BROADALBIN - When the Broadalbin-Perth and Johnstown boys basketball teams last met Jan. 8, the Patriots cruised to a 64-34 win at Johnstown.
Though the end result was the same Monday, getting there was much tougher for B-P, which posted a 44-40 win over the Sir Bills at Broadalbin-Perth High School.
"I think that was a pretty ugly game. It was ugly all the way around," Broadalbin-Perth coach Tucker Gifford said. "We came out flat, but it was a ballgame. I give credit to Johnstown, they were ready to play."
Broadalbin-Perth’s Andre Taylor (3) goes up for a shot as Johnstown’s Jon Heroth defends during Monday’s Foothills Council game at Broadalbin-Perth High School. (The Leader-Herald/Paul Wager)
Unlike the first meeting, the Sir Bills hung around until the final moments Monday, remaining within striking distance until Mark Sylvia sank one of two free throws with 5.9 seconds to play to seal the win for the Patriots.
"Mark hit a crucial shot to take the interestingness out of the game," Gifford said. "That was a big one."
Sylvia's free throw was one of just seven made in the quarter by the Patriots, who were 7-for-14 from the line in the final quarter and just 10 of 26 for the game.
"It's been a weakness all year, and we've spent hour after hour on it," Gifford said. "You can't put yourself in that situation where you're not making foul shots. That's how you close out games. We could've made it a lot easier on ourselves."
Instead, B-P had to find a way to grind out a win over the Sir Bills, who hung around despite scoring just 40 points in the game.
"We need to find an easier way to score points," Johnstown coach Scott Hale said. "You're not going to win many games scoring 40 points in a high school boys basketball game."
The Sir Bills started well enough on offense, connecting on their first shot of the game - a 3-pointer by Ricky Mitchell to grab a 3-0 lead.
From there, Johnstown mustered just two field goals over the final 7:35 of the first quarter to trail 12-8 after eight minutes of play.
Andre Taylor scored eight of his game-high 12 points in the opening frame for the Patriots.
The Sir Bills bounced back to take a 20-18 lead into the half, outscoring B-P 12-6 in the second quarter.
Johnstown got 3-pointers from Cody Naish, Michael Everest and Jerry Groom in the second quarter to take the lead.
Preston Taylor scored four of his 10 points in the second for the Patriots.
After the break, the Patriots surged out of the locker room with a 10-0 flurry to grab a 28-20 lead.
"We were fired up after halftime," Gifford said. "They responded to my passionate speech. We came out playing the way we should've to start the game."
Ben Bellandi and Preston Taylor each scored three points during the surge for B-P.
"We talked about how important the first four minutes of the second half," Hale said. "They pressed us a little, we had a couple of bad turnovers, and that led to their momentum."
Johnstown fell behind by as many as nine points in the quarter before rallying to trail 35-29 heading into the fourth quarter.
The Sir Bills quickly closed to within a point in the first three minutes of the fourth quarter using a 5-0 start to make it 35-34.
"They hit big shots to keep it close," Gifford said.
B-P's struggles at the line kept the Sir Bills in the game until the end as the Patriots were unable to extend their lead beyond four despite 14 trips to the free-throw line.
"I want the kids to be competitive and get better," Hale said. "I truly think we're getting better. If you look the Broadalbin-Perth and Gloversville games, the first time, they weren't even games. This time, we gave them both a battle."
Jamal Vazquez finished with eight points to lead the Sir Bills, while Everest added seven points for Johnstown.
Broadalbin-Perth (6-10 overall, 4-8 Foothills) will host South Glens Falls on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. before ending its Foothills Council schedule Monday at home against Hudson Falls.
"These games are huge for us," he said. "Sitting at 6-10 overall, we need to win two more. Two more makes a big difference come seeding time. We've got to play better to close out these games. You've got to do yourself a favor."
Johnstown (2-14 overall, 1-11 Foothills) will travel to Queensbury on Thursday for a 7:30 p.m. contest.
Broadalbin-Perth 44, Johnstown 40
Johnstown8 12 9 11 - 40
Broadalbin-Perth12 6 17 9 - 44
Mitchell 1-1-4, Auty 0-6-6, Naish 1-0-3, Caputo 2-0-4, Vazquez 3-0-8, Groom 1-0-3, Everest 3-0-7, Riska 1-1-3. Totals 13-8-40.
Bellandi 0-5-5, Bochenek 1-0-3, Natoli 1-1-3, Newfrock 3-0-6, Sylvia 1-1-3, A. Taylor 4-2-12, P. Taylor 4-1-10. Totals 15-10-44.
3-point goals: Johnstown 6 (Vazquez 2, Naish, Mitchell, Groom, Everest); Broadalbin-Perth 4 (A. Taylor 2, Bochenek, P. Taylor).