WARRENSBURG - The local high school basketball team pulled off a stunning upset Saturday afternoon as they beat Berlin 64-55 in a quarterfinal of the Section II Class D tournament at St. Rose College.
Warrensburg, sixth seed in the tournament with an 7-13 regular season record that obscures their considerable talent, overturned third-seeded Berlin.
The Burghers pulled off the victory with a blockbuster, frenetic third quarter in which junior guard Mike Perrone was in the middle of the action.
Coming out of the locker room at halftime with 26-26 on the scoreboard, the Burghers focused their attack to accomplish the scoring onslaught, Perrone said Monday.
"At half-time, we came out strong, pushed the ball hard on transitions to get easy buckets, and forced Berlin to attempt contested shots instead of easy layups," he said. "We were really clicking, and that broke it open."
This scoring spree was a balanced attack. Four Burgher players ended up the game in double figures.
Backing up Perrone's scoring tirade were junior Brendan Frye with 12 points - including two 3-pointers - sophomore Ryan Belden with 11, senior Jordan Webster with 10 and sophomore Mike Curtis with 9 and senior Tom Holmgren with 6.
Perrone said the team chemistry was finally brewing up results after a long season.
"We were passing the ball well, always looking for the open man," he said.
Junior Brendan Frye said it felt good to see one basket after another light up the scoreboard in an unprecedented avalanche of points.
"We passed well and opened up a lot of scoring opportunities," he said. "We just got in a 'zone' and played as a team."
Only the players and Coach Rich Schloss know what he said to the team in his halftime lockerroom talk to inspire them to make such a dramatic change.
Apparently Schloss didn't mince words over his opinion that first-half defense was lacking.
"Our players got fired up, then played great defense and took advantage of opportunities," Rich recalled of the record-setting third quarter. "We cut way back back on turnovers and took advantage of the turnovers we got - it was really a group effort."
Senior Jordan Webster, who hasn't seen much floor time this season, was the X-factor in the upset, Schloss said.
"Jordan really stepped up and contributed well," he said. "He gave us a really hard game."
On Tuesday, Warrensburg was scheduled to play No. 7 Duanesburg, an upset winner over Rensselaer, later that day in the Glens Falls Civic Center.
Frye said the victory over Berlin had one big benefit for the Burgher underclassmen.
"We're happy about the win because it means we'll have the seniors around for at least one more game," he said.