Ten months ago, the Bishop Ludden boys basketball team survived a tense, close battle with Watervliet at Glens Falls Civic Center and emerged with the state Division II title.
The stakes weren’t as high for last Saturday's rematch at College of St. Rose in Albany, but the result was the same – a Gaelic Knights victory, this time by a more lopsided 64-41 margin.
Each side could claim a disadvantage going into the contest. Watervliet had played the night before in a tough league game against Cohoes, eventually prevailing 73-62 in overtime.
However, Ludden had the longer distance to travel – and the extra obstacle of a winter snowstorm that hit Syracuse and delayed the Gaelic Knights’ bus ride to Albany.
Maybe that delay had something to do with the way the game started. Ludden, still scrambling to find its rhythm, could only trade rare baskets with the Cannoneers and trailed, 12-11, at the end of the first quarter.
But once the Gaelic Knights started the second quarter on a 16-2 run, it was in control for good. During that decisive period, Ludden outscored Watervliet (who missed its first 10 shots of the period) 23-5, with the trio of Dan Kaigler, Ben Hackett and Jack Rauch leading the way.
Kaigler hit on everything from dunks to 3-pointers, and Hackett’s drives to the basket were too difficult to stop. As for Rauch, his eight points, five rebounds and four assists in the half included a banked-in 3-pointer from half court as the horn sounded, making it 34-17 at the break.
Ludden steadily added to that margin in the second half, and showed terrific scoring balance. Hackett led with 15 points, while Kaigler and Rauch each picked up 12 points and Zach Walser, with 10 points, also hit double figures.
Bishop Ludden’s girls basketball team had a tournament to attend to in Watkins Glen during the holiday break, arriving there with a 2-5 record.