February 13, 2010
Frosh shoots down Indians
Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Groton’s Nick Conway (12) goes up against Moravia’s Lee Wakefield (22) for the rebound in the third quarter of Friday’s IAC showdown. Visiting Moravia pulled out a 58-55 victory.
GROTON — It was a night meant to honor Groton Central senior boys, but it was an unshaken freshman for the visitors who stole the show Friday night at Richard Court Gymnasium.
Moravia frosh Dylan Powers hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 2.1 seconds remaining to propel the visiting Blue Devils to a 58-55 victory and the Interscholastic Athletic Conference North Small School Division championship.
Powers’ shot ended a Groton rally from 15 points down with seven minutes left in the game and spoiled an equally great play by an underclassman for the Indians that tied this game at 55-all.
In that scenario, Groton’s Greg Murray leapt over the end line after an errant shot by classmate Josh Senter. Before his feet landed out-of-bounds, the senior wheeled and threw a perfect pass to teammate Keegan Donovan.
The sophomore point guard buried the 3-pointer from the left elbow with 22 seconds remaining and kept the Indians hopes of forcing a tie-breaker game for the division title alive.
After the time-out, Moravia inbounded the ball to senior Pat Mott, who led all scorers with 23 points. He could not shake free from Isiah Young and made a nice pass to Powers for the game-winning shot.
The escape advances the Blue Devils (15-1 North Division, 15-2 overall) to the 8 p.m. Overall Small School Championship game Thursday against South Division champion Spencer-Van Etten (13-3), a 54-28 winner over Candor Friday night.
Groton finishes up 13-3 in league play and overall.
Mott took charge of a Blue Devil team that was without injured senior Jeremy Stewart and junior Nick Dwyer, who fouled out of the game with 5:33 to play.
“We knew when Jeremy went down that everyone would have to step up,” Mott said. “Even after we lost to Lansing Wednesday, we told Coach (Todd Mulvaney) not to worry, we were still going to do it. This was the most heart and desire I have ever seen this team play with. Every guy, one to 10, from starter to bench, played with all their heart and desire tonight.
“This was a huge win for us,” he continued. “This was one of our goals, to win the division title and get back to the IAC championship game. Groton is a good team and to beat them on their home floor made it all the sweeter.”
“I EXPECTED NOTHING but a fight the entire game,” Mulvaney said. “No matter how big a lead we had, I know you can never feel safe against Groton. They are a very good team and they can shoot the ball very well. They are well-coached and I knew it would be a battle because it is a big rivalry game for us. We just came out on the right end tonight.
“What a huge shot our freshman (Powers) made,” he added. “We are very proud of the kids tonight. Pat has also stepped up all year and is a very special kid. I am very fortunate to have him. Pat is the kind of player who is working o his game in the spring, summer, fall and during the season. I trust him 100 percent with the ball in his hands He deserved his moment in the spotlight to lead this team and he knew how to get the ball to Dylan for the winning shot.”
How important was it to return to the IAC title game after the overall championship to Watkins Glen in overtime last year at TC3?
“We are so excited to be back in the title game,” Mulvaney said. “We were so close last year, losing to a tough Watkins Glen team. It was a goal to get back there this year as soon as that game ended last year. I am so pumped that we are getting another chance.”
With a 2-3 zone and some variations, Moravia kept Groton off-balance much of the game as the Indians struggled to find their shooting range.
“We did try to mix it up and give then different looks,” Mulvaney said. “We did match-up a few times. We showed some man-to-man and really tired to match-up with what they were running on offense. Luckily, they weren’t hitting their shot as well tonight. It doesn’t look as good when you catch them on a night they are on fire with their shooting.”
“It was a pretty good high school basketball game, wasn’t it,” Groton coach John Filzen said. “They was a pretty good team that beat us tonight. We are really two evenly-matched teams. It was a pretty gutsy shot by our sophomore (Donovan) to tie the game and a nice shot by their freshman to win it.
“We talked about it after the game,” he continued. “It was a game where we didn’t shoot the ball as well. We usually do shoot well, especially at home, but give Moravia some credit. They are long and tipped some shots early. They was a lot going on tonight in the gym. It was loud, there was a lot of pressure. That is something we need to learn to handle a little better.”
