The Colonie boys basketball team picked the right year to rebuild.
Despite only having one player with significant varsity playing experience in the lineup, the Garnet Raiders have won four of their first five games and are on the hunt for the Suburban Council South Division title.
We don't have enough guys who can score the ball. We don't have a lot of experience, said Colonie coach Doug Kilmer. "So, to start off the way we have is phenomenal."
The Garnet Raiders' latest victory " a 55-51 win over Niskayuna last Friday " illustrated how they've been able to get off to a quick start this season. While no one other than veteran forward Mike Branche (21 points) reached double figures, several players contributed points to help Colonie build a double-digit lead on the Silver Warriors before Niskayuna (2-2 league, 3-3 overall) hit a pair of late three-pointers.
"Even though we only won by four [points], we played very well," said Kilmer. "We didn't hit our free throws down the stretch, which would have made the score a little bit bigger."
Both teams played well in the first quarter before Colonie took command by outscoring Niskayuna 14-6 in the second quarter to grab a 29-20 halftime lead. The Garnet Raiders maintained a comfortable distance from the Silver Warriors through much of the second half.
"We had two good quarters in the first half," said Kilmer. "We moved the ball around and got good shots, and we played very well defensively."
That type of play has been Colonie's trademark through the first five games. The Garnet Raiders allowed fewer than 50 points per game in winning their first three Suburban Council contests and limited league-leading Shenendehowa to 50 points in their lone loss last Tuesday.
"It's a combination of two things," Kilmer said of his team's 4-1 start. "It's a coachable group of kids who don't care who scores. They have no egos, and they don't want to take [sole] credit. The other thing is that the Suburban Council is not a high-scoring league this year, with the exception of Shen."