Raiders get act together

The way Colonie coach Doug Kilmer sees it, there is a three-tiered hierarchy among the top 10 class AA boys basketball teams in Section II.

The top level is occupied by Big 10 leader Bishop Maginn and Christian Brothers Academy who meet each other Friday in Colonie. The second level is occupied by two Suburban Council division leaders Colonie (blue) and Guilderland (gold) " and Catholic Central from the Big 10. The third level includes Shenendehowa and Bethlehem.

"I think we're probably one of the top five teams, with the top two separating from Nos. 3, 4 and 5," said Kilmer. "I think Guilderland, us and Catholic Central can play with any of those top two teams, but we'd have to play a near-perfect game to beat them."

Colonie (9-2 league, 12-3 overall) has been playing near-perfect basketball as of late. Since a 76-67 loss to Bethlehem Jan. 4, the Garnet Raiders have been on a tear, winning five games in a row. Of those wins, four have been by 18 or more points, and two have been by more than 30 points.

"About four or five weeks ago, we started playing better," said Kilmer. "Post Bethlehem, we've played together a lot more. We've played much better defense, we're sharing the ball better and we're passing the ball a lot more. We're just playing much better basketball."

Those characteristics were on display in Colonie's most recent victory, an 83-51 home win against a Saratoga Springs team that took the Garnet Raiders to double overtime the first time they met Dec. 7. In the first half of Friday's game, Colonie's offense was firing on all cylinders to the tune of 46 points, while Colonie's defense forced Saratoga (2-9, 4-11) into several turnovers and limited the Blue Streaks to 16 total points.

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