Johnstown boys’ basketball faces busy closing stretch


Johnstown boys’ basketball coach Phil Satterlee watches his team during a Nov. 23 scrimmage against Northville at Johnstown High School.

JOHNSTOWN — Having come within a point of picking up its first win of the season, the Johnstown boys’ basketball team saw some light at the end of the tunnel on Jan. 14 at Queensbury.

Unfortunately for the Sir Bills, that light in the tunnel turned out to be COVID and it hit Johnstown with full force.

The Sir Bills haven’t played since that night and have practiced with a full team just three times — all this week.

“It’s definitely been tough,” Johnstown coach Phil Satterlee said. “We had our best two days of basketball right before we went into this pause. We had our best day of practice all season the day before the Queensbury game and then we came within a point of beating Queensbury. To not be able to build on that momentum is hard. We were hoping to use it to propel us forward.”

Instead, the Sir Bills are almost starting back at square one with most of their players unable to even practice due to COVID protocols.

“We had three guys that were able to practice with the junior varsity team,” Satterlee said. “It’s been tough over the last few weeks. We’re getting guys back now, and [Tuesday], we were able to run our first full varsity practice since the Queensbury game on January 14.”

The Sir Bills dropped a 61-60 decision against Queensbury, with Braden Jones scoring a game-high 24 points for Johnstown and Bryce Mureness adding 14 points.

Satterlee is hoping his team can pick up where it left off.

“I’ve been emphasizing to the team that they need to think back to when we played our last game, and play like we’re starting from there,” he said.
If or when its schedule resumes, Johnstown will be busy.

The Sir Bills are set to travel to Hudson Falls on Saturday.

Johnstown is then scheduled for an away game at Schuylerville on Monday, host Scotia-Glenville on Tuesday, host Glens Falls on Wednesday to make up tonight’s postponed game, travel to South Glens Falls next Friday and travel to Gloversville next Saturday.

The Sir Bills are slated to wrap up the regular season with home games against Broadalbin-Perth and Amsterdam on Feb. 14 and 15. It’s a stretch of eight games in 10 days.

“The next two weeks are going to be a challenge, but I think we’ll be up for it,” Satterlee said. “It’s not ideal. We’re going to do the best we can given our situation.”

Johnstown, which is 0-12 overall and 0-10 in Foothills Council play, finds itself in a spot similar to last winter’s shortened season that saw it play a condensed, eight-game schedule over a span of 12 days. Johnstown went 3-5 last March in games against Mayfield, Northville, Broadalbin-Perth and Gloversville as COVID protocols limited Fulton County teams to in-county play.

After playing such a condensed season, Satterlee hoped his team could get through this year’s more normal slate smoothly, but that hasn’t been the case.

“We have to control what we can control,” he said. “Certainly, COVID is not one of those things. It stinks, but it’s out of our control and we’re doing what we can to get back out there.”

Satterlee himself tested positive for COVID in January, which provided another level of stress as he tried to avoid passing it on to his wife and newborn son.

“I pretty much locked myself in a room for a week and didn’t come out,” he said. “I didn’t want to pass it along to either of them. Fortunately, they were both OK, but it was nerve-wracking for sure.”

Though his team hasn’t played in three weeks, it hasn’t been all bad for Satterlee as he’s had some unexpected extra time to spend with his son, who was born in December.

“It’s been great and it’s awesome. It’s kept me sane,” he said.

By Paul Wager

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