BY MICHAEL KELLY
CLIFTON PARK — When it visited Shenendehowa a season ago, the Niskayuna boys’ basketball team suffered a 53-point loss. Demoralized after an effort in which they managed only four points in the first half, the Silver Warriors left the gymnasium that night with their shoulders slumped and heads down.
This year? The Silver Warriors again took home a double-digit loss from their visit to see the reigning Class AA state champions, but left encouraged that their strong start to the season last week had not been an aberration.
“We came here expecting to win, expecting to compete, but we didn’t execute everything Coach [Bryan Mattice] talked about,” said Niskayuna senior guard Andrew Evans, who scored a team-high 17 points in the Silver Warriors’ 76-53 loss. “We obviously got beat pretty bad, but we can take a lot away from this game moving forward.”
“As a group, we wanted to see where we were at,” said Mattice, whose team won games last week by 29 and 40 points. “This was a measuring stick game for us.”
For every team in the Suburban Council, a game against the Plainsmen (3-0, 3-0) takes on that purpose. While the Silver Warriors (2-1, 2-1) could not find enough answers quick enough to keep themselves in Tuesday night’s game, their combination of size and strong guard play had Shenendehowa’s attention.
“We had to play good defense because they have good players. They had two players averaging more than 15 points [in Evans and senior guard Tommy Kelly], and . . . we made other players beat us,” said Shenendehowa boys’ basketball’s junior center Mike Pizziketti, who finished with seven points.