SARATOGA SPRINGS — Late in games, the battle under the basket can be the main factor. This was the case in Tuesday night’s varsity basketball game between Saratoga and CBA, with the Brothers coming out on top by a final tally of 60-58.
The game went into the final eight minutes with Saratoga owning a 46-44 lead, but it was still anybody’s game. CBA took the lead and began to pull away with a 55-50 lead with less than five minutes to play, but Saratoga was not out of it by any means.
The Blue Streaks tied the game at 55 after a three-pointer from A.J. Lawton and a pair of free throws from Nick Chudy.
After that, Saratoga took the lead on another free throw, this time from Brian Hart. It became a battle of free throws after that as CBA tied the game at 56 from the stripe courtesy of Brandon Grimes. Grimes was playing in his first high school game after missing all of last season due to transfer rules after moving to CBA from Catholic Central in Troy.
Saratoga re-took the lead with a minute to play, 57-56. With 34 seconds remaining in regulation, Justin Caulfield hit a shot to give CBA the lead once again, and a pair of free throws off the hands of Jordan King iced the game and gave the Brothers the eventual win.
The game really went in the way of the Brothers with 14 seconds left, when Caulfield came up big again, taking a charge that led to the free throws from King.
“We had a real team victory. A lot of guys who didn’t get a lot of minutes did a lot with those minutes,” CBA head coach Dave Doemel said.
Saratoga had the lead at halftime, courtesy of 19 first half points from Lawton on five three-pointers. His production, however, dropped off after that, only scoring five in the second half. Nonetheless, he finished with 24 in total.
“I thought A.J. shot the ball well tonight, obviously. But when he’s shooting the ball like that, we need to be up by more than four at the half. We did not defend well in the first half,” Saratoga head coach Matt Usher said.
Another back-breaker was missed opportunities from the free throw line as well as lay-ups. The Blue Streaks shot just 8 for 17 from the foul line in the second half.
“There are guys that are returners; there are guys that are new to the varsity game. We got to finish inside. We got to make free throws. We’ve seen too many missed opportunities around the rim and now from the free throw line. Those are the kinds of things that’ll cost you ball games,” Usher said.
Doemel said regarding defensing Saratoga’s inside game, “I don’t think any one guy can one of their guys when they get it down in that deep. That was a point of emphasis all week.”
CBA begins their 2017-2018 campaign with a victory. They will play again on Friday at home against Niskayuna. That game will begin at 7 p.m.
Saratoga is now 0-2 on the season. They will also be back in action Friday, hitting the road for a tilt against Schenectady at 6:30 p.m. before hosting Shenendehowa on Tuesday, December 12. That game will begin at 7:30 p.m.
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