GLOVERSVILLE - The highly-anticipated showdown for the top spot in the Foothills Council standings between Scotia-Glenville and Gloversville Tuesday night lost some of its luster earlier in the day.
Six Gloversville players, including three starters, were suspended for off-court violations of team rules and were ineligible for Tuesday's Foothills contest.
Despite a valiant effort by a depleted Gloversville line up that included three junior varsity call-ups, Gloversville suffered its first league loss of the season, 60-39 to the undefeated and state-ranked Tartans.
Scotia-Glenville’s Dom LeMorta (32) battles Gloversville’s Barceem Dukes (11) and Ryan Roy (44) for a rebound during Tuesday’s Foothills Council game at Gloversville High School. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)
"It had to be done," Gloversville coach Mark LeFever said. "The boys we put on the floor competed at a pretty high level tonight. I was pleased but obviously disappointed. Hopefully, we will become a better team but I don't think many people gave us much of a chance today knowing that three starters were out."
With Asa Barnhill and Barceem Dukes the only regular starters on the floor, the Dragons slowed the pace down from their normal up-tempo game.
With Barnhill running the point, all five starters in the make-shift line up - Barnhill, Dukes, Quantel McGee, Ryan Roy and Jacquez Nails - scored in the opening period. Roy hit a pair of 3-pointers and Dukes powered up in the low post for six points to tie the score at 16 apiece at the end of the opening period.
The Tartans picked up the tempo a bit in the second quarter with Joe Cremo hitting for seven of his 11 first-half points to give Scotia a 30-22 edge heading into the locker room at the break.
"We got together after school and made some modifications to what we were going to do tonight," LeFever said. "Our plan, based on our personnel, was to slow it down and look for some good shots and defensively we decided to play a little 2-3 zone. Early on, I thought Ryan Roy knocked down some big threes for us. Bar [Dukes] got some good touches inside and finished. Jack Nails also did some nice things for us."
The Tartans took control of the game in the third quarter, turning defensive stops into points, outscoring the Dragons 20-8 in the period to extend their advantage to 50-30 heading into the final stanza.
Scotia maintained its advantage throughout the final eight minutes to lock up the 60-39 victory and take sole possession of first place in the Foothills Council standings.
"There was a stretch in the third quarter where we had like five or six turnovers in a row and it resulted in points on the other end," LeFever said. "Now a 10-point game is 20 and once it got to that point it was tough to make up ground."
Dukes finished the game with a double-double of 13 points and 12 rebounds, while Barnhill added 12 points and six rebounds.
"All the kids who came in did some nice things for us," LeFever said. "It gave us some spark, but the leadership of Bar and Asa was crucial tonight. I think those two guys allowed us to be in the position we were throughout the game."
Cremo led the Tartans with 27 points and four rebounds, while Alex Sausville had 15 points and Dom LeMorta added 10 points and five rebounds.
Gloversville (7-2 overall, 4-1 Foothills) will get four of its players [Keyshawn Arnold, Hunter Goodwin, John Robinson and Salim Alikhan] back in the lineup, but will be without James Scholl and Mike Henley when they hit the road for league games at Hudson Falls on Friday followed by South Glens Falls on Tuesday.
Scotia-Glenville 60, Gloversville 39
Scotia-Glenville16 14 20 10 - 60
Gloversville16 6 8 9 - 39
Stopera 1-1-4, Palleschi 2-0-4, Sausville 6-1-15, Cremo 12-2-27, LeMorta 3-2-10. Totals: 24-6-60.
Barnhill 4-3-12, McGee 1-0-3, Dukes 6-1-13, Nails 1-0-2, Roy 3-0-9. Totals: 15-4-39.
3-point goals: Scotia-Glenville 6 (Sausville 2, LeMorta 2, Cremo, Stopera); Gloversville 5 (Roy 3, Barnhill, McGee).