The Shaker boys basketball team is getting closer to winning its first game of the season.
The problem is, the Blue Bison are only close to winning a game. They haven't won yet.
After suffering a one-point loss to Columbia last Tuesday, Shaker found itself on the short end of a 48-45 score against Niskayuna Friday in Latham.
The Blue Bison (0-4 league, 0-6 overall) had several chances to take the lead in the final two minutes, but they never got their shots to drop as the visiting Silver Warriors earned their first Suburban Council victory of the season.
It's very difficult, said Shaker coach Jeff Holmes. "I feel bad for (the players). A couple of bounces here, a couple of shots there, and we could easily be 5-1."
Shaker got off to a good start against Niskayuna, as it took a 13-9 lead in the first quarter. But once the Silver Warriors (1-3, 2-5) turned up their defensive pressure, the Blue Bison started turning the ball over. That helped Niskayuna chip away at Shaker's lead until it pulled ahead in the fourth quarter.
"It wasn't the end of the game that beat us so much as the turnovers, and we couldn't stop them on defense. That's what hurt us," said Holmes.
John Weinheimer kept the Blue Bison in position to take the lead late in the fourth quarter with a pair of driving layups that pulled Shaker within a point each time. But two key free throws from Alex Olbrych with 13 seconds left gave Niskayuna its winning margin.
Shaker still had a chance to tie the game in the final nine seconds, but Niskayuna's defense forced Pat Fallon to take a contested three-pointer at the buzzer that clanged off the rim.
"We didn't really have a play," said Holmes. "We tried to set something up off a screen, but we weren't able to do that in time."