January 16, 2016

Olympians’ rally subdues Groton

BBALLJoe McIntyre/staff photographer
Marathon’s Adam Brandstadt drives around Groton’s Nate Ossit in the second quarter Friday at McDonald Gym.

Staff Writer

MARATHON — Adam Brandstadt lit the fuse and Ryan Tillotson was the bomb as Marathon Central boys rallied from a 12-point third quarter deficit to post a huge Interscholastic Athletic Conference North Small School Division win over Groton inside a very loud McDonald Gymnasium Friday night.
Brandstadt scored nine straight points and Tillotson hit a game-tying 3-pointer during a 12-0 run to close out the third quarter before another Tillotson NBA-range trey put Marathon up 47-43 with 1:38 to go that helped the Olympians post the 53-44 triumph.
The Olympian win avenged a 47-45 last-second loss in Groton back on Dec. 11. Marathon has won three of its last four to improve to 4-4 in IAC play and 5-7 overall. Groton slips to 4-5, 6-7 overall.
“Coach told me to start attacking the basket,” Brandstadt said, Coach Jim Holland providing that second half urging. “When he says that he means it. If I didn’t he’d probably sit me on the bench.
“My jump shot wasn’t falling, so that was what I needed to do, attack. Paul Brecht did have four fouls, so it was just better to keep attacking him,” he added. “Coach kept telling us that we were the better team the whole night. It did finally show that in the second half.”
“Adam did a good job when we were down by 12,” Tillotson said. “He really got us going. The gym got really loud and we played much better. The shots started falling. We always play a lot better at home. We just never got that last shot off in Groton and lost that one. It was a lot better tonight.
“I do get confident when I hit one or two big 3-pointers,” he continued. “That one I hit, it better go in because I could hear coach in my mind going no, oh nice shot. I might have been in trouble if I missed that one.”
BOTH COACHES obviously felt the pressure of the game. For Coach Holland, it was a much-needed win for the Olympians. For Groton’s John D’Antonio, it was one that got away.
“When we play like we should, look out,” Holland said. “We can put points on the board in a hurry. When we started hitting some shots, it helped us pick up on the defensive end as well. The home court really does make a difference. You’re not as nervous on your home court. That helped Groton win over there and being home tonight helps us here tonight.
“Ryan just hits big shots when we need them,” he continued. “That 3-pointer to put us up by four was huge. He gets a little more of a free pass at times. My eighth-grader (Diego Castellot) didn’t make me a liar. I told him by January he would start performing and he did a really good job tonight. Our three-guard set helps us get more pressure on them. That’s what really helped us once we made that switch.”
“They just turned their defensive intensity up,” D’Antonio said. “We got soft and we got scared to win. They forced us into some bad decisions. They deserved to win. They played better than us down the stretch. Marathon made the plays they needed to. We played hard for 21 minutes. I can’t fault our effort. It is tough to win on the road in this league.
“We held Brandstadt to four points in the first half,” he continued. “He stepped up like a leader should and got 11 points in the second half. Their leaders led the way, that was the difference. Tillotson and Brandstadt had 25 of their 32 second half points. It makes a huge difference when leaders make plays.”
GROTON, PLAYING WITHOUT junior starter Tyler Banfield due to an ankle injury, got off to a good start while Marathon struggled early.
Andrew Ferris won the opening tip and Nate Ossit finished with a driving lay-up five seconds into the game. Ferris stole a ball on the very next sequence and had a big dunk for the 4-0 led 35 seconds in. That four point cushion held up through the quarter as the Indians led 17-13.
Groton kept control of play in the second quarter. A Ferris bucket and Canaan Bowie recorded a steal and lay-up to put the Indians up 27-16 with 1:33 left in the first half. Tillotson was fouled on a 3-point attempt and made all three free throws whit 57 second s left in the half. Brandstadt added a driving lay-up with 38 ticks left as Marathon pulled to within 27-21 at the halftime buzzer.
Led by Ferris’ rebounding and scoring inside, Groton looked to put the game away in the third quarter. He grabbed a defensive rebound and drove the length of the court for a lay-up. Ferris then scored on an offensive put-back to give Groton a 35-24 lead with five minutes left in the third quarter. Bowie hit a jumper and Ferris one of two free throws for a 38-26 cushion with 3:27 left in the quarter.
This is where the tide turned.
Brandstadt drove the lane, made the shot, was fouled and added the free throw to start the run. After a Groton miss, Brandstadt was fouled and made both free throws to pull Marathon to within 38-31.Brandstadt found more holes, drove the lane two more times as the Olympians trailed 38-35 with 51 seconds left in the quarter. Marathon got one last possession and Tillotson drilled a 3-pointer from the right elbow with four seconds showing to tie the game at 38-38.
BOWIE GAVE GROTON a 39-38 lead to open the fourth quarter before Castellot knocked down his 3-pointer for a 41-39 Marathon advantage.
Between missed shots and steals, points were hard to come by until Tillotson hit again from the right elbow. His fourth trey put the Olympians in front for good at 44-42 with 3:33 to play,
With 1:38 remaining, Tillotson’s fifth 3-pointer put the Olympians up 47-43. Brandstadt and Tillotson put hit each end of one-and-one chances to bump the margin to 51-43 and Matt Tebbe closed it out with a steal and big dunk with 9.4 seconds remaining for the 53-43 cushion.
Tillotson finished the night with 22 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals. Brandstadt added six assists and three rebounds to his 15 point effort and Tebbe only scored six points, but pulled down eight rebounds, blocked five shots and recorded three assists.
Bowie netted 17 points to pace Groton. Ferris had 12 points and 12 rebounds for the double-double.
With the game done, everyone looked towards the drive for sectionals.
We need that 50 percent record to reach sectionals,” Brandstadt said. “We are hoping to get over that.
“We want to make sectionals,” Tillotson added. “We really don’t want to be a bottom seed and have to go to some top seed at the road in the first round. Something a little easier would be nice first, but we will be happy when we get in.”
“We’re still alive,” D’Antonio said. “We have a lot of season left to play. We are going to have to step up and win on the road. It’s a challenge and I hope our guys are up to that challenge.”
Marathon will host Moravia Tuesday while Groton will host Tioga.
GROTON JVs had no trouble during a 70-40 win over Marathon. Adam Cronk led the Junior Indians with 15 points. Scott Salch added 14 points and Greg Pinkowski 10 points to the winning cause. Michael Hoyt and Mason O’Donnell each had nine points to lead Marathon.


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