There’s two weeks left in the Wasaren regular season and on the boys side of things the Panthers of Hoosick Falls set the pace, yet to be defeated in 10 league runs. The Falls are closely followed by Stillwater and Hoosic Valley both sporting 9-2 marks.
While the high scoring Stillwater tandem of Jared D’Aloia and Zack Travis receive and deserve much attention, as does the perfect league record of the Panthers, the boys from Schaghticoke have quietly handled their business.
Not a high octane offense, or a lock down defensive squad the Valley just goes out and wins games. Their margin of victory is +1 on the year, (+4.5 in league play), scoring 50 points nightly while allowing 49 to their opponent. By contrast Hoosick Falls has a league margin of victory of +18, and Stillwater comes in at +8.3.
In Wasaren action the Indians have four wins by 4 points or less, and own just a pair of double digit victories to date. Their two losses were by 11 points to the Falls, and by eight to Stillwater.
So while the Valley may not boast a high scoring duo like the Warriors, Isaac Sanchez at 13.3 and Michael Schoonmaker at 10.0 lead the Valley, or be unbeaten like the Panthers are in league play, the Indians have something that every team hopes for.
The ability to win close.
Coming down the stretch of the regular season and heading into sectional play, games tend to be decided late. To flourish in that situation is a learned trait. The ability, when things get tight, to play with composure and run your stuff isn’t something that magically happens. Teams need to be tested in those situations and favorably respond, thereby gaining confidence in their ability to win close contests.
I coached a boys team one year that wasn’t outstanding, maybe a couple games over .500, but we played five overtime games that season and won them all. That squad had supreme confidence that the game belonged to them once it went into extra minutes.
The Indians this season have rarely been on the giving or receiving end of a blowout. Most nights deep into the fourth with the game up for grabs the Valley finds a way to post the “W”.
So while scoring, rebounding, and guarding are needed to put a team in position to win, can that team execute in a tie game with a minute and change remaining? The Valley has shown they can close, and that makes them a dangerous team every time out the rest of the way.