The Guilderland boys basketball team proved it can win the close games just as easily as it can blow an opponent out.
The Dutchmen completed an undefeated run through the Suburban Council by beating Blue Division champion Colonie 61-56 in the league tournament's Division I final at Albany's Washington Avenue Armory.
We're starting to get used to this, said Guilderland coach Ron Osinski. "The last three games have been like this."
The Dutchmen (14-0 league, 18-2 overall) tried to put Colonie away in the second half. Twice they built double-digit leads before the Garnet Raiders (10-4, 14-5) rallied to get within striking distance. Colonie closed the deficit to three points on a Sean Peer basket with less than 30 seconds left in the fourth quarter, but free throws by Kevin Kost and Andrew Smith sealed Guilderland's win.
"Guilderland is a heck of a team. They have some very good athletes," said Colonie coach Doug Kilmer.
The Garnet Raiders got off to a good start. After Brett Marfurt scored the first two Guilderland points of the night, Colonie went on an 11-0 run highlighted by two Herb Tedford baskets and a three-pointer from Jim Bacher.
Guilderland recovered quickly from Colonie's burst. A three-point play by Jon Terry sparked a 10-0 Dutchmen spurt that Marfurt capped with a pull-up three-pointer to give Guilderland a 12-11 lead late in the first quarter.
Marfurt's basket began a series of lead changes that lasted through the rest of the first half. Colonie and Guilderland exchanged the lead nine times in the second quarter alone " the last change coming when Marfurt hit another three-pointer less than 10 seconds before halftime, which put the Dutchmen ahead 28-26.
"I think it was a big basket because it gave us a two-point lead at halftime and got the momentum back in our favor," said Marfurt, who finished with a game-high 24 points.