SARATOGA SPRINGS — With the defense shutting down Burnt Hills early, Saratoga rode it to a victory on Friday night at Saratoga High School, taking a win by a final score of 57-38.
Saratoga’s defense came out the strongest you can physically get, holding Burnt Hills without a point for the entire first quarter, flying out to an 18-0 lead after the inaugural eight minutes.
“The defense was great in the first quarter. We came out with a lot of energy. It was great to see us play tough, intelligent defense for those first eight minutes,” Saratoga head coach Matt Usher said.
Burnt Hills did not give up after the start that they did not need or want at all. They came out strong in the second quarter, scoring 20 points in that frame, quite a turnaround after they could not get anything to fall in the first quarter. It was Jeremy Clayton coming up big for the Spartans just before the half, scoring all of his 11 points in the second quarter, including three shots from behind the three-point line.
Saratoga struggled a bit in the second quarter while Burnt Hills thrived, scoring just 13 points in the same span to make it 31-20 at the break.
“I don’t think we played as well in the second quarter, give Burnt Hills some credit, they hit some shots and knocked down some open looks, but the problem was they were getting too open and too comfortable on the perimeter,” Usher said.
Saratoga did pick it up in the second half, keeping Burnt Hills from scoring as much as they did in the first half, using the hot shooting AJ Lawton and the interior play of Brian Hart to keep Saratoga’s lead comfortable in the second half, immediately going on an 11-0 run to kick off the half. Hart paced Saratoga with 20 points and Lawton had 15.
“I definitely feel comfortable (inside), working the big men. I feel like I’m more athletic than most big men. They might be stronger than me but I can jump higher than them. It all works out,” Hart said.
Saratoga has now won six games in a row, and improve to 6-2 on the season, 6-1 in league play.
“Right now, we’re trying to focus on the next game, the day-to-day,” Usher said.
They will be back in action on Tuesday, on the road against Ballston Spa before returning home on Friday, January 12, taking on Troy. Both games will begin at 7 p.m.
Burnt Hills falls to 1-8 on the season overall, 0-7 in the league. They will play again on Monday, at home against Green Tech. That game will tip-off at 7:30 p.m.