FONDA - The Cohoes Tigers threw their best punch at the Fonda-Fultonville Braves, hitting seven first-quarter 3-pointers for a quick 23-14 advantage.
However, the Braves took the punch, fought back and put the Tigers on the ropes, holding a three-possession lead with three minutes left in regulation.
The Tigers showed why they are considered the top Class B team in Section II.
Fonda-Fultonville’s Luke Calkins (1) moves the ball upcourt while under pressure from Cohoes’ Max Carey (13) during Wednesday’s Colonial Council game at Fonda-Fultonville High School. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)
Using a high-pressure press to entice turnovers and a pair of 3-point bombs, Cohoes rallied back and escaped with a 63-59 victory over the upset-minded Braves Wednesday night at Fonda-Fultonville High School.
"It is hard because that is a game we should have," Fonda-Fultonville coach Eric Wilson said. "We were up by eight and shooting foul shots. Make one of them and maybe it's a different story. I felt like we took their best blow early on. We scrapped back and took the lead. I thought we did so many things well. To be honest with you, I thought we played great and you need to against a team like that. But you can't let up and make mistakes like we made in the last three minutes."
Cohoes (10-1 overall, 7-0 Colonial Council) came out firing from long-range with Shelton Alston and Jesse Curtin connecting on 3-pointers in the opening two minutes.
The Braves kept pace on jump shots from Mace Madore and Cam Ives and a put-back from Will Turner.
Brandon LaForest hit the lone 2-point field in the opening period before the Tigers hit five-straight 3-pointers to take a 23-14 lead at the end of the quarter.
The Braves fought back in the second quarter, holding Cohoes to six points, while trimming the Tigers' lead to three, 29-26, at the break.
After slipping back slightly at the start of the third quarter, Mace Madore finished off a pass from Ryan Scofield to take the lead, 35-34 with 3:30 left to play in the third period. Turner added another basket to extend the lead to 37-34 before LaForest hit a trey to knot the score at 37 with 2:44 left in the period.
The Braves went on an 8-3 run in the closing minutes to carry a 45-40 advantage into the final eight minutes of play.
Turner added another basket in the opening seconds of the final period to extend the lead to seven, 47-40, before LaForest started firing the Tigers' rally.
Slashing his way into the lane, LaForest often drew fouls, resulting in and-1 situations or two-shot free thows.
Although making it to the line, LaForest only connected on two of six attempts, while the Braves added field goals from Scofield, Turner and Madore and a pair of free throws from Turner to put the lead at six, 55-47 with 2:56 left in regulation.
Playing with a sense of urgency, the Tigers made aggressive moves off their press, forcing turnovers, which they made the most off with Trey Brammer and Curtin delivering from behind the arc to take the lead back 56-55 with 1:40 left on the clock.
Max Carey converted a pair of free throws to extend the Tigers' lead to 58-55 before Turner put back an offensive rebound to cut the lead to one, 58-57 with just over 30 seconds remaining.
Again, the Tigers' smothering defense came through with turnovers, forcing the Braves to foul to get the ball back. However, the Cohoes shooters responded, going 4-for-6 in the final 15 seconds to help secure the 63-59 league victory.
LaForest finished the night with 27 points, 13 of which came in the fourth quarter. Curtin connected for 12 points on four 3-pointers and Brammer had 11 points including three 3-pointers.
"Mace Madore played great, especially in the second half and Ryan Scofield off the bench was phenomenal," Wilson said. "I thought Luke Calkins did a good job handling the pressure for most of the game. We just need to finish games especially in this league. You give them an opening and they take advantage of that."
After being held to six first-half points, Turner finished the night with 18 points, while Madore hit 10 in the second-half to finish with 12 and Zach Valachovic added 10.
"I am so proud of how hard we played for 29 minutes," Wilson said. "We showed everybody here we could play with the best team in Class B. We know how to win we just need to learn how to finish."
Fonda-Fultonville will look to regroup over a nine-day rest period before returning to action Jan. 24 at Watervliet.
Cohoes 63, Fonda-Fultonville 59
Cohoes23 6 11 23 - 63
Fonda-Fultonville14 12 19 14 - 59
Alston 1-0-3, Brammer 3-2-11, Curtin 4-0-12, LaForest 8-8-27, Cioffi 3-0-6, Haynes 1-0-2, Carey 0-2-2. Totals: 20-12-63.
Calkins 2-0-4, Myers 2-0-5, Valachovic 4-0-10, Ives 2-0-4, Madore 6-0-12, Scofield 3-0-6, Turner 7-3-18. Totals: 26-3-59.
3-point goals: Cohoes 11 (Curtin 4, Brammer 3, LaForest 3, Alston); Fonda-Fultonville 4 (Valachovic 2, Myers, Turner).