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January 4, 2013

Chiefs break through against Hornets

SARANAC — No one needed to remind Brent Denis of Saranac’s futility in matchups with Plattsburgh High School.

The fourth-year head coach had yet to beat the Hornets — until Thursday night.



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Saranac, with sharpshooting Michael Conway leading the way and Nick Daniels tough on the boards, finally turned the tables on Plattsburgh with a 59-46 victory in Champlain Valley Athletic Conference boys’ basketball.

The triumph snapped a string of eight straight losses to the Hornets dating back to the 2008-09 season, when the Chiefs, under Gary Castine, went 3-0 against Plattsburgh.

The latest contest started out as though it would be more of the same for Saranac. Plattsburgh grabbed a 14-11 lead after one quarter.

But the Chiefs responded in a big way over the next 16 minutes, outscoring the visitors 35-18 to take command.

“Our defense came to life in the second quarter, and we took better care of the basketball. The first quarter we made some crucial turnovers and didn’t do a good job on the glass,” Denis recalled. “The second quarter we cleaned up our play.

“The third quarter was really the difference, though. Our defense was sharp, and we played with a lot of heart. And we shot well. We were 48 percent from the field for the game.”

Saranac worked its lead up to as high as 16 and never let Plattsburgh get any closer than 11.

“Connor Christopherson hit a couple of crucial shots down the stretch just when it looked as if (Plattsburgh) would get under 10,” Denis noted.

Conway, who led all players with 15, did all of his scoring from beyond the arc.

“He really stepped up. He made his first two shots, and you could see his confidence build,” Denis added.

“Nick Daniels was sensational for us with 12 rebounds. Every one of them came at a crucial time when we needed it. He got six offensive boards and six defensive. The ones he didn’t get, he tipped the ball to keep it alive.”

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