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Boys basketball: Watervliet overwhelms Schalmont in season finale

Gleason leads balanced attack with 18 points

Once again, Watervliet showed why it's considered to be one of the best boys basketball teams in New York.

The Cannoneers (17-1) jumped out to a 23-3 lead and cruised to an 83-53 victory over visiting Schalmont in Tuesday's Colonial Council finale in Watervliet.

The Sabres (2-16) had no answer for what Watervliet -- the state's No. 2-ranked Class B team -- threw at them. The Cannoneers started out by draining three-pointer after three-pointer, and then floored the gas pedal with a string of fast-break points.

"All of our guys ... they were prepared to play," said Watervliet coach Orlando DiBacco. "Our seniors did a great job tonight. They came out and got us a 13-3 lead."

Meanwhile, Schalmont couldn't get anything going in the first quarter. The Sabres made one shot from the field over the first eight minutes to dig themselves a deep hole.

"I think their (shooting) numbers in the first quarter were 9-for-11, and I think ours were something like 1-for-11," said Schalmont coach Kevin Curtin. "You hope that they will miss a shot, and they keep hitting them."

Dominic Caputo did what he could to light a fire under the Sabres. The junior guard scored 11 points in the second quarter and finished with a game-high 25 points, but he alone couldn't keep Schalmont in the game.

"Dom played well tonight," said Curtin. "He's come along. He's had a good junior year. Like any junior he's had his ups and downs, but I think he's been our most consistent player this year."

On the other side, Watervliet received significant contributions from several players. Junior guard Jordan Gleason led the way with 18 points, seven rebounds and three assists, while Antoine Johnson contributed 15 points and Tyler McLeod added 13 points and seven assists.

Gleason particularly stood out for the Cannoneers, as he has all season. He got Watervliet's fast break going with several steals, he made several passes that caught Schalmont's defenders flat-footed and he added several dunks for emphasis.

"He's a very gifted athlete," DiBacco said of Gleason. "I'm most proud of his defensive intensity, which gets our offense going."

Watervliet will look to carry its momentum into next week's Section II Class B playoffs, while Schalmont will wait until next year to make some noise in the Colonial Council.

"Our motto (going into Sectionals) is going to stay the same: take it one game at a time," said DiBacco. "Everybody is going to look to knock us off, and hopefully we'll be up for the challenge."

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