Boys basketball: Balanced Blackbirds win tournament title

Voorheesville pulls away late to beat Cornwall

Voorheesville’s Clarke Bissell, center, battles Cornwall’s Sean Malvey for a rebound during Sunday’s Blackbird Tournament championship game.

Voorheesville’s Clarke Bissell, center, battles Cornwall’s Sean Malvey for a rebound during Sunday’s Blackbird Tournament championship game.

— When they click on all cylinders, the Voorheesville Blackbirds are a dangerous boys basketball team.

Three days after suffering a 59-46 home loss to perennial Colonial Council cellar dweller Cobleskill, Voorheesville (4-3 league, 7-4 overall) posted a 72-66 victory over Section IX power Cornwall in Sunday’s Blackbird Tournament championship game.

“We’re getting better every game,” said Voorheesville coach Don Catellier. “I’m real happy [with the Cornwall win]. The kids worked their butts off.”

Cornwall (6-4) rallied from a 10-point deficit to take a 34-32 halftime lead and pushed its advantage to as many as five points several times in the third quarter before Voorheesville pulled even at 55-55 on Noah Crawford’s buzzer-beating jump shot.

The fourth quarter evolved into a call-and-response series of events. Voorheesville would take a small lead, only to see Cornwall tie the score again. It wasn’t until Jay Castren completed a three-point play with 1:33 left in regulation that the Blackbirds finally tamed the Dragons.

“It was just a great back-and-forth game,” said Catellier.

Castren led a balanced Voorheesville attack with 18 points. Crawford contributed 10 points, while Zach Precious, Russ Daley and Logan Hotaling each added nine points.

“We don’t have one superstar on this team,” said Catellier. “We have 10 guys who work hard and play hard.”

Zach Bouton netted 22 points for Cornwall including four three-pointers in the second half, and Joe O’Rourke added 14 points.

Voorheesville’s offense struggled in last Thursday’s home loss to an improved Cobleskill (3-4, 4-5) squad. The Blackbirds scored less than 15 points in all four quarters, while the Bulldogs took control in the second half by scoring 35 of their 59 points. Dillon Greene had 20 points for Cobleskill, while Daley and Hotaling each scored 13 points for Voorheesville.

The Blackbirds turned their fortunes around in Saturday’s opening round of their tournament by beating neighboring Berne-Knox-Westerlo 63-57. Voorheesville used a 25-point second quarter to grab a 33-26 halftime lead. BKW (5-6) got close in the third quarter with a 15-9 run, but Voorheesville pulled away with a 21-point fourth quarter.

Voorheesville’s balanced scoring returned in the BKW game. Daley led the way with 15 points, while Louis DiVirgillio chipped in with 12 points. Crawford contributed 11 points, and Clarke Bissell added 10 points for the Blackbirds.

Garrett Pitcher’s 18 points paced BKW.

Voorheesville returned to Colonial Council action Tuesday when it traveled to Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk (2-4, 4-5). The Blackbirds then take a 10-day break until Jan. 27, when they host Cohoes.

“We’ve just got to keep playing,” said Catellier. “As I’ve told the guys all season, the season is a marathon, not a sprint.”

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