JOHNSTOWN - A dominating second quarter by the Gloversville Dragons proved to be the difference Friday night against Johnstown.
The Dragons held the Sir Bills to a single basket in the period, while putting up 22 points en route to a 63-49 Foothills Council victory at Johnstown High School to run their early-season record to 4-0.
"I wish we could replay that second quarter," Johnstown coach Matt Guzielek said. "We got outrebounded and they got second, third and fourth opportunities. Offensively, we were undisciplined. We saw a little more pressure than we are used to, which caused us to turn the ball over or take quick shots, which led to their transition and them getting up and down the floor. It was one of those when things aren't going your way they really don't go your way. We had some good looks but just couldn't hit anything in the second quarter."
Gloversville’s Barceem Dukes wrestles the ball away from?Johnstown’s Jon Heroth, left, during Friday’s Foothills?Council boys basketball game at Johnstown High?School. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)
Playing before gym full of raucous fans, the game went into a short delay when one of the referees went down with a leg injury 49-seconds after tip off.
When play resumed, the teams traded baskets until Keyshawn Arnold hit a 3-pointer to give the Dragons some breathing and a 7-4 lead.
The Sir Bills battled back and tied the game at nine on a baseline drive from Austin Riska.
Asa Barnhill made the most of an open look from behind the 3-point arc and hit his first of two first-quarter treys to build Gloversille's lead to 19-13 at the end of the opening period.
Gloversville took the game over in the second quarter with defensive pressure on the Sir Bills to force turnovers, which they capitalized on for 19 unanswered points.
Riska broke the Sir Bills scoring drought with a put back with 56 seconds left in the period, but the Dragons carried a 43-17 halftime lead into the locker room.
"We started off pressing again and gave up some easy opportunities but I wanted to hang in there as long as we could and make some things happen with our press and it didn't," Gloversville coach Mark LeFever said. "So the second quarter we decided to dig in defensively at half court and see if we could get some stops and turn them into transition points. We played extremely well in the second quarter. We knocked down opportunities. It was a great quarter for us but we came out in the third quarter kind of flat and it continued into the fourth quarter."
The Sir Bills made the most of the Gloversville slow down to chip away at the lead.
However, the Dragons continued to dominate on the boards and remained in control with a 56-35 lead heading into the final quarter.
Johnstown again outscored the Dragons in the final period to win the second half 32-20 but it wasn't enough to dig themselves out of the first-half hole as Gloversville closed out the 63-49 win and remain on top in the Foothills Council.
"You have to credit Johnstown, they continued to battle and fight," LeFever said. "Matt did a nice job with his boys tonight. It was kind of disappointing for us to have such a great second quarter and then come out and play even in the third and fourth quarter. They won the second half."
Guzielek was proud of the way his team responded in the second half.
"The best part about this group is their fight," he said. "We keep emphasizing to keep doing things the right way and being disciplined and being there for each other. So it was more about getting stops and executing on offense. In the first half, I don't think we played with enough passion or pride. They got to every single loose ball and outrebounded us big time. We tried to cut it to 10 at the end of the third quarter, it didn't happen, but we kept fighting and made it a game."
Riska led Johnstown with 18 points and five rebounds, while Jamal Vazquez finished with 17 points finished with 17 points.
Barnhill led the Gloversville scorers with 23 points, while Arnold and Barceem Dukes added 13 points apiece and Hunter Goodwin chipped in with 10.
Gloversville outrebounded Johnstown 43-23 for the game. Dukes pulled down 14 rebounds for the Dragons, while Arnold had 11 and Goodwin had nine boards.
Gloversville (4-0 overall, 3-0 Foothills) will put its undefeated record on the line Monday against Averill Park in a non-league game at Gloversville High School starting at 3 p.m.
Gloversville will host its annual Coach Kobuskie Holiday Tournament on Dec. 27, 28 and 29.
Johnstown (3-2 overall, 1-2 Foothills) will play Schoharie in the opening round of the Andy Palmer Classic at Canajoharie High School on Dec. 27 with the championship game on Dec. 28.
Gloversville 63, Johnstown 49
Gloversville21 22 13 7 - 63
Johnstown15 2 18 14 - 49
Scholl 0-1-1, Barnhill 8-4-23, Robinson 0-1-1, McGee 1-0-2, Dukes 5-3-13, Goodwin 5-2-10, Arnold 4-3-13. Totals: 23-12-63.
Goris 1-0-2, Mitchell 1-1-3, Auty 0-1-1, Vazquez 8-0-17, Heroth 2-1-5, Lee 1-1-3, Riska 7-2-18. Totals: 20-6-49.
3-point goals: Gloversville 5 (Barnhill 3, Arnold 2); Johnstown 3 (Riska 2, Vazquez).