and Broadalbin-Perth, both in Class B. And then the Gloversville Holiday Festival where they drew the Dragons Saturday and will play fellow Class-B school Johnstown today.

Let's talk seeding. These are the things the committee is going to look at when deciding what seed to give FFCS in the sectional tournament.

The Braves have one win over Cobleskill already. A 59-20 rout.

They lost to Gloversville in a game that was ruled by defense. The Dragons stopped Kevin Hanson for a half and the Braves slowed Matt Baldwin for three quarters.

It wasn't a matter of turnovers. Gloversville committed just 10 and Fonda 12. The Dragons just forced the Braves to miss a few times too often.

The experience should benefit both teams. Gloversville beat a team that should be considered one of the top squads in Class B in the section and did it with defense. Fonda gave the Dragons a run for their money and faced defensive sets better than most waiting in the postseason.

The two games with B-P - in Fonda Jan. 20 and in Broadalbin Jan. 27 - would be big resume-builders with the Patriots returning seven seniors from last year's Section II finalist team.

And tonight they get Johnstown.

The Sir Bills haven't had the best start to the season, but they beat Glens Falls and lost to B-P by just four points.

They have shown glimpses of strong play, especially inside. Johnstown's Ian Yost vs. the Braves' Josh Nethaway is going to be fun to watch, especially if the manimal Nethaway can stay out of foul trouble.

Makes me almost wish today wasn't my day off.

More important than the benefit to local basketball fans, though, is the benefit to the Braves.

Tonight they get one more postseason preview.



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