If the Bethlehem boys basketball team learn how to close out games, the Eagles could become a contender in the Suburban Council.
Bethlehem couldn't hit its free throws down the stretch in a 55-50 loss to Queensbury in last Saturday's consolation game of the Niskayuna Invitational Tournament. The loss dropped the Eagles' record to 0-3, with all three games decided by less than 10 points.
We're getting there, said Bethlehem coach A.G. Irons. "We're playing better every game. We've been in every one."
Bethlehem had a 38-33 lead after three quarters of Saturday's game, but Queensbury (1-1) roared back with a 22-point fourth quarter to pull out the win. Chris Coughlan led the Spartans with 19 points, including a pair of three-pointers and seven free throws.
The Eagles ran into similar problems in last Friday's opening round against Columbia. They led 29-26 at halftime before the Blue Devils (1-2) took command in the second half.
"We thought we could definitely compete over there [at the Niskayuna Tournament]," said Irons. "We had chances to win both games, but we didn't make our free throws at the end."
John Morrill had 15 points, and Ryan Stempsey contributed 13 points for Bethlehem against Columbia. Nick Keefe scored 19 points to lead Columbia, which had four players in double figures.
The slow start hasn't dampened Irons' outlook on the season, especially since he's working with a starting lineup that doesn't have a player under 6 feet, 2 inches tall " something most Suburban Council teams don't have.
"I'm still positive as to the outcome of the season," said Irons. "I think with our size we'll have an advantage."
Bethlehem looked to break into the win column Tuesday against Mohonasen in Rotterdam. The Eagles travel to Colonie Friday.""