In its first season in the Suburban Council, Albany High's women's basketball team had essentially picked up where they had left off in their final season in the Big 10, beating every opponent put before them. And, as of Tuesday night, they hadn't played the league's other undefeated team, Shenendehowa, yet, though that's still to come.
But if the Lady Falcons and their supporters thought they could coast all the way up to the Shen game, they got a rude wake-up call on the road at Bethlehem.
The Lady Eagles welcomed back their senior star, Jenna Giacone, who, except for a cameo vs. Burnt Hills a week ago, had been out of action with a hamstring injury that, in turn, led to water on the knee. Giacone didn't play in either of Bethlehem's wins at Troy High on January 3 & 8, but lit up the Falcons for 27 points, the last four on technical free throws with under a minute to play.
And, then, that's when things got out of hand.
One lone, angry Albany parent threw a water bottle at one of the referees, perhaps feeling that Albany was getting a raw deal. While the incident was downplayed in the press, that one bottle was enough to convince game officials to halt the proceedings with 42 seconds left in the game, giving Bethlehem a 63-53 win, ending Albany's 12 game season-opening winning streak. Not the way anyone wanted the streak to end, obviously, but it's not the way you want to develop a rivalry between the two schools, either.
With both schools in class AA, it's likely the two teams will meet again in sectional play next month, but Section II would be wise to ensure the game is played at a neutral site to ensure there's not a repeat of what happened. Better to err on the side of caution, then, than to put innocent lives at risk.
And, as for the anonymous, angry parent, a set of Weasel ears is headed to Albany High, as they'll know who to give it to.