JOHNSTOWN - The Broadalbin-Perth Patriots didn't play over the holiday break and looked fresh for Tuesday night's Foothills Council boys basketball game against the Johnstown Sir Bills.
The Patriots broke loose for a 10-point run in the first quarter and cruised by the Sir Bills, 64-34, at Johnstown High School.
"We were definitely passing the ball better," senior guard Ben Bellandi said. "We had two weeks off so we had a lot of practices and a lot of built-up energy. We knew we had to come out sharp and take them out of the game."
Johnstown’s Jon Heroth shoots over Broadalbin-Perth’s Zach Newfrock during Tuesday’s Foothills Council boys basketball game at Johnstown High School. (The Leader-Herald/Mike Zummo)
Even though the Patriots got on the board first, the Sir Bills hung in the game for the first three minutes, closing the gap to 7-6 after Ryan Auty converted a three-point play.
Then Bellandi scored three straight baskets in the span of 26 seconds to open up a 13-6 lead. Bellandi scored nine of his game-high 20 points in the first quarter.
"I just played my game," Bellandi said. "I was on with the 3 and had some success. I just have to keep driving and keep creating."
Eighth-grade point guard Preston Taylor added the next four points on a basket and two free throws to give the Patriots an 11-point lead, 17-6, with 2:51 left in the quarter. Taylor finished with 14 points.
"I thought he did a good job and so did Robbie VanBrocklin when he ran the point," Broadalbin-Perth coach Tucker Gifford said. "He's a sophomore. I thought both of them recognized what they were in, zone or man. They did a good job of pulling it out and getting organized."
While the Patriots' offense was putting distance between them and the Sir Bills in a hurry, Johnstown was unable to get through the Patriots' trap press, unable to get to the basket or knock down a jump shot after the first four minutes.
"Their press just really bothered us tonight," Johnstown coach Scott Hale said. "We had way too many turnovers to make it a competitive game."
After taking a 10-point lead after the first quarter, the Patriots jumped on the Sir Bills early in the second, going on a 7-0 run to take a 26-9 lead with 4:39 to go in the first half. During that nearly four minute stretch, the Patriots managed to snag two steals.
"We were able to force some turnovers and had them ringing the ball around and we took advantage," Gifford said. "When we came down, I thought the offensively, we executed. We moved the ball and we were able to attack them."
The Patriots' offense slowed down in the third quarter but took off again in the fourth as the Patriots outscored Johnstown 20-6 in the fourth quarter to open a 30-point win.
The difference, Gifford said, was inside opportunities.
"That's one of the focuses we had; we hadn't really gotten layups much this year," he said. "We hadn't gotten easy opportunities. We just didn't get in the lane. Tonight, we got in there quite often and got a lot of chippies."
Mike Everest and Jamal Vazquez scored two baskets each on a night the Sir Bills (2-7 overall, 1-4 Foothills Council) would rather forget before they travel to Queensbury on Friday.
"We're halfway through the season now," Hale said. "Their goal and our goal as a team - us coaches included, 13 players and the coaching staff - is to get better. That's ultimately what it comes down to."
The Patriots (4-4 overall, 2-3 Foothills Council) lost two games before the holiday break and go into Friday's game on a winning note.
"We definitely needed a win coming off those two losses to Scotia and Glens Falls," Bellandi said. "This is a big game for us. We're going into [South Glens Falls] next and we're looking to win there, too."
Gifford, meanwhile, is looking for consistency in 2013.
"We just want to keep taking a step in the right direction," he said. "The biggest thing for us right now is so far this year, in 2012, we were very inconsistent. We didn't know what team would show up every night. Now, we've got to take that step and the team you saw tonight, we need to see that team every night."
Broadalbin-Perth 64, Johnstown 34
Broadalbin-Perth19 17 8 20 - 64
Johnstown9 10 9 6 - 34
Sylvia 4-0-8, Bellandi 8-2-20, P. Taylor 5-4-14, Magliocca 1-0-2, Bochenek 0-1-1, Natoli 4-2-10, VanBrocklin 3-0-6, Newfrock 0-1-1, A. Taylor 1-0-2. Totals: 26-10-64.
Heroth 2-2-6, Everest 3-2-8, Auty 1-1-3, Groom 0-2-2, Vazquez 3-0-8, Caputo 0-1-1, Mitchell 1-2-4, Brown 1-0-2. Totals: 11-10-34.
3-point goals: Broadalbin-Perth 2 (Bellandi 2); Johnstown 2 (Vazquez 2).