February 18, 2012
Dryden falls to Waverly
Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Bryan Norman (4) of Dryden drives past Evan Van De Wall (35) of Waverly Friday night at TC3. Though Norman scored 13 points, the Purple Lions were beaten in the IAC Large School title game 55-31.
DRYDEN — A lot can be said about experience and familiarity with your surroundings.
Waverly High boys won the overall Interscholastic Athletic Conference Large School Championship last year 51-41 over Whitney Point. On Friday night, the South Large School Division champions returned to Tompkins Cortland Community College in Dryden and repeated as the IAC’s top basketball dog with a convincing 55-31 win over North Division champion Dryden High.
On the girls’ side, Watkins Glen completed the Southside sweep with a 45-28 win over Lansing.
It was a big win for Waverly (16-2) in a season where head coach Louis Judson removed four players from his varsity roster during the regular season and brought up four JV players to fill out his 10-man roster.
That helped make this repeat performances even more special.
“My team is very resilient,” Judson said. “The guys have been with me for a long time. They understand what it takes to win. The JV guys I brought up learned to fit in. My seniors helped them fit in and they were very comfortable as they came up to varsity. I am very proud of all the guys. they handles themselves very well through it all. This was a very big win for a program tonight.
“We pride ourselves on our defense,” he added. “Sometimes we do struggle to score points and our defense bails us out. We had good energy on the defense side tonight. We were worried about the size. We did a good job on their forwards.”
There was one constant in all the turmoil and a big surprise as well Friday. Senior Ryan Hewitt did his thing with a 24-point, nine-rebound performance to pace the Wolverines. His work was made easier as classmate Evan Van De Wall turned in a career performance and was the biggest thorn in Dryden coach Kim Brown’s side.
The 6-foot-4 center scored 15 points, grabbed eight rebounds and blocked seven shots.
“Evan Van De Wall is a senior who doesn’t get a lot of the limelight with Ryan Hewitt and Nick Zwierlein on the team,” Judson said. “Tonight he played the best basketball game of his career.
“Evan is fundamentally sound,” he continued. “He can go both ways in the post. His inside scoring open things up outside for us.”
“It definitely was one of my best games,” Van De Wall said. “We knew coming in that they play a lot of 2-3 zone. I felt comfortable inside because I had a good idea what they were going to do. I knew if I could get them to collapse inside on me it would help open things up outside.
“I think our conditioning helped out as well,” he added. “We knew this gym from playing here last year. Having experience on this floor really did help us. Knowing the court and forcing them to make mistakes were keys to winning the game.”
DRYDEN (10-8) WAS ITS own worst enemy in the first half. The Purple Lions were just five-for-26 from the field and nine turnovers allowed Waverly to take a 23-12 lead.
The Wolverines were building its cushion with a 13-6 scoring edge in the second quarter. A 3-pointer by Zwierlein and one free throw by Ryan McFarland capped a 7-2 run that put Waverly ahead 17-10 with 2:42 left in the first half.
Dryden’s big man, Gage Ellis, was in early foul trouble and a non-factor throughout the night. Much of that came from trying to stop Van De Wall’s quick spin move in the paint for easy lay-ups. When the Purple Lions defense kept Van De Wall from getting to the hoop, he kicked the ball outside to the open man for a jumper.
Bryan Norman did stop the Waverly run with a driving lay-up with 2:30 left until the halftime break. The Wolverines closed out the half with a 6-0 run ended with Hewitt attacking the rim and connecting for two points.
“We couldn’t make the chippies from five feet in the paint in the first half,” Dryden coach Kim Brown said. “You need to finish off those shots. We could not convert on multiple opportunities.
“When we did make good defensive stops,” he continued. “We did not take care of the basketball coming up the courts. As for the fouls of Gage, he didn’t play defense with his feet and he knows it. He needs to slide his feet and be more fundamentally sound on defense.”
The Purple Lions showed a spark at the start of the third quarter. A 9-2 run pulled Dryden to within 25-21 at the midway point of the quarter. James Seeley scored on a putback, Bryant Stuttle drove the lane for two and Keith Goodenough connected on a pull-up jumper to complete the run with 3:59 left in the quarter.
“Kevin (Winston) and Keith did step up for us tonight,” Brown said. “They knew we need help scoring and they did their best to help us out.”
WAVERLY RESPONDED with a 10-2 run as Ellis and Norman sat the bench with four fouls each. Jilson began the run with a 3-pointer. Hewitt connected for a trey and Van De Wall sank two free throws during the run. Hewitt driving lay-in capped the run and the quarter with Waverly in front 35-23.
Van De Wall connected twice inside as Waverly opened the fourth quarter with a 12-2 run to pad its advantage to 47-26. The Wolverines coasted from there to another title.
Norman finished as the Purple Lions leading scorer with 13 points. Ellis did not score a point, but did pull down eight rebounds. Goodenough added seven points to the Dryden attack.
Dryden will look to regroup for the Section 4, Class B Tournament. The sixth-seeded Purple Lions will travel to third-seed Chenango Valley (10-6) Friday for the 7 p.m. tip-off.
“We’ll see the same type of defense from Chenango Valley as we did tonight,” Brown said. “We have four days to really prepare and to be ready to handle pressure defense. We have time to work on things offensively and be ready to go down there.”
Watkins Glen 45, Lansing 28: Watkins Glen (16-2) only made eight shots from the field all night, but took advantage of a foul-prone Lansing squad. The Senecas made 27-of-33 free throws to post the 45-28 win to claim the IAC Large school Championship.
Taylor Chaffee led Watkins Glen with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Amanda Keough added 11 points and five boards. Chaffee and Keough each went 9-for-10 at the foul line.
Lansing (16-2) was out of sync from the start, shooting just 10-for-38 from the field, and their usually sure-handed offense committed 19 turnovers. Shea McCartney led the LadyCats with 11 points. Colby McCartney added seven points and 10 rebounds.
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