Beavers surge past Lake Placid

Lake Placid’s Jarell Paul uses a pick by teammate Logan Brown to get past Keene’s Antonio Finsterer during second-half action Wednesday in Lake Placid. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)

LAKE PLACID — At least defensively, the Lake Placid boys basketball got off to a much better start on Wednesday when it faced Keene Central for the second time this season.

But in the end, the Blue Bombers couldn’t keep pace with the Beavers, who surged to a 49-27 victory to sweep the two regular-season meetings between the teams.

They met up for the first in Mountain and Valley Athletic Conference play on Dec. 8 at Keene, and in that game, the Beavers got off to an incredible start, racing out to a 27-0 lead before winning by a 64-21 score. Playing at home the second time around, the Blue Bombers kept things tight early and only trailed 18-12 at halftime, but couldn’t match up with Keene’s quickness on defense and in transition down the stretch.

Senior brothers Antonio and Azriel Finsterer led Keene with 18 and 11 points, respectively, and teammate Damian Brown chipped in 10 points. Stetson Craig paced Lake Placid with a team-high 12 points, which included a pair of three-pointers.

Craig knocked down his first three in the closing seconds of the opening quarter to send the Blue Bombers into the next period trailing 9-8. The Beavers extended their advantage slightly to lead by six at halftime and then took over in the third by outscoring the Blue Bombers 15-7 to own a 14-point edge entering the fourth. Two straight field goals, including a three-pointer from the baseline by Matt Brandes, cut Keene’s lead to 37-26 with 5:30 remaining, but the Beavers answered by converting a pair of steals into Antonio Finsterer layups to end any chances of a Blue Bombers’ comeback.

Keene’s Josh Baldwin and Justin Briggs of Lake Placid chase a loose ball during the second half of Wednesday’s game on the Blue Bombers floor. Also pictured is Keene forward Damien Brown, who tossed in 10 points. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)

Keene closed out the game with a 12-1 run to improve to 5-4 in MVAC play. The victory snapped a three-game losing slide for the Beavers, who were 4-1 five games into the season. Two of Keene’s setbacks in the skid were by two and five points. The Beavers suffered their most lopsided loss of the year on Monday, falling by 12 to Schroon Lake.

“Playing defense and getting out in transition – that’s where we feel comfortable,” Keene coach Chad Lopez said. “We just couldn’t get the shots to go down early. I was much happier with the second half. At halftime, I told my guys ‘Pick your heads up, stick your chests out, you’re still the same guys. Just because you had a bad half, you didn’t put the ball in the basket doesn’t mean anything. You’re still our team, you’re still our guys. When we’re going good, you’re really good players.'”

Lake Placid head coach Brian VanNostrand said Keene’s defensive switch at halftime made it difficult for his guards after intermission. He said the Finsterers’ quickness forced his players into several turnovers.

“They changed up defense, and in the long run just kind of frustrated us. We couldn’t pick our spots like we were able to against their original defense,” Van Nostrand said. “Those two just pushed it out toward half court and stopped our momentum. It felt like as soon as we got the ball, one of them was right there on the spot. You can’t make mistakes against those two. They’ll make you pay with a quick steal and a quick layup at the other end.

“Defensively, we’re getting at it a little bit better,” VanNostrand continued. “One thing I liked that I saw was even though we were down, we still had some spurts when we came back and pulled it back within a little bit. It’s just that against a tough team like Keene, it’s hard to make those runs and expect them not to make a matching run.”

Lake Placid dropped to 1-8 with the loss.

The Blue Bombers will play two more home games this week, starting with Friday’s matchup against Indian Lake/Long Lake, which is slated for 6:30 p.m. Lake Placid then hosts Saranac Lake Saturday at 2:30 p.m. The Beavers will next be on the road Friday at Crown Point.

Keene 49, Lake Placid 27

Beavers 9 9 15 16 — 49

Lake Placid 8 4 7 8 — 27

Keene (49)

Buysse 0-0-0, Brown 4-2-10, Shambo 1-0-2, An. Finsterer 8-2-18, Dick 0-0-0, Az. Finsterer 4-1-11, Baldwin 3-0-7, Isham 0-1-1. Totals: 20-6-49.

Lake Placid

Izzo 0-0-0, Paul 2-0-4, M. Brandes 1-0-3, Novick 2-0-5, Brown 0-0-0, White 0-0-0, Briggs 0-1-1, Craig 5-0-12, C. Brandes 0-0-0, Perry 0-0-0, Coursen 1-0-2. Totals: 11-1-27.

Three-point goals: Keene (3), Az. Finsterer 2, Baldwin. Lake Placid (4), Novick, Craig 2, Brandes.