GLENS FALLS – The Bethlehem Eagles are sectional basketball champs for the first time since 1972.
The No. 3 seed Eagles beat the top seed Raiders from Colonie 57-45 at the Glens Falls Civic Center on Saturday, March 4.
Senior point guard Matthew Riker led the Eagles by going 8 of 10 from the field and a perfect 4 of 4 from the line for a game high 20 points. He also had four rebounds and three steals.
On the defensive end of the court, he played hard nosed man-to-man defense and held his counterpart, the speedy Coloine point guard Will Aybar, to just four points on the night.
Hayden Thompson had 15 points for the Eagles and grabbed a dozen rebounds. Tournament MVP sophomore Michael Ortale chipped in 14 points and had four rebounds.
Bethlehem led after the first quarter 12-8 and by a bucket, 24-22, at the half. The more athletic Colonie squad built a four-point lead with 2:48 in the third and seemed to have the momentum going.
But, Bethlehem went on a 7-2 run to take a one-point lead into the fourth quarter and then outscored Colonie 15-4 in the final eight minutes of play.
Brendan Mulson had 16 to lead Colonie and standout Isaiah Moll had 14 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.
Bryce Waterman had six points for Colonie, Josh Paszkowski had three and Jaeden Lewis had a basket.
Ryan Murray had six points for Bethlehem and Justin Barnes added a basket.
Bethlehem will play in the state regionals on March 11 against a yet to be determined opponent.
Check back later today and the print edition for reaction by both teams.