JOHNSTOWN - Foul trouble caught up with the Johnstown Sir Bills in the fourth quarter of Friday night's Foothills Council boys basketball game.
With Jerry Groom - the Sir Bills' tallest player at 6-foot-5 - was forced to the bench with five fouls, South Glens Falls center Josh Hay was able to take over and combined with teammate Justin Ducey on a 20-point fourth quarter, leading the Bulldogs to 68-58 victory.
"I thought we played really hard," Johnstown coach Scott Hale said. "I'm happy with their effort. It just hurts when our bigs get in foul trouble and they killed us on the offensive boards. I'm playing small. Adam Caputo works his tail off, but when I have him playing center, it's tough with a 6'5" kid, and he got a lot of rebounds and putbacks."
Johnstown’s Jamal Vazquez drives past South Glens Falls’ Justin Ducey during Friday’s Foothills Council boys basketball game at Johnstown High School. (The Leader-Herald/Mike Zummo)
Groom picked up two fouls within the first four minutes and Jon Heroth - Johnstown's second tallest player at 6'2" - had three fouls within the same time frame, sending them both to the bench and forcing shorter players to pick up the slack.
Michael Everest led the Sir Bills with 22 points and freshman Jamal Vazquez scored 14, but it wasn't enough to stop the Bulldogs (3-1 overall, 0-2 Foothills Council).
The Sir Bills (1-3 overall, 0-2 Foothills Council) a one-point lead with 7:27 left in the game, but Adam Caputo fouled Hay as he tried to put back a rebound. Hay completed the three-point play and gave South Glens Falls the lead for good.
"We had five guys crashing the board real hard," Hale said. "When you've got 5'8", 5'8" and 5'7" and your big guy is 5'8" and you're trying to rebound against 6'5" and you're going to struggle. That's where they got a ton of their putbacks. We stopped their first shot but we couldn't end the defensive stand by getting the rebound."
Ducey, who scored five points by hitting two free throws and converting a three-point play expanded the South Glens Falls lead to 60-53 with 4:48 left in the game.
South Glens Falls coach Al Vasak credited Ducey and Hay's inside play as the reason the Bulldogs were able to pull away to a 10-point win.
"I think we'd still be playing if they called all the fouls that were inside," Vasask said. "But that's varsity basketball. You never know what the whistle is going to do."
The whistle took Groom out of the game with 5:18 to go and gave Hay a clearer path to both offensive and defensive rebounds.
"Jerry coming out really hurt us," Hale said. "We came back and Jerry played the whole third quarter. He was fine. Then once he got that foul, you have to sit him and then he gets his fifth foul and he has to come out. That's when the Hay kid really started to take over. We were really hacking on him because we had to poke the ball out to find a way to get a rebound."
The Sir Bills never got closer than seven points and the Bulldogs' Rick Buser and Hay combined for three free throws to end the game.
Hay finished with 16 points and 15 rebounds. Ducey scored 21 points and Buser had 15.
"We play 12-deep," Vasask said. "We got everybody into the game and everybody contributed whether it was a screen, a rebound or a defensive board. That's what we're looking for, a whole team effort."
The Sir Bills will visit neighboring Gloversville on Tuesday night.
"They have to remember, they're still in the infant stage of their varsity career," Hale said. "All of them are four games into their career. There isn't one kid on this team who played significant minutes last year. I see them improving immensely."
South Glens Falls 68, Johnstown 58
South Glens Falls19 18 11 20 - 68
Johnstown21 11 15 11 - 58
South Glens Falls
Fish 0-1-1, Buser 6-3-15, Ramsey 2-3-8, Hay 4-8-16, Ducey 8-4-21, VanDixhorn 3-1-7. Totals: 23-20-68.
Mitchell 1-2-5, Auty 2-0-4, Naish 1-0-2, Caputo 1-0-2, Vazquez 5-0-12, Szurek 1-0-2, Heroth 2-1-5, Groom 2-0-4, Everest 10-0-22. Totals: 25-3-58.
3-point goals: South Glens Falls 2 (Ramsey, Ducey); Johnstown 5 (Mitchell, Vazquez 2, Everest 2).