January 13, 2010


Groton knocks off rival Dryden


Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Dryden’s Christian Jenne (15) gets past Groton’s Greg Murray (24) for two points in the first quarter of Tuesday’s IAC showdown. Host Groton was a 69-58 winner.

Staff Writer

GROTON — It had all the intensity of a meeting between the Hatfields and the McCoys when Dryden High boys traveled to Groton Central for a Tuesday night basketball rematch.
In the end, it was Josh Senter lighting up the home crowd at Richard Court Gymnasium as the senior guard blistered the nets for 31 points as Groton grabbed a hard-fought 69-58 Interscholastic Athletic Conference North Division victory.
The Indians improve to 7-2 in the Small School Division and overall, and also avenged a 64-49 loss in Dryden back in December.
Dryden’s Purple Lions slip to 6-3 in the Large School Division, 7-3 overall back into a first-place tie in the division with Whitney Point (6-3, 6-4), a 44-41 winner over Southern Cayuga.
While Senter was the big scoring threat, it was still a team effort as the Indians were without Nick Conway (ankle) and survived an Ethan Tilebein off-night. Groton coach John Filzen had his players look inside for points and Brandon Peckham responded with 15 points and 12 rebounds.
“It’s tough to lose a player like Nick,” Peckham said. “He’s a real good ball player. Personally, he’s one of my best friends. That means everyone on the bench needs to improve and needs to step up, that includes me. I’m not going to be lazy and have everyone else step up. I’m going to work my butt off as hard as I can.
“We worked real well down low tonight,” he added. “I had to help set the tone and I guess I did that. I felt like I had to play well for Nick. I love basketball and I always will.”
“This was a player’s victory tonight,” Filzen said. “They really gutted it out. We had a lead, gave that lead up, let them take a lead and came back.
“Josh just took over near the end of the first half,” he continued,. “He made some big shots. The bench made some contributions. Nick Coombs played well. Isiah Young played well. Greg Murray played well. It really was a team effort. We played a big, physical team tonight. It was good to get the win.”
As for Peckham?
“He’s been coming on,” Filzen replied. “He has really had some big games for us lately. He is playing with more confidence. The best part is that his teammates are really starting to understand his potential. We have been working on getting the ball inside more and it is starting to work.”
For Purple Lion coach Kim Brown, it was like an uphill battle all night long.
“We were just not rotating quick enough to the ball,” Brown stated. “Everyone knew we switched screens in the first game. We were just a step slow tonight doing that. Part of that is to Groton’s credit.
“Groton also did a better job of not letting us get into our offense,” he added. “They did a real nice job defensively.”
WITH ANDREW BARBER and Andrew Horton struggling a bit because of foul trouble, freshman Bryan Norman stepped up and played one of his best games. Norman led the purple Lions with 16 points while Christian Jenne netted 13 points.
“Brian Norman had a wonderful game,” Coach Brown said. “He let the game come to him for the first time in a long time. When he had an opportunity to get to the rim, he did. He worked hard on the glass, He is earning the respect of everyone on this team.”
It a first quarter of little scoring spurts. Groton built a 16-9 lead behind Senter (seven points) with some help from Peckham and Tilebein, but the final two minutes saw Dryden tighten up defensively. A bucket by Jenne and a strong inside score by Zack LeViere allowed the Purple Lions to pull to within 16-13.
The Purple Lions carried that momentum into the second quarter. Andrew Horton scored on a driving lay-up while being fouled and he added the free throw to tie the game. Norman made two free throws and scored on a drive along the baseline for a 20-16 Purple Lion advantage.
The teams traded points until Senter buried a 3-pointer from the wing to tie the game at 24-24. Senter drained another trey from the elbow and a third 3-pointer from the top of the key helped Groton take a 30-26 edge with 1:58 left in the half.
After Groton senior Allen Gallow (six points, nine rebounds) and Dryden senior Dan Holland traded buckets, Gallow scored on an offensive tip-in just before the buzzer to give Groton a 34-28 lead ending into the locker room.
“He and Brandon have stepped in for Nick Conway,” Filzen said. “It gives us more height and that tip-in at the end of the half was all effort. That’s what I’ve been telling the guys that they need to do. Go beyond what you think you can do. That was a big play for us.”
DRYDEN STARTED the second half strong as LeViere scored the first two points and Jenne scored a 3-pointer from the wing as the Purple Lions closed to within 34-33. Unfortunately, fouls and some turnovers allowed Groton to go on a 13-4 run and built a 47-37 cushion. Peckham scored 10 of those 13 points while Brown used three timeouts to try and settle his team down and have a conversation with the officials as the Indians were in the bonus (one-and-one) with 2:14 still remaining in the third quarter.
By the end of the quarter, Groton led 55-41. That included a four-point play by Senter with 41 seconds left. Senter launched a 3-pointer from the right wing and was fouled. The shot went in and he made the free throw.
Leading by 13, Groton was content to split points over the final eight minutes and post the victory.
Groton will host Southern Cayuga in North Small School Division action Friday. Dryden will be home as well to host Lansing in a Large School Division clash.
GROTON JVS were on fire Tuesday night and rolled to a 78-28 win over Dryden in the opening game of the night. The Junior Indians led 53-19 at halftime behind the hot-shooting from behind the arc.
Brett Conger scored 17 points for Groton. Quin Walpole added 15 points and Tajzmere McKnight netted 14 points. Keith Goodenough led Dryden with eight points. James Seeley chipped in with six points.