By CONNOR WOOD
COXSACKIE – The Rensselaer Rams traveled to Coxsackie-Athens Tuesday, Feb. 5, for a boys basketball game. The Rams defeated the Indians 55-51 on their home court earlier in the season, but this game was different as Coxsackie-Athens won 58-43 on Military Appreciation Night.
Rensselaer came out of the gates hot with a 7-2 run, led by Amani Nixon. However, the Rams couldn’t keep the lead for long, as they had four turnovers in the first quarter. That resulted in a 12-5 run for Coxsackie-Athens that put the Indians ahead 14-12.
The second quarter was similar to the first quarter. Both teams came out flat and turned the ball over several times. Rensselaer scored the first five points in the period, but Coxsackie-Athens forced several turnovers to regain the momentum. The Indians finished the first half with an 8-4 spurt to build a 22-21 halftime lead.
C-A head coach Tyronne Coleman went into the locker room at halftime looking to make adjustments after the Indians totaled seven turnovers in the first half. C-A did out-rebound Rensselaer 14-13 in the first half and forced six Rams turnovers.
“We wanted to spread the court a little more and move the ball better,” said Coleman. “Once we were able to do that, we were able to pick up the pace.”
Both teams came out of the locker room fired up, and they traded baskets back and forth as they each looked for an edge over the other. Rensselaer was sloppy with the ball yet again, turning it over six times in the period. This gave C-A a chance to go on a run. Led by seniors Tyler Oravsky and Gil Bell, the Indians opened up a 41-35 lead.
C-A never looked back in the fourth quarter, going on a quick six-point run to open the period to expand its lead to 12 points. The Indians’ defense also limited Rensselaer to 10 points in the last eight minutes, which helped them close out the game with a 58-45 victory.
Bell finished with 20 points and 14 rebounds, while Oravsky had a strong all-around game with 13 points, four assists and eight boards. Killian Schrader added 10 points, including a pair of three-pointers.
Nixon finished with 10 points to lead Rensselaer.
Coxsackie-Athens looks to keep its momentum going Friday, Feb. 8, when it hosts Hudson in a late-season match-up that has a lot on the line, as far as seeding for the Section 2 Class B tournament goes.
“We are all meeting and watching our first game against [Hudson], and we are hoping to have a big outing on Friday night,” said Coleman.
Connor Wood is a student at Coxsackie-Athens High School and an intern with Capital Region HS Sports.