Balanced Eagles prevail

Without two of its top players, the Bethlehem boys basketball team survived a physical battle with Mohonasen to defeat the Mighty Warriors 61-48 on Senior Night Friday at Bethlehem.

The Eagles (8-3 league, 11-4 overall) didn't have Dan Lanchantin or leading scorer Joe Kane for their Suburban Council showdown with red-hot Mohonasen, which rode an eight-game winning streak into the game. Lanchantin is out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL, while Kane was benched for the game.

Bethlehem coach A.G. Irons said he kept his team focused on playing Mohonasen by not mentioning Kane's name until after the game.

The whole week, we've just been focused on the game, said Irons.

Without Kane and Lanchantin, Bethlehem turned to several players to lead the offense. Junior forwards Matt Branigan and Ryan Prinzo each scored 14 points, with most of Prinzo's points coming in the second quarter. Senior center John Drazan also netted 14 points, most of which came during the fourth quarter.

Meanwhile, Mohonasen (6-5, 9-6) struggled to get its offense going. Jordan Macejka and Anthony Robustiano each scored 11 points, but leading scorer Cameron Couball was limited to eight points before fouling out midway through the fourth quarter.

"I don't know what we spent a week preparing for," said Mohonasen coach Ken Dagostino.

The game featured a series of runs. Bethlehem jumped out to a seven point lead in the first quarter, but a series of fouls allowed Mohonasen to creep back from the free throw line. Ten of the Mighty Warriors' first 14 points came from the foul line, which helped them tie the game at 14 early in the second quarter.

Bethlehem went on another run after that to build a 30-22 halftime lead, but Mohonasen wouldn't go away. The Mighty Warriors rallied in the third quarter to pull within three points at 43-40.

Eventually, Bethlehem's inside game became too much for Mohonasen to handle. Drazan and Branigan each hit clutch shots during a 13-0 fourth quarter run that gave the Eagles a 56-40 lead.

Bethlehem looked to keep its momentum going when it traveled to Shaker Tuesday, while Mohonasen looked to regain its momentum when it hosted Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake.""

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