B y Keith Harrington
The Whitehall boys basketball team may have had a little extra incentive as Granville entered their Adirondack League game with a record of 11-0, and it paid off with a stunning 66-58 victory for the Railroaders.
Whitehall coach Keith Redmond has one of the area’s leading scorers in Evan St. Claire who averages about 27 points a game, and his usual stellar play combined with a balanced offensive performance by his teammates resulted in the upset.
“We moved the ball well and found the open man,” Redmond said.
Granville raced out to a 20-15 lead after one quarter and the lead swelled to 12 at 28-16 before a defensive switch turned the momentum in Whitehall’s favor.
“We started in a 3-2 matchup zone, and Granville did a good job of finding the seams and hitting the shots early,” Redmond said. “We got down by 12 and switched to man-to-man.”
The defensive change allowed Whitehall to outscore Granville 10-9 in the quarter to cut the lead to 30-24 at the half.
“They ended the half on an 8-2 run,” Granville coach Grant Sharrow said. “It was a tale of two halves. The second half we did not rebound very well. They made shots and free throws at the end and we did not.”
The Railroaders surged ahead in the third quarter and did not look back. Whitehall used a 22-13 advantage in the stanza to take a 46-43 lead headed to the fourth. With 20-15 fourth quarter, Whitehall made the plays they needed to down the stretch.
“Our defense responded well and had a great second half,” Redmond said. “I couldn’t be more proud of the way that we are playing team basketball. This is a huge win for our program.”
Despite the loss, Sharrow was able to put things in perspective.
“You have to give Whitehall credit,” he said. “They outworked us. This game was a wakeup call for us. We know now that everyone will play their best and hardest against us.”
St. Claire led Whitehall with 28 points. Dawson Procella added 12 points, while Kyle Welch chipped in 10.
St. Claire also had three assists and three steals. Andrew Genier hauled in nine rebounds, while Welch collected eight boards.
Granville was led by 20 points from Matthew Fuller. Trace Bourn added 17 and Matthew Parker 13.
Earlier in the week Whitehall defeated North Warren, 82-67. The Railroaders led 39-32 at halftime in this one and outscored the Cougars 43-35 over the final two quarters.
St. Claire scored 33 in the contest to pace Whitehall. Procella poured in 25 points, and Zac Barber added 10.
With the two wins Whitehall is now 6-3 in the ADK and 8-4 overall.
The Railroaders face Hartford at home this Friday night, and the game will feature a significant moment for the Railroaders as Danny St. Clair, who has been battling cancer, is expected to make his return to the Whitehall hardwood.