The Niskayuna boys basketball team earned its first win of the season the hard way.
Josh Powers made two critical free throws with less than 40 seconds left in the fourth quarter to help Niskayuna hold on for a 55-53 victory over Bethlehem in Saturday's consolation game at the Niskayuna Invitational Tournament.
I'm really proud of them, said Niskayuna coach Mike Black. "They did a really good job of playing as a team. The ball was consistently moving around to the open guy."
The Silver Warriors led 50-36 late in the third quarter before the Eagles (0-4) went on a 17-2 run to close the gap to 52-51. Following Powers' two free throws, Kevin Wendth drove for a layup with 10 seconds left to get Bethlehem back within a point, but Aaron Wyngowski added a free throw with 4.8 seconds left to create the final margin of victory.
"We were just fortunate to make enough plays at the end to hold on," said Black.
Niskayuna (1-2) pulled out to a 10-3 lead in the first quarter before Will Baynes heated up from behind the three-point arc. The senior guard drained a pair of threes to get Bethlehem within a point.
The game stayed close until the final four minutes of the second quarter, when Niskayuna pulled away to a 33-26 lead. The Silver Warriors' momentum carried into the first six minutes of the third quarter as they went on a 17-10 run to build a double-digit advantage.
Wendth wouldn't allow Bethlehem to go away quietly, though. The senior forward scored nine of his game-high 15 points in the fourth quarter, including a three-point play with 2:12 left that cut Niskayuna's lead to 52-50.
Baynes contributed 14 points for Bethlehem, most of which came courtesy of four first-half three-pointers. Riley McGraw added seven points off the bench for the Eagles.