By: Aidan Joly
Lots of runs on offense marked the keys for Saratoga on Friday, as they produced a blowout victory over Bethlehem, 69-44.
The game was close after the first quarter, but Saratoga took it upon themselves to run away with it as they eyed their 10th straight victory. The Blue Streaks scored the first 14 points of the second quarter, jumping out to a 27-9 lead at the time. In total, they outscored Bethlehem 22-5 in the second frame, including hitting a trio of three-pointers that ultimately led to a 21-point halftime lead.
During the same stretch, they kept Bethlehem all but silent on their offensive side, as they missed shot after shot and hit just two field goals during the second quarter.
“We’re clicking, playing well defensively. We got guys hitting shots. When we do both, we’re tough,” Saratoga head coach Matt Usher said.
Later on, the run got even bigger for the Blue Streaks. In the third quarter, Saratoga went on a 21-1 run that grew their lead to as much as 40 late in the frame. Early on, it was threes from both Brian Hart and AJ Lawton being the keys to success during that run and allowed Saratoga to do what they wanted to do on offense. Hart and Lawton finished with 12 points each, leading the Saratoga offensive attack that saw nine different players score.
“We focus on every possession, coming together and getting better every possession, and not taking any possessions off, just not really paying attention to the score, whether if we’re up a lot, we act like it’s 0-0. We don’t want to be out-hustled. We want to be the hardest-working team,” Lawton said.
Saratoga has been playing their best basketball of the season, having won 10 games in a row now and looking good going into sectional play in less than a month.
“We talked about getting better, getting better day-to-day,” Usher said. “It’s not about where you are in December or January, it’s about where you are into February and hopefully into March.”
The team improves to 10-1 in league play this season and 10-2 overall. They will be back in action on Tuesday on the road against La Salle for a 7 p.m. start. They return home on Tuesday, January 30, for a tilt against Mohonasen. That game will also start at 7 p.m.
Bethlehem falls to 8-3 in league play and 8-6 overall. They play again on Friday, January 26 at home against Niskayuna. Start time is set for 7 p.m.