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Mohon strikes first

The last time Mohonasen met Schalmont on a basketball court with a championship on the line, it was the 2002 girls Section II, Class B title game.

Saturday night, the boys basketball teams from the two Rotterdam schools played each other for the Niskayuna Invitational championship not exactly at the same level as a Sectional final, but coveted nonetheless by two programs trying to make an early-season statement.

For three quarters, the crosstown rivals battled each other before Mohonasen's size wore Schalmont down, which allowed the Mighty Warriors to pull away for a 60-40 victory.

I couldn't be happier for the kids. That meant a lot to them," said Mohonasen coach Ken Dagostino.

"We ran out of gas, and I think Mohonasen did a very good job of wearing us down with Pat Barnes and Cameron Couball," said Schalmont coach Kevin Curtin.

The Sabres led at the end of both the first and second quarters before the Mighty Warriors got their offense in gear. Barnes started hitting his shots from the low post, and Couball added some three-pointers to help Mohonasen take control.

"As much as they struggled to get the ball in to Pat (Barnes), when he got it in his spots, he was able to turn and make his shots," said Curtin.

"The key was they held their composure (in the second half)," said Dagostino.

Couball finished with 17 points, and Barnes contributed 14 points for Mohonasen.

Jack Macejka led Schalmont with 16 points, and Josh Catino added 15 points.

Mohonasen and Schalmont each posted impressive victories in Friday's opening round. Mohonasen knocked off Suburban Council rival Bethlehem 53-42, while Schalmont stunned host school Niskayuna 44-39.

Mohonasen overcame a tour de force by Bethlehem's Kevin Stempsey to win its game. Stempsey scored 20 of his 26 points in the first half to help the Eagles stay close, but the Mighty Warriors limited him and the rest of his Bethlehem teammates to 19 points in the second half to pull away.

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