The Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake boys basketball team may have gotten a late start on its season, but the Spartans are running at full throttle now.
BH-BL (10-11) outscored top-seeded Lansingburgh 11-5 in overtime to pull out a 55-49 victory in Sunday's Section II Class A championship game at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
Not bad for a team that had to wait until the end of November to get all of its players on the court because of BH-BL's run to the state finals in football.
They went out there and believed [they could win], said BH-BL coach George Dudas. "They got some critical [defensive] stops, and then they hit some critical shots at the other end."
The key for the Spartans was getting Lansingburgh (17-4) to play at a slower tempo than the Knights were used to. BH-BL consistently got back quickly on defense to prevent Lansingburgh from having too many fast break opportunities, and the Spartans defended the Knights' perimeter shooters well.
"We kept switching up defenses. That was one of the main things we did to keep them off balance," said Dudas. "The other thing we did is weathered their storm. They came out strong in the first quarter, but once we settled down, we were able to dictate the tempo."
Still, there was the matter of handling Lansingburgh's big man down low " 6-foot, 10-inch senior center Tyler Hammett. BH-BL relied on the athleticism of 6-5 forwards Zach Morton and Jacob Meyers to make life tough near the basket for Hammett, and though Hammett finished with 18 points, Morton and Meyers made him work for every point.
"Obviously, it was a little intimidating," said Morton of defending Hammett. "But at practice, we worked on ways to get him off his feet."
Meanwhile, Lansingburgh had no answers for Morton. The senior forward dipped, deked and drove his way to the basket for a game-high 29 points and the tournament's most valuable player award.