FONDA - For the opening game of the season, the crowd in the Fonda-Fultonville High School gymnasium was in playoff form for the nightcap in Friday night's Colonial-Foothills Challenge boys basketball game between the Braves and the Johnstown Sir Bills.
The Braves' fans, however, had the last word as three-second quarter 3-pointers and 20 points from Will Turner lifted Fonda-Fultonville to a 52-41 win over the Sir Bills.
The Broadalbin-Perth Patriots pounded the Cobleskill-Richmondville Bulldogs, 66-18, in the first game and will face the Braves tonight to finish the event at 7:30 p.m. Johnstown will face the Bulldogs at 6 p.m.
Fonda-Fultonville’s Will Turner shoots over Johnstown’s Jon Heroth as Michael Everest (34) looks on during Friday’s non-league game at Fonda-Fultonville High School in Fonda. (The Leader-Herald/Mike Zummo)
"It's the loudest it's ever been in the last three years," Turner said. "People were screaming right next to me and I couldn't even hear them. It was nuts."
The Sir Bills went on a 7-0 run in the second quarter to open up an 18-11 lead with 4:37 to go in the second quarter, but couldn't hold the Braves off late in the quarter.
"We were in a tough situation in the second quarter," Johnstown coach Scott Hale said. "We had a couple of guys in foul trouble and sitting on the bench. It's hard to match up with the Turner kid. We've got Adam Caputo, the kid's got a heart bigger than anybody on the court, but he doesn't match up with a 6-foot-7 kid."
But it wasn't Turner, but Russ Williams who gave the Braves a spark with two 3-pointers. The first cut the Sir Bills' lead to two points, 18-16, with 2:41 to go in the quarter. Then with 1:25 remaining Williams sunk another trey to tie the game, 22-22.
"It was a big lift," Fonda-Fultonville coach Eric Wilson said. "It really fired the guys up and got the crowd into it. Russ Williams is such a competitor. He just competes. All the guys are coachable and compete, but those were big shots by Russ. Getting into the game, stepping up and knocking down a couple 3s like that. That was huge."
The Braves also were on the receiving end of some good fortune as the seconds ticked down on the second quarter as Ryan Derby heaved a desperation 3-point shot at the buzzer than fell in, giving the Braves a 29-23 at the break.
"It was so loud in there," Wilson said. "We were trying to help him out with the clock. I'm screaming and losing my voice trying to get their attention. By the time I got Derbs, it was too late. He put one up there and we were fortunate for it to go in."
Then Turner got going.
After Johnstown's Jonathan Heroth scored on a jumper to cut the Braves' lead to four points, Turner converted two straight three-point plays in the paint to open a 10-point lead.
"In the first half, I wasn't aggressive enough," Turner said. "It shouldn't have stayed that close. I take full responsibility for that. In the third quarter, I knew I had to take over because they had nobody who could match up with me."
Turner scored 10 of the Braves' 15 third-quarter points as they took a 44-31 lead into the fourth quarter.
"He's a good player," Wilson said. "Sometimes I think he doesn't know how good he is. I think as we get going in the season, he needs to realize that for us to be successful."
The Sir Bills (0-1) closed the game to within seven points late in the fourth quarter, but the Braves pulled away with a driving basket by Zac Nowak and two foul shots by Derby.
"They're disappointed because they lost, but I think they realize our ultimate goal is to be better in February," Hale said. "If we do that and they work as hard as they did tonight, it's going to happen."
Broadalbin-Perth 66, Cobleskill 18
The crowd wasn't nearly as raucous for the opening game, which was decided in the first quarter as the Patriots held the Bulldogs scoreless for the first eight minutes while running up 21 points of their own in the quarter.
"I was happy with the way we executed," Broadalbin-Perth coach Tucker Gifford said. "We came out. We had a game plan and we followed through with it on both ends of the floor."
After a turnover to open the game, Preston Taylor and Andre Taylor each knocked down a 3-pointer to get the offense started. However, it was the defense that fed the offense, forcing the Bulldogs (0-1 overall) into eight turnovers in the first quarter.
"Our defense is going to lead to our offense for the rest of the year," Gifford said. "If we can block down and play well and get some pressure on them, it's going to create some opportunities for us."
The Bulldogs got their first point of the game on a free throw by Cobleskill-Richmondville's Billy Romain 15 seconds into the second quarter and their first field goal - a layup by Brad Koeberle with 3:46 to go in the second quarter.
Koeberle converted a three-point play to cut the Patriots' lead to 26-4.
"In my years of coaching, I don't think I've ever done that and I don't know if I ever will again, but we came out focused right away and that's what I was hoping for," Gifford said.
Andre Taylor led the Patriots (1-0 overall) with 14 points and Koeberle scored eight to lead the Bulldogs.
Broadalbin-Perth 66, Cobleskill-Richmondville 18
Broadalbin-Perth21 17 13 15 -66
Cobleskill-Richmondville0 6 4 8 - 18
P. Taylor 3-2-10, A. Taylor 5-2-14, Bellandi 3-0-6, Natoli 2-1-5, Sylvia 4-1-9, Magliocca 2-0-4, Schmidtmann 2-5-9, Bochenek 4-1-9. Totals: 25-12-66.
Romain 2-1-5, Koeberle 3-2-8, Himme 1-0-2, Van Valkenburg 1-1-3. Totals: 7-4-18.
3-point goals: Broadalbin-Perth 4 (P. Taylor 2, A. Taylor 2).
Fonda-Fultonville 52, Johnstown 41
Johnstown9 14 8 10 - 41
Fonda-Fultonville9 20 15 8 - 52
Everest 3-3-9, Vazquez 3-0-7, Mitchell 1-2-4, Groom 3-1-8, Caputo 1-1-3, Heroth 3-0-6, Auty 2-0-4. Totals: 17-7-41.
Sammons 0-1-1, Turner 7-5-20, Nowak 4-1-9, Williams 2-0-6, Ives 2-0-4, Derby 3-3-9, Madore 1-1-3. Totals: 18-11-52.
3-point goals: Johnstown 2 (Vazquez, Groom); Fonda-Fultonville 4 (Turner, Williams 2, Derby).