February 13, 2016
Dryden title denied
Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Anthony Nichols, 1, of Dryden, drives into teammate Ali Abel-Ferretti, 21, on his way to the basket, as Jon Ward and Hunter Bodine, of Waverly defend Friday at TC3.
DRYDEN — Jeff Mitchell hit a short jump shot in the lane with 50 seconds remaining in regulation time to give Waverly its only lead in the second half, but it was enough.
After Mitchell’s eight-foot shot put Waverly on top 46-45, the Wolverines defense thwarted two Dryden High scoring attempts in the final 24 seconds to emerge victorious by that score in the Interscholastic Athletic Conference Overall Large School championship game played in front of a full house at Tompkins Cortland Community College Friday night.
It was a much different outcome than the 68-42 home court drubbing the Purple Lions gave the Wolverines just one week ago in the regular season finale for both teams.
“We knew we had to attack the zone in the middle and Jeff is one of my more explosive players,” Waverly coach Lou Judson said of Mitchell, who finished with 17 points. “He made some very good decisions with the basketball, not only scoring-wise but with passes over the top or down low.
“What a great championship game for my team,” he continued. “To get blown out on their home floor last week, I wasn’t sure what to expect. We had a good week of practice. We had to rebound and stop their forwards inside. We did the job tonight. I am very happy for the boys.”
Dryden (18-2 overall) led 30-27 at halftime as the two teams traded the lead. The Purple Lions would lead by five points during second half play, including 44-39 with 4:22 left in the game, but Waverly (19-1) fought back.
Peyton Miller only had two points all night, but the South Large Division MVP tied the game at 44-44 with 2:02 to go. It was Miller’s defensive effort that held Dryden point guard Trevor Gardner to just seven points after the junior scored 20 points in the Purple Lion win one week ago.
Stu Stahlman gave Dryden a 45-44 lead with 1:38 remaining, but the Purple Lions could not get the winning basket. Ali Abel-Ferretti was denied with 24 seconds to go and his final shot with three seconds left was heavily contested and was off target. The ball just bounced around after the miss and the buzzer sounded.
Mitchell and Jon Ward were the Waverly offense, as each finished with 17 points.
Anthony Nichols collected 15 points for Dryden with Wes Stahlman adding 10 points. Top Purple Tigers scorer Abel-Ferretti was held to nine points, but he did pull down 15 rebounds.
“We thought they would do something different from the first game,” Dryden coach Kim Brown said. “There is a way to get to us and kudos to them. Lou made a good adjustment. It was a good game tonight.
“Peyton is a real good athlete,” Brown added. “He’s quick, strong and physical. That’s what you have to do with Trevor. I thought Trevor held his own, but he (Miller) certainly made him work more tonight.”
Both teams will head into Section 4 Tournament play next week. Dryden and Waverly boys play next Friday in Class B quarterfinal home games. The third-seeded Purple Lions host sixth-seed Oneonta (10-10) at 7 p.m. Waverly is the fourth seed and will host Binghamton Seton Catholic (13-6) in another 7 p.m. tip.
“We just talked about that in the locker room,” Brown said. “I said gentlemen, you’ll have tougher defeats than this outside the basketball court. We are fortunate we have a home game for sectionals. The people that came here to support you tonight will come out in masses Friday to support you again.
“We need a good lift tomorrow,” he continued. “We need four good days of practice in preparation for Friday.”
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