Crosstown rivalry spices tournaments

If you're a fan of the Colonie-Shaker boys basketball rivalry, and you're bummed that the crosstown rivals are only scheduled to meet once during the Suburban Council regular season, take heart.

There is a chance you can see them play each other as many as three times.

For the first time in recent memory, Colonie and Shaker will play in each other's non-league tournaments. First, the Blue Bison will head to Colonie for the annual Pep Sand Classic Dec. 5 and 6. Then, the Garnet Raiders return the favor by playing in Shaker's annual Julius Girmindl Tournament, which has been moved from its traditional early-December time frame to the Christmas break (Dec. 29 and 30).

We agreed with each other to be in both tournaments, said Shaker coach Jeff Holmes. "We're looking forward to seeing some good competition."

Colonie and Shaker will be in opposite brackets in both tournaments, meaning that they will only face each other if they both win or both lose their opening-round games. Still, that leaves the potential for three regular-season meetings.

"I guess we could potentially play them three times, but that's not likely to happen," said Colonie coach Doug Kilmer. "Jeff and I probably wouldn't mind playing twice, but I doubt we'll play three times."

That's because the competition at both tournaments should be good. Colonie is bringing in Big 10 teams Albany and Troy to the Pep Sand Classic, while Shaker has invited LaSalle and Mount St. Michael's to the Girmindl Tournament.

"We were originally going to have CBA in the tournament, but they backed out," said Holmes.

Colonie and Shaker will have plenty of tough competition within the Suburban Council this season. Colonie will be in a loaded South Division with the likes of defending league champion Guilderland, Bethlehem and up-and-coming Mohonasen, while Shaker faces off with the likes of Shenendehowa, Saratoga Springs and Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake in the North Division.

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