JOHNSTOWN -– After starting the season 5-1, the Johnstown girls’ basketball team has hit a rough stretch.
The Lady Bills lost for the sixth time in their last nine outings Thursday, dropping a 51-48 decision to Schuylerville in a Foothills Council game at Johnstown High School.
“It was quite the battle,” Schuylerville coach Jason Mehan said. “We’ve had a lot of close games this year that could have gone either way, but they haven’t gone in our favor. It was nice to come out on top this time.”
Macey Koval finished with 16 points to lead Schuylerville, while Amanda Pflieger added 11 points.
Jaden Wilson scored a game-high 21 points for Johnstown, while Abby Chest added 10 points.
The Lady Bills played without their second-leading scorer – Jaidyn Chest – who is sidelined due to COVID protocols.
“It would have been nice to get a win tonight. This is a momentum stopper,” Johnstown coach Tim Derwin said. “Everybody is kind of in the same boat dealing with COVID, but when you only have eight girls like we do, it’s that much tougher.”
Without Jaidyn Chest, the team’s primary ball handler, in the lineup, the Lady Bills struggled on the floor, turning the ball over 27 times, including nine in the fourth quarter.
“We really struggled to get a good look in the fourth quarter,” Derwin said. “We had too many turnovers and we were looking to make passes that weren’t there. We just failed to get a good look for the longest stretch of the fourth quarter and it’s tough to win games like that.”
While the Lady Bills have had their struggles of late, Schuylerville claimed its second straight win. After snapping a six-game losing streak with a 59-23 non-league win over Stillwater on Tuesday, the Black Horses made it two straight victories on Thursday.
“Johnstown hit some good shots and they’re a good, well-coached team,” Mehan said. “We missed a lot of layups and free throws tonight. We were able to survive that and get the win.”
After dropping a 48-39 decision to the Lady Bills at home on Dec. 13, the Black Horses started quickly in the rematch.
Schuylerville grabbed a 9-3 lead in the first five minutes of the game.
The Lady Bills were able to regroup, closing the opening quarter with a 10-2 run to take a 13-11 lead.
Johnstown carried its momentum into the second quarter, surging to a 25-14 advantage with a 12-3 burst.
As the Lady Bills did in the opening frame, the Black Horses closed the first half with a flourish, outscoring Johnstown 15-5 over the final 3:30 to trail 30-29 at the half.
Koval scored six points in the second quarter for Schuylerville, while Sadie Tavares added five points in the frame.
The back-and-forth battle continued into the second half with the Black Horses starting the third quarter with a 6-0 run only to have Johnstown answer with a 9-0 burst.
The quarter ended with Schuylerville taking a 40-39 lead into the final frame.
The Black Horses opened up their advantage in the final quarter, leading by as many as eight points before Johnstown mounted a late rally that fell short.
“We didn’t play well. A lot of it was unforced errors,” Derwin said. “With just six girls playing tonight, fatigue certainly was a factor. The girls just hit the wall tonight.”
Johnstown (8-7 overall, 8-6 Foothills) is slated to travel to Broadalbin-Perth on Monday for a 7 p.m. Foothills Council contest. The Lady Bills then travel to Fonda-Fultonville for a non-league contest on Tuesday followed by a trip to Glens Falls on Thursday.
“It’s tough, but it is what it is,” Derwin said. “We’re going to try to find the silver lining and get ready for a busy week next week.”
After outlasting the Lady Bills on Thursday, the Black Horses are looking to continue their recent run of success over the final weeks of the regular season.
“This game felt like a sectional game,” Mehan said. “We’re looking to build some momentum over our final few games.”
Schuylerville (4-10 overall, 3-9 Foothills) is scheduled to host Gloversville on Monday at 7 p.m.
Schuylerville 11 18 11 11 – 51
Johnstown 13 17 9 9 – 48
Schuylerville scoring: Barton 2-1-5, Buff 1-0-2, Cilione 1-0-3, King 1-3-5, Koval 7-2-16, Schwartz 1-0-2, Tavares 3-0-7, Pflieger 4-1-11.
Johnstown scoring: Ahern 2-0-4, Bermas 3-0-6, A. Chest 3-3-10, Hisert 3-0-7, Wilson 8-2-21.
Scoring totals: Schuylerville 20-7-51, Johnstown 19-5-48.