Ryals’ 23 gives Schenectady quarterfinal win over Saratoga

In a game that was the polar opposite of their first meeting, Schenectady dominated Saratoga on Saturday afternoon at Hudson Valley Community College in the Class AA quarterfinals, winning by a final score of 68-51.

Heading into Saturday and through the first quarter, it looked as if it would be a close game, as expected, with Schenectady holding a six-point lead after the first eight minutes.

After that, it was all Patriots, as they outscored the Blue Streaks 15-3 in the next set of eight, mainly due to the strong effort of John Ryals, who had 12 of Schenectady’s 15 in the second.

“They all came and bought into the game plan the last few days and worked very hard. I’m very proud of them,” Schenectady head coach Eric Loudis said.

This huge second quarter would allow the Patriots to reach out to a 35-17 lead at the break, and they didn’t look back from there.

In one point in the third quarter, however, it did seem as if Saratoga was gaining some momentum after a quick 6-0 run, but Schenectady would quickly get that back going on a 6-0 run of their own in a span of just 12 seconds, highlighted by a huge dunk from Tyrone Jenkins, who had 15 points on the afternoon.

When the two teams had met during the regular season, Saratoga played very well and seemingly had everything going for them, winning 66-58 back on January 31.

“(Schenectady) had some guys step up and hit some big shots,” Saratoga head coach Matt Usher said. “All the credit to Schenectady, and obviously, we picked a bad day to play the way we did.”

Schenectady was led Saturday by John Ryals, who had 23 points on the afternoon to go with 15 rebounds, a double-double for him. Tyrone Jenkins had 15 points and Raymond DeJesus had 13.

Saratoga was led by Adam Anderson in his final high school game, scoring 18 points. Brian Hart had 13, and Matt Larkin tacked on nine.

After the game, Saratoga head coach Matt Usher praised his five seniors. “We did some really good things, have some good memories. It’s been a great season that they should be proud of.”

This loss will end Saratoga’s season, having it come to a close in the quarterfinals for the second straight season. They finish the season at 16-6.

Five-seeded Schenectady will move on to the Class AA semifinals following their victory. They will play either Colonie or Green Tech in that round for a bid to the sectional final. That game will be played on Tuesday at the Glens Falls Civic Center, with a tip-off at 8 PM following the other semifinal game.

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