NISKAYUNA Myles Bergere made the most of his third start of the season.
The junior forward scored 23 points and pulled down 14 rebounds to lead Bethlehem past Niskayuna 66-49 in Friday's Suburban Council boys basketball game.
"He's done a very nice job," Bethlehem coach AG Irons said of Bergere, who started in place of an injured Matt O'Keefe. "He's the kind of kid who works all the time and never gives up."
Bethlehem (8-2 league, 8-4 overall) hobbled into Friday's game following a 73-71 home loss to Shenendehowa three nights earlier and without two of its regular starters -- O'Keefe and guard Shane Natale, who injured his knee in the Shen game. But the Eagles started strong against Niskayuna as they jumped out to an 18-7 lead in the first quarter and extended it to 36-23 at halftime behind strong efforts from Bergere and senior swingman Casey McGraw, who combined for 20 of their team's first-half points.
The Silver Warriors (2-8, 2-9) got back in the game in a hurry, thanks to Austin Clock. The senior forward made a pair of three-pointers to spark a 12-0 Niskayuna run that pulled the home team within one point of Bethlehem less than three minutes into the third quarter.
"We certainly executed well in that early stretch," said Niskayuna coach Ian McShane.
Bethlehem's size and physical play down low eventually won out over Niskayuna's speed and aggressive defense, though. Bergere and freshman forward John Sica hit several clutch shots and pulled down rebound after rebound to help the Eagles pull away for good.
"I give credit to my guys for hanging in there and responding to their run," said Irons.
"We gave up a bunch of offensive rebounds and got them to the free throw line," said McShane. "That's what hurt us down the stretch."