December 14, 2011
Good luck picking a favorite to win the Suburban Council South Division this season.
Three games into the league season, three boys basketball teams own 2-1 Suburban Council records and the other three own 1-2 marks. And there has been little rhyme or reason to the events that have taken place thus far.
Take Colonie's 55-47 victory over Bethlehem Tuesday. The Garnet Raiders (1-2) -- fresh off close losses to Mohonasen and Averill Park -- jumped out to a 19-5 lead in the first quarter, weathered a massive Bethlehem rally in the second quarter and held on for their first win of the season against a team that Guilderland coach Ron Osinski said was "the most complete team in the league" and "shouldn't lose a game this season."
Guilderland (1-2) has had its own Jekyl-and-Hyde moments in league play. The Dutchmen suffered a 61-60 loss to Columbia and got their doors blown off by Bethlehem 77-66 (the Eagles led by as many as 19 points in the fourth quarter), but then they have their worst offensive performance of the season and BEAT Mohonasen 42-26.
Mohonasen (2-1) can't seem to gain any consistency with its offense. The Mighty Warriors barely got by Colonie 36-32 in their season opener, but then they rattled off 43 first-half points in a 77-51 victory over Columbia last Friday. Four nights later, they couldn't get out of the 20s against Guilderland.
The two most consistent teams in the South Division thus far are Columbia (2-1) and Averill Park (1-2). Columbia has averaged 62 points in its first three games and has scored less than 10 points in only three of the 12 quarters of basketball it's played. On the other side of the spectrum, Averill Park has yet to reach the 60-point plateau in any of its games, but its defense came up big against Colonie.
Bethlehem (2-1) is probably still the team to beat in the South Division. The Eagles have great balance on offense with guard Nate Kane and forward Matt O'Keefe leading the way, and they have good depth on their bench to weather injuries.
However, several teams will be right on Bethlehem's heels this season. Columbia has two dynamic scorers in Tyler Hart and Jahlil Nails, while Guilderland is developing a solid supporting cast for Cameron Dobbs to work with including Matt Cerutti, Brian Crupi and Alex Gaines. Mohonasen will also be a factor going forward with a balanced attack led by Killian Tallman and Billy Manikas, and you can't dismiss Colonie with its veteran lineup led by Mark Papuzza and Robbie McGuirk.
Somehow, the Suburban Council South Division will sort itself out. But until then, expect more wild times.