February 28, 2013
Marathon in Class D final
Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Marathon’s Kody Barry gets underneath the basket while being guarded by Edmeston’s Logan Vibbard in the fourth quarter of the Olympians’ 60-46 win Wednesday.
ONEONTA – It was the kind of interaction that Marathon Central coach Jim Holland has been looking forward to all season long.
Olympian senior Jeff Contri was unstoppable in the first half, scoring 20 of his game-high 25 points. Classmate Kody Barry took over in the second half scoring 17 of his 24 points to lead 10th-seed, Marathon to a 60-46 Section 4, Class D Tournament semifinal victory over 14-seed Edmeston at Oneonta State’s Dewar Arena Wednesday night.
Marathon (9-12 overall) will face top-seed Morris (18-1) at 6 p.m. in the Class D championship game Saturday at Dewar Arena. The Mustangs routed fifth-seed Hunter-Tannersville (15-5) 77-39 in the other semifinal contest.
The last Olympian Section 4 championship came in 1994 when Marathon defeated Lansing in the Class D title game. Chip Stewart coached that squad which included Matt Lavens, Ryan Hayes, Mike Burk and Jerry Gray.
“I’m still in awe that we won tonight,” Holland said outside the jubilant Olympian locker room. “Edmeston is the best basketball team we’ve played in the tournament. I have to tip my hat to them.”
Marathon took a 2-0 lead on a Contri lay-up off a pass from Tyler Hoellerer, but Edmeston (10-10) used a 9-2 run to grab a 9-4 advantage over the next two minutes. Logan Vibbard got the Panthers rolling with a drive to the basket. Vibbard made one -of-two free throws on the next possession for a 3-2 Edmeston lead.
Contri his a baseline jumper to put Marathon in front 4-3, but Clayton Hawes answered for Edmeston and gave the Panthers a 5-4 lead. Brandon Fallon got a easy look in the paint and Vibbard followed with a steal and lay-in for the 9-4 cushion.
Marathon stayed close as a Contri jumper from another Hoellerer pass cut the deficit to 11-8. Contri added a free throw, but Fallon got an offensive put-back for a 13-9 Panther lead with 2:13 left in the quarter.
Contri scored inside and, after an Edmeston turnover, Cody Morrison connected with a nice left-handed lay-up to knot the score at 13-13. Vibbard drained a 3-pointer with 44 seconds left in the quarter as Edmeston led 16-13, but that would be it for the Panthers.
Contri made two free throws to pull Marathon to within 16-15 and he capped his 14-point quarter with a 3-pointer off a Barry pass at the buzzer to give Marathon a 18-16 lead.
“We struggled at first because they threw some gimmicks at us, but this team continues to get better,” Holland said. “Our goal all season has been to work, and