JOHNSTOWN - The Johnstown Sir Bills withstood a fourth-quarter rally and held on to beat the Glens Falls Indians 59-57 Tuesday in a Foothills Council matchup at Johnstown High School.
The win signifies the end of a two-game slide for Johnstown (7-4 overall, 3-4 Foothills), which was their longest losing streak of the season. The Indians (4-7 overall, 2-5 Foothills) have now lost three of their last four games.
Johnstown was able to jump out to an 18-7 lead after one quarter of play thanks in part to the generosity of the visiting Indians.
Johnstown’s Jamal Vazquez, right, and Glens Falls’ Colman Schlift battle for a loose ball during Tuesday’s Foothills Council game at Johnstown High School. (The Leader-Herald/Shaun Anich)
Glens Falls turned the ball over seven times in the first eight minutes, compared to just three turnovers for the Sir Bills. The Sir Bills had seven players register points in the first quarter, led by Ricky Mitchell who had five. Mitchell got the starting nod and responded immediately, draining a triple for Johnstown's first bucket of the game.
Mitchell was an active part of an 8-0 Johnstown scoring burst that ended the quarter. Mitchell drove into traffic and laid one up and in before getting the steal at the other end. Mitchell ran the court and dished off to Alec Hornidge for an easy layup to put Johnstown up by nine.
Glens Falls looked like a different team in the second quarter. The Indians cut their turnovers down, giving the ball away just once in the frame. The extra possessions allowed them to effectively run their offense through 6'6'' big man Alex Wright. Wright scored seven points in the quarter, five of which came from the foul line. Wright would go on to finish with a game-high 21 points and eight rebounds.
After a quick start offensively, Johnstown struggled once the midway point of the quarter hit. Glens Falls ended the half on a 9-2 run that pulled them within three points of the lead.
Austin Riska helped Johnstown extend their lead in the third. The junior scored Johnstown's first six points of the quarter and finished with 14 second-half points.
The Glens Falls offense all but disappeared in the third quarter, but came on strong in the fourth to make a late run at the lead. Joshua Griffen injected life into a listless contingent of Indians fans with an early back-to-back three-pointer and two-point jumper. Jamal Vazquez answered with three of his own, but Caleb Canty knocked one down from long range for the Indians to trim Johnstown's lead to 48-44.
After Riska hit his only three of the game, Glens Falls went on an 8-2 run keyed by Wright down low.
With the Sir Bills clinging to a two-point lead with 14 seconds remaining, Vazquez hit two free throws. Clark Wooley raced down the court and launched a contested turn-around three-pointer that found the bottom of the net to bring Glens Falls within one. After Vazquez knocked down one of two free throws with three seconds remaining, Glens Falls' Dylan Balcom tripped and lost the ball to squash any chance of a Glens Falls miracle.
Riska's big second half helped him finish with a team-high 18 points, while Vazquez chipped in 13.
Johnstown will look to keep their momentum going, but face a tough task their next time out. Johnstown will travel to Scotia to take on the undefeated Tartans Friday at 7:30. The Tartans (11-0 overall, 7-0 Foothills) handed Johnstown their worst loss of the season, 71-24, at Johnstown High School last month, and have defeated their Foothills counterparts by a staggering average of 44 points this season.
Johnstown 59, Glens Falls 57
Glens Falls 7 18 10 22 - 57
Johnstown 18 10 16 15 - 59
Wright 7-7-21, Green 2-4-9, Canty 3-1-8, Balcom 3-1-7, Griffen 2-0-5, Wooley 1-1-4, Gibson 1-0-3. Totals 19-14-57.
Riska 6-5-18, Vazquez 3-5-13, Heroth 2-2-6, Hornidge 2-1-5, Lee 2-0-5, Mitchell 2-0-5, Auty 2-0-4, Caputo 1-1-3. Totals 20-14-59.
3-point goals: Johnstown 5 (Vazquez 2, Mitchell, Lee, Riska); Glens Falls 5 (Green, Gibson, Griffen, Canty, Wooley)