The Mohonasen boys basketball team found itself in unusual territory as it began the second half of the Suburban Council season Tuesday against Shaker.
The Mighty Warriors (7-1 league, 9-3 overall) were in first place in the highly-competitive South Division, one game ahead of Colonie and Guilderland.
For a program that hasn't had a lot of success since joining the Suburban Council, the start marked a milestone.
I think it's bigger in the building process of the program, said Mohonasen coach Ken Dagostino. "It sets a nice example for the younger guys. You have to be ready to play at Mohonasen, now. You can't just show up in November and play. You have to work hard in the off-season."
The secret to Mohonasen's success is its high-energy guard play. Robert Tedesco, Anthony Robustiano and Nick Battaglia set the tone for the Mighty Warriors with their ball-handling skills, their athleticism and their relentless drive.
"With those guards, they go all out for 32 minutes. They get after it," said Dagostino. "They play like they're 6-1, 6-2 and 6-5 instead of 5-10, 5-10 and 5-11."
The guards came up big for the Mighty Warriors in their most recent game, a 52-47 overtime victory over Columbia last Friday in Rotterdam. With the Blue Devils (3-5, 7-5) focusing their attention on stopping forward Jordan Macejka, Robustiano took over for Mohonasen by scoring 21 points including three three-pointers. Battaglia and Tedesco each contributed eight points and helped limit Columbia's leading scorer, Steven King, to eight points.
"We just kind of focused on stopping (King)," said Dagostino. "We have three guys who can match up well with them."
Taking King out of the equation didn't have the effect Mohonasen was hoping for, though. Columbia stayed with the Mighty Warriors through regulation before finally succumbing in overtime.