Tuesday, February 6, 2018

High school sports hits the winter homestretch

In 9 days, the coaches of the Capital District High School Hockey League (CDHSHL) will meet to determine the pairings for the league/sectional playoffs, which would begin a few days later. In this league, its points that matter more than wins. Most teams play a semi-independent schedule, and thus don't play as many league games.

Bethlehem (9-0-2 CDHSHL, 13-3-2 overall) can lock up the top seed in the tournament with a win Wednesday night (weather permitting) vs. Niskayuna-Schenectady. Going into the final days of the season, the Eagles have a three point lead over the defending Section II champions from LaSalle, who sit in 2nd place despite having more wins (10-1-2 CDHSHL, 12-3-2 overall) in the league. The Cadets are idle until Friday, when they travel to Burnt Hills for their final road game of the regular season. LaSalle closes with a 2 game homestand starting Saturday with Senior Night vs. Adirondack, and finishing next Tuesday vs. Queensbury. LaSalle is assured of at least one home game in the playoffs as they begin their quest to repeat at Section II champs. If anything, Bethlehem & LaSalle could meet in the finals three weeks from tonight at Union College in a rematch from January 26, which ended in a 4-4 draw.

I'm personally begging Spectrum Sports to show the CDHSHL some love and air the finals live.
At Troy High, the disparity between the boys' & girls' basketball teams was ridiculous this season, as evidenced by the records.

The women sit near the bottom of the Suburban Council's Gray division with a 4-9 league record (5-13 overall) after beating Columbia on Friday. The season ending road trip continues tonight at Albany, which has given Troy nothing but problems the last few years, before wrapping up next week at Schenectady. Coach Paul Bearup's Lady Horses beat the Lady Patriots back in December, and played the Lady Falcons tough in a 10 point loss on January 3 at home.

Personally, I believe Coach Bearup should do a solid for his senior-less club, and decline a bid to the sectionals to spare his team further embarrassment.

Projected finish: 6-14 (5-10 in league play).
In all honesty, the Troy boys, under 1st year head coach Greg Davis, may have cost themselves a 2nd Gray division title in losing to Colonie last week. Yes, they bounced back and beat Columbia, but dropped a non-league game to Middletown on Saturday. All Christian Brothers Academy has to do tonight is beat Schenectady to clinch a tie for the division, and wrap it up by beating Troy on Friday night. However, if the two teams finish in a tie, the tiebreaker would go to Troy by virtue of having previously beaten CBA earlier this season. Troy would have to run the table, and have Schenectady pull the upset tonight. Somehow, I just don't see that happening.

Projected finish for Troy: 12-8 (12-5 league).
Back to LaSalle. I honestly feel that because they're the defending champions, the Cadets, and not Bethlehem, are the team to beat in the playoffs. Like Troy's basketball team, Coach Tim Flanigan (a Troy graduate) doesn't have one go-to scorer. He has at least three or four. That diversity of offense has been key to the Cadets' turnaround the last couple of years. As long as there's not a break in the pipeline, the Cadets will remain contenders for a few more years.

Projected finish: 15-3-2 (13-1-2 league).

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