Life without Kyle Bayly in the lineup hasn't been easy for the Niskayuna boys basketball team, but it has been getting better.
Playing without their senior guard for the fifth straight game, the Silver Warriors used their defense and their size to defeat Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake 48-39 in Tuesday's Suburban Council North Division contest.
Senior forward Peyton Houghtaling scored 20 points and pulled down several rebounds to help Niskayuna (2-1 league, 2-3 overall) move above .500 in the Suburban Council.
\I think they've responded well, said Niskayuna coach Mike Black. "I think they know the only way we can compete without [Bayly's] offensive skills is to play good defense and let our forwards do the work."
BH-BL (1-2, 1-2) led 23-20 at halftime thanks to its defense. The Spartans forced 10 Niskayuna turnovers, which led to several layups at the other end.
Once the Silver Warriors stopped turning the ball over, though, the Spartans lost their spark. Niskayuna scored the final six points of the third quarter to take a 36-30 lead, and it never looked back.
"I think we did a really good job of rebounding the ball and limiting them to one shot, but what made the difference in the second half was we limited our turnovers," said Black.
Not that BH-BL didn't take quality shots in the second half. The Spartans had numerous open looks at the basket, but they couldn't convert their shots.
"We did have some looks, [but] their size definitely gave us some problems," said BH-BL coach George Dudas.
A.J. Akpanikat contributed 10 points for Niskayuna, which travels to Averill Park Friday for its first cross-divisional Suburban Council game.
"Averill Park is well coached, and it's always tough going anywhere in the Suburban Council and getting a win," said Black. "Hopefully, we can build some confidence off of this win."
Jayson Sullivan netted 12 points for BH-BL, which visits Mohonasen Friday.
"They have five guys who can shoot the ball well," said Dudas.
For video from Tuesday's Burnt Hills-Niskayuna game, visit our new YouTube channel at