Coming off an opening-round win in the Shawn Walsh Memorial tournament, Queensbury met Hewlett in the championship game and was only trailing by three points in the third quarter when Spartans guard Cam Bleibtrey hit the ground hard at midcourt.
Getting up slowly, Bleibtrey held his right elbow with a look of discomfort on his face and walked to the bench where he sat for the rest of the game.
His absence resulted in Queensbury being outscored by 15 points in the third quarter, and the Spartans lost 81-68.
“When he goes out, we are a lot different,” Spartans coach Doug Fraser said. “Not having him in the second half is a big difference, and it was significant.”
As Queensbury’s second-leading scorer, Bleibtrey is averaging 18.4 points per game and scored 30 points in the Spartans 73-60 win Wednesday against Burnt Hills.
Prior to exiting, Bleibtrey had 13 points and hit three 3-pointers.
Without the playmaking of Bleibtrey, the Spartans’ offense, which was already lacking energy, fell even more flat. After falling behind 57-40 at the end of the third quarter, Queensbury cut its deficit to nine points by scoring 15 points in four minutes.
But every time the Spartans made a run, Bulldogs guard Gianluca Preziosi attacked the rim or knocked down an outside shot to push Hewlett’s lead back to double digits.
From the jump, Preziosi found crafty ways to the rim and when left open on the perimeter, he made Queensbury pay. He accounted for nearly half of the Bulldogs’ final total by scoring 38 points while earning tournament MVP honors.
Jeff Van Anden, who scored a team-high 24 points for Queensbury, and Bleibtrey each were named to the all-tournament team, but the Spartans’ top concern after Thursday night is the health of their star guard.
“We are concerned,” Fraser said. “But we are not going to make excuses. We were disappointing from start to finish tonight. There were too many turnovers and too many lapses on defense.”
If Bleibtrey does miss time, expect the majority of the offense to run through Van Anden. He could also see his ball handling duties increase.
Bleibtrey’s younger brother, Bryce, played the majority of the fourth quarter during Cam’s absence. Only a sophomore, the younger Bleibtrey could slide into the starting lineup to help fill his brother’s void.
Hewlett 81, Queensbury 68
2P 3P FT TP
Hill 7 0 8 22
Barry 1 0 2 4
Mannino 3 0 2 8
Preziosi 6 5 11 38
Karkus 1 1 0 5
Weiss 0 0 2 2
Lawes 1 0 0 2
Totals 19 6 25 81
2P 3P FT TP
C Bleibtrey 1 3 2 13
Conway 1 2 1 9
Van Anden 5 3 5 24
Chase 2 1 2 9
B Bleibtrey 0 2 3 9
Rutherford 1 0 0 2
Ladd 1 0 0 2
Totals 11 11 13 68
Hewlett 20 13 24 24 — 81
Queensbury 14 15 11 28 — 68