AN EVENLY PLAYED first quarter finished deadlocked at 16-16.
Moravia used a 9-1 run to open the second quarter with momentum. Mott scored seven of the nine points as the Blue Devils went up 25-17 with 3:47 left in the half.
Filzen called a time-out to settle his boys down.
The Indians responded with an 8-0 run to knot the score at 25-25 with 1:49 left in the half. Donovan (10 points) started the run with a lay-up off a nice pass from Ethan Tilebein, who then drained back-to-back 3-pointers which force Mulvaney to call a time-out.
The Blue Dvils came came right out and scored on a short jumper by Mott.
Greg Pasho (11 points) sent the visitors to the locker room with momentum by hitting a trey from the top of the key with three seconds showing in the first half to make the score 30-25.
Moravia appeared to put the game away by starting the third quarter with a 12-4 run. Mott hit a 3-pointer to start things off. Dylan Powers (10 points) scored on a tip-in offensive rebound and Dwyer drove the lane for two more points before Groton called a time out.
Senter (10 points) connected from behind the arc and he then made one-of-two free throws to slow down the Moravia assault, but the Blue Devils answered back, Dylan Powers nailed another 3-pointer, Dillon Langtry drove the lane for a lay-up and Mott scored and lay-up and as fouled.
Mott added the free throw for a 45-29 advantage with 2:46 left in the quarter,
Donovan ended the quarter with a trey for Groton, who trailed by 13 entering the fourth quarter.
A driving lay-up by Pasho put Moravia up 47-32 just 48 seconds into the fourth quarter, but then the comeback began.
After trading two points each, Groton used a 10-0 run to narrow the deficit to 49-44. Young hit a short jumper and Tilebein (12 points) stole the ball an scored on a lay-in.
The Indians got the ball right back and Tilebein again drove the lane. This time he stepped on the foot of a Moravia player, rolled his ankle while being fouled and left the game until the final two seconds.
Murray came in and made the two free throws for Tilebein and then scored on a lay-up before Moravia called time-out.
MOTT SCORED AND Pasho made both ends of a one-and-one as Moravia built a 53-44 cushion, but back came Groton.
Nick Conway (11 points) hit a 3-point range, Lee Wakefield missed a free throw for Moravia and Senter buried a trey from the win as Groton closed to within 53-50 with 1:13 remaining.
A good defensive stand got the ball back for the Indians. Conway was fouled with 47.2 seconds to play. He made both free throws and Groton trailed 53-52.
Mott made two free throws with 42 seconds showing. Moravia led 55-52 to set the stage for the fantastic finish.
Groton got the time-out after Powers winning shot, but never got a final shot off in the remaining 2.1 seconds. The Indians will now have time to heal prepare for Section 4 Tournament play which begins Feb. 22 or 23.
Whitney Point at Dryden: A power failure at the high school with three minutes left in the JV game forced play to be halted for the evening. The JVs will resume today at 6 p.m. The varsity game will be played Monday at 6 p.m.
IN GIRLS’ PLAY —
Moravia 50, Groton 47: Groton put out a good fight, but Moravia pulled out a 50-47 home-court win.
Megan Ideman scored 17 points to lead the Blue Devils (7-9, 7-10 overall). Maria Heffernan added 14 points to the winning attack.
Shelby Warner paced Groton (2-14, 2-16) with 15 points. Kylene Hall chipped in with 11 points.
The IAC Small School championship games will be Thursday at TC3. At 6 p.m., South Division champion Tioga girls (15-0, 15-1) will meet either Union Springs (12-4, 13-4) or Southern Cayuga (12-4, 13-4). Union Springs defeated Southern Cayuga 33-26 last night to force a tie-breaker game to be played early next week to determine the North Small School Division champion.
The IAC Large School championship games are set for Friday at TC3. North Division champion Lansing (16-0, 17-0) will meet South Division champion Watkins Glen (13-2, 14-3) at 6 p.m. in the girls’ title tilt. At 8 p.m., North Division champion Lansing (11-5, 11-6 overall) battles South Division champion Elmira Notre Dame (14-1, 15-2) for the boys’ crown.
To read this article and more, pick up today's Cortland Standard
Click here to subscribe