The Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake boys basketball team survived a rough first half to defeat Section X champion Massena 39-31 in Friday’s Class A regional semifinal game at Hudson Valley Community College.
The Spartans (11-11) made only two of their 24 shots from the field in the first half, yet they trailed only 16-7 at halftime thanks to some stingy defense on their part.
I told the guys that if all of the sudden we start executing in the second half and start hitting our shots, we’re right back in this game, said BH-BL coach George Dudas.
It took the Spartans the first three minutes of the third quarter to finally get their offense in gear, but once they started clicking, Massena (18-5) couldn’t stop them. A pair of three-pointers by Brandon Beatty got BH-BL within five points at 20-15. Then following a pair of Keaton Flint free throws, Philip Neumann drained a three from the top of the key to tie the game at 20.
Flint gave the Spartans their first lead of the night late in the third quarter with a baseline three-pointer. Massena made some free throws to briefly regain the lead before Jake Batty hit a transition layup in the final minute to put BH-BL ahead 25-24.
The Spartans were in control from that point on. They opened the fourth quarter with an 8-3 run and received some late free throws by Bret Dennis to seal the victory.
Beatty scored 12 points, and Flint contributed 10 points for BH-BL. Zach Morton, who scored 29 points in the Spartans’ 55-49 overtime victory over Lansingburgh in last Sunday’s Section II final, was limited to six points by Massena, but Morton added eight rebounds to help his team advance to Saturday’s regional final against Section III champion Jamesville-DeWitt at HVCC.
`Every time he caught the ball, they had two guys on him,` Dudas said of Morton.
Taylor Elsner scored eight points for Massena, which made only three of its last 17 field goal attempts.“
Associate editor/sports editor