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Thoughts, news and notes from the sports staff of The Saratogian newspaper, located in historic Saratoga Springs, New York. The gang in the corner office on Lake Avenue give you the post-game wrap-ups, news and notes from the games we cover and opinions about the sports we read about every day.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

HIGH SCHOOL BOYS BASKETBALL: Saratoga beats Niskayuna, 56-51

Few extra notes from Saratoga's 56-51 win over Niskayuna on Feb. 7 ...
  • First of all, it was too bad the game was so lightly attended, though because of the circumstances of the night — hockey showdown against rival Shenendehowa and that the basketball game was a make-up contest — a heavy crowd was likely unattainable. Really well-played and exciting game — several dunks, back-and-forth action, and a lot of intensity from both squads. Most importantly, with the win, Saratoga moved a half-game ahead of Niskyauna in the Suburban Council's North Division.
  • Couple of odd calls in the fourth quarter marred the game's finish, leaving Niskayuna coach Mike Black pretty upset. Black's team had two questionable flagrant fouls called on them in the final quarter. I couldn't get a great look at the second of the two fouls — it was in a scrum on the other side of the court from me — but the first one was pretty bad; on a Blue Streaks fast break, Niskayuna's A.J. Akpanikat first tried to make a play on the ball from behind and then ended up wrapping up Dan Keehn. Akpanikat did grab Keehn from behind, but did so in a way that Keehn never fell to the ground. Black offered a quick "No comment" after the game in response to his thoughts on the calls.
  • Had not seen the Blue Streaks personally yet this season and I came away pretty impressed with Mikey McElroy. I knew he could score a bunch of baskets, but often times I am wary of guys who are scoring a lot for a team mostly losing its games because usually it indicates someone who might be out for themselves; however, McElroy only forced one (maybe two) of his shots on Monday night and really let the game come to him through coach Mitch Snyder's offense. Very impressive.
  • Did not get to talk a lot about the game Keehn had in the actual story, but he was a great steadying influence for the Blue Streaks. Each of his 18 points seemed to come at a time when Saratoga really needed a basket. It was fitting that he hit a pair of free throws with just a couple of ticks left to seal the win. Keehn is definitely playing his best ball of the season.
  • As a whole, the Blue Streaks are playing their best basketball of the season, too. They started off 3-7 but have been able to even up their overall record and just seem to be a confident bunch. Snyder said after the game that the team's practices have been a lot better in the past couple of weeks and that he feels like his team is improving every day, something he felt was not happening in the season's early going. Saratoga has three more regular season games — @Shaker, Burnt Hills, Shenendehowa — to try and improve its sectional seeding.
--Michael Kelly

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