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B-P Patriots celebrate senior night with win over Hudson Falls

The Broadalbin-Perth Patriots varsity basketball team added yet another win to their already impressive resume during “senior night” last Friday. In their last game before sectionals, they defeated the Hudson Falls Tigers 66-56 in a league crossover game. The team got contributions from every senior that took the floor in front of the home team’s faithful fans for what may be the last time for some of them.

“We’ve been playing together since the fourth grade,” Broadalbin-Perth senior Colby Hartz said. “We know each others games so well that we just know how to play together as a team.”

Hartz was one of nine seniors including players Hunter Anastasia, Evan Dimaio, Connor Pingitore, Vincenzo DiCaterino, Tyler Graham, and Michael Mann, along with cheerleaders Chelsea McKeever and Amber Benware, who were honored along with their parents during a pre-game ceremony and recognized for their contributions to the team and commitment to their school. The Patriots were looking to build on momentum created from a 74-56 victory over Amsterdam on Tuesday and needed every bit of help they could get from players off the bench, and the fans, to deal with a determined Hudson Falls Tigers team that was also hoping to head into sectionals on a winning note.

Broadalbin-Perth entered the second half with a 36-27 advantage led by 10 points in the first half by DiCAterino, but the Tigers began the third period with a 10-2 run closing the gap to a single point. Baskets by Gent Shala, Cameron Jett, and Sean Casey sliced it to 36-35 before Joey Ladipo grabbed a rebound and put it through keeping BPHS in front. Shala’s next basket cut it back to one again 38-37 as the Tigers fought to take control near the rim. Eight of the ten points scored by the Patriots in the third frame came off the bench from Lapido and JP Person, who made a free throw following Shala’s second basket and took a pass from Hartz all the way to the basket to help the Patriots maintain a slim 41-37 lead.

“We had a few timely shots,” Broadalbin-Perth head coach Tucker Gifford said. “But our inability to keep them out of the paint hurt us. We need to execute better than that, and we didn’t convert as well as we could have. This was an ugly win tonight.”

The Patriots continued to get shots when they needed them and never lost the lead. Ladipo connected from long distance at the end of the third period to expand the Patriots lead to 46-41, and Person opened the scoring in the fourth quarter taking a pass from Preston Taylor to push it to seven.

“Joey (Ladipo) hit a really big shot,” Hartz said. “Johnny (Person) came in and played good defense when we needed it”

Person and Ladipo gave their team a needed boost of energy to maintain the lead, and then it was the seniors who finished off the game. Mann, one of the heroes of Tuesday’s win did what he did best, connecting for a three giving the Patriots some breathing room up 51-43. DiCaterino followed with a free throw but left the game with five minutes after he fell while play was in transition. Hartz matched up with Tigers’ big man Shala shot for shot, and scored a pair of free throws to keep the Patriots ahead 54-45. He then completed a “Dimaio to Pingitore to Hartz” pass play building a 56-49 lead. Hartz followed baskets by Shala and Jett putting BPHS up ten, 62-52. The senior forward scored ten points in the fourth quarter and finished with a team high 20 points matching Jett’s total. He also hauled in ten rebounds, none bigger than the one on a free throw miss by DiCaterino, who returned with two minutes to play. Hartz put it back for two and a 64-54 lead. Hartz out-muscled Shala for another rebound after Jett’s last basket made the score 64-56, and Taylor buried the last two free throws giving cause for the Patriots to celebrate a senior night win.

“Coach said we needed to get in his (Shala’s) head,” Hartz said. “We needed to play a physical game on him.”

The Patriots built a 19-13 lead in the first quarter with DiCaterino scoring ten of his 15 points. A three by Hudson Falls’ Jett gave the Tigers a 9-6 lead early in the first, but DiCaterino answered a basket by Riley Maddison to cut the deficit to 11-10, and Hartz put back a miss for two more giving the Patriots a 12-11 lead. DiCaterino, Mann, and Pigitore all scored as the Patriots used a 9-0 run to take the lead for good. The Patriots passing was smoother in the second frame as Taylor and Hartz assisted on scores to boost the BPHS lead to 23-15 midway through the period. Taylor scored five of his 11 points in the second quarter including a three that put the Patriots up by double digits 36-24.

“It feels good to come away with a win,” Hartz said. “We head to sectionals on a positive.”

Joey Ladipo scored seven points for BPHS. Mann hit a pair of triples for his six points, JP Person added five points, and Pingitore added two points and three steals. Hunter Anastasia had one steal, and Evan Dimaio added one rebound and one assist in the Patriots win.

Shala finished with 15 points for the Tigers. Maddison added seven points, Owen Ovitt scored six, Casey and Taylor Lane contributed four each in the Hudson Falls effort.

Broadalbin-Perth (16-4 overall, 10-4 Foothills Council) heads into sectionals with a second straight win over a Class A team. The Patriots await the Section 2 meeting on Wednesday that will determine seeds for the playoffs that begin next week.

“Our record is 16-4, that’s our resume’,” Coach Gifford said. “We’ve got some good wins. Now it’s a new season and we have to run the gauntlet and win four games to get a championship.”

Another banner in a well decorated BPHS gym would mean a lot to a group of seniors who consistently put in their best effort on the floor.

“They have that winning attitude,” Gifford said of the senior BPHS players. “They do whatever it takes to win a championship, and you can’t say that about everybody. They want to compete.”

About Scott Mulford

Scott Mulford has been covering local sports for over 20 years. He previously wrote for the Amsterdam Star and The Free Press of the Mohawk Valley.

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