DELMAR, NY (NEWS10) — A battle of unbeatens in the Section II, Class AA boys basketball ranks proved to be one of the most thrilling matchups of Friday’s hoops slate. Shaker rolled into Delmar, N.Y., boasting a 2-0 record with convincing wins against Columbia and Broadalbin-Perth by an average of 42.5 points per game.
Bethlehem also entered the night at 2-0 with wins over Mechanicville and Guilderland. Only one squad would Friday night still unbeaten, and that was Shaker after hanging on in overtime for a 66-62 win behind a team-best 23 points from senior Zach Matulu.
Bethlehem led by 12 at the half, 39-27, but quickly watched that lead wither away as Blue Bison senior Andrew Church splashed home a three-pointer at the 5:43 mark, capping an 8-0 run that brought Shaker within four points, and forced an A.G. Irons timeout.
The Eagles answered out of the break, though, when senior guard Logan Yohe connected on a triple to put his team back up seven points at 42-35. But Shaker would not go away. With the lead chopped down to one in the early stages of the fourth quarter, Matulu led a fastbreak, and found freshman Sean Hurley for an easy layup, putting the Blue Bison ahead 43-42.
Hurley added to that advantage minutes later, sinking a trey ball off an inbound that gave Shaker its’ largest lead of the game at six points. Bethlehem showed no quit, though, fighting back to bring the game within one possession, and Irons called a timeout with 5.4 seconds remaining to draw up a potential tying, or go-ahead play.
Off the inbound, senior Dylan Austin had a look at a corner three for the win and missed, but Yohe secured the offensive rebound, stuck the put-back layup, and sent the game into overtime at 56-56. And the extra period belonged to Shaker. With the game knotted up at 61-61, Matulu drove inside, missed the lay-in attempt, collected his own miss, and converted on the follow, earning his team-high 22nd and 23rd points. The Blue Bison would salt the game away at the free throw line from there, securing the 66-62 victory.
Shaker (3-0) hits the road again Tuesday for its’ next contest – a 6:30 p.m. battle with Troy. Bethlehem (2-1) will also play an away match Tuesday; the Eagles are set to square off with Saratoga Springs. Opening tip-off against the Blue Streaks is slated for 7:00 p.m.