The Schalmont boys basketball team found a simple solution to its problem of closing out games -- build a lead that the other team can't come back from.
The Sabres (2-2 league, 2-3 overall) ran out to a 26-point lead early in the third quarter and weathered a Voorheesville rally to defeat the Blackbirds 54-36 in Friday night's Colonial Council game in Voorheesville.
Schalmont used tough defense and strong inside play to take a 32-13 halftime lead. The Sabres forced nine Voorheesville turnovers, and senior forward Nick Reali scored 14 of his game-high 21 points over the first 16 minutes.
\I think we were very active defensively, and we created turnovers or hurried shot [on Voorheesville's part] that led to one-shot opportunities, said Schalmont coach Kevin Curtin.
"We did not have an answer inside for [Reali]," said Voorheesville coach Don Catellier. "Every kid we put on him, he took to the basket."
The Sabres opened the third quarter on a 7-0 run to extend their lead to 39-13 before Voorheesville (0-4) finally got going. The Blackbirds outscored Schalmont 23-9 from midway through the third quarter to the 5-minute mark of the fourth quarter to trim the deficit to 12 points.
"I was extremely happy," said Catellier. "We challenged the kids at halftime, and they responded well. The kids came out and showed some heart in that third quarter."
"They always play hard here," said Curtin. "Don has a young group, and it was only a matter of time before they started hitting some shots."
Schalmont's defense put a stop to Voorheesville's rally, though. Once it got to be 48-36, the Sabres didn't allow another Blackbird point the rest of the night.
Senior guard Anthony Metzold contributed eight points for Schalmont, which was coming off consecutive close league losses to Watervliet and Fonda-Fultonville. Joe Keenan, Kyle Russell and Michael Noland each scored eight points for Voorheesville.
The Sabres don't have much time to rest from Friday's game. They go to Scotia-Glenville Saturday to play the Tartans in the second game of the Foothills-Colonial Challenge.
For video from Friday's Schalmont-Voorheesville game, visit our YouTube channel at