CLIFTON PARK — Defense, defense, and more defense was the name of the game for Colonie as they were able to squeak out a tough road victory over Shen Friday night, 42-38.
To put it lightly, it was a defensive struggle between Colonie (9-3 league, 10-3 overall) and Shen (8-2 Suburban Council, 11-3 overall) as neither team was able to get a consistent flow on offense and get any separation. There were several turnovers and multiple possessions that were not very pleasing to the eye. Both Colonie and Shen could not reach the 20-point mark in the first half scoring 18 and 15 respectively.
Shen never led at any point in the game and pulled within one point after Chris Hulbert’s buzzer-beating three at the end of the first quarter and also with 2:27 left in the game when Hulbert went to the foul line for a one-and-one.
Even though it may not have been pretty, Colonie assistant coach John Karbowski, who filled in for head coach Ken Dagastino Friday, was happy with his team’s effort on defense.
“It was a defensive clinic for us, guys just put out for 32 minutes and they got it done, so real pleased and happy for the team,” said Karbowksi.
Karbowski knew that this was a big win since Shen just beat CBA and they were playing their best basketball.
“We needed this after Shen beat CBA, we knew they were on a roll and if we were gonna get back into the thick of things we needed this win and the boys responded with a good game plan and got it done,” said Karbowski.
Shen paid a lot of their attention to the 6’7″ UVM commit Isaiah Moll who is the central point of Colonie’s offense. Moll ended up leading the team in scoring with 12 points but he had faith in his teammates to make shots.
“I’m a big part of the offense. They were box-and-oneing me, I feel they were putting a little too much emphasis on me, so it was giving other guys the opportunity to shine,” said Isaiah Moll. “In the locker room I just instilled confidence in them saying ‘You can shoot, we know you can shoot, so take your shots.”
Moll believes the team is heading in the right direction towards Sectionals.
“These past couple games it’s been good, practices are getting better and we’re gelling more as a team, we’re gonna be good going into Sectionals for sure,” said Moll.
Senior Guard Will Aybar also played a major role in Colonie getting this crucial win chipping in with 7 points, including a three-pointer. Aybar said being the floor leader and focusing on other things besides scoring was the key to beating a good Shen team.
“I’m the General, I’m surrounded luckily by a lot of scorers so I don’t have to focus on scoring as much. I try to keep my team calm, keep us contained, and not let us blow up and get out of our heads,” said Aybar.
Colonie plays their next game at home against Shaker Friday, January 26th at 7pm. Shen will play next at Columbia on the same day and time.