The team has not lost since December 4, in a non-league game against Broadalbin-Perth. Since then, the team has reeled off 14 straight wins, not to mention avenging their loss to Broadalbin-Perth during their rematch at home January 22. Their overall record for the season stands at 15-1 and 13-0 against their Wasaren League rivals.
Of course, if you ask the head coach or the players, they’re not thinking about any other game than the one in front of them. The next game in particular a pending rematch with Hoosick Falls, who Schuylerville defeated by 28 points earlier this season, is all that remains between them and sweeping the league.
Head coach Matt Sgambati, now in his 13th season at the helm for Schuylerville, says he’s not surprised by the team’s success, but remains cognizant that the season hasn’t ended yet and that there are no easy wins left in front of them.
“I knew it was possible but we still have some league games left but to finish undefeated would be quite an accomplishment. [Our opponents] are probably going to do whatever they can do make sure we don’t finish unbeaten,” Sgambati said.
Their head coach’s humility has rubbed off on the players, who seem to have gotten his message and began racking up wins in the process.
“Our goal has been to win the league, we were really hopeful to win the league,” senior guard Tyler Hayes said. “Going unbeaten would just be a bonus.”
For the Sectional playoffs, the Black Horses have likely ensured themselves a home game in the first round before moving to neutral sites for the following rounds. Despite the home court advantage, Sgambati knows the Sectionals will be a challenge for his squad.
“We’re just looking to finish up the regular season and the Class B teams are going to be real tough. There are probably eight to ten teams who could realistically win the section.”
The core players for the Black Horses are seniors, some of whom have played for the varsity squad since they were freshman. As far as groups from Schuylerville High School go, the coach recognized this particular group as special.
“They’re definitely one of the better groups that I’ve had over the last 13 years,” said Sgambati.
A big part of the scoring has come from seniors Shane Lyon and Dan Waldron, who are both likely to eclipse 200 points for the regular season. 21 of Lyon’s 48 made field goals this season have come from beyond the three-point line.
The players know to stay grounded heading into the Sectional playoffs and have dealt with expectations in stride. Waldron warned that the toughest wins came in the proverbial “trap game,” the idea of not going full effort when facing an opponent perceived to be inferior.
“I think the hardest games for us were the ones where there weren’t the big expectations, where we didn’t have to get so hyped up. Believe it or not, if you’ve been a player before you know that’s hard against a not so-great-team,” said Waldron.
“We’re going one game at a time, that’s been our motto this year and I think that’s why we’re doing so well,” Hayes said. “We’re not really looking down the line and we’re only playing the game that’s in front of us.”
Schuylerville returns to action February 8 in their regular season finale at home against Hoosick Falls. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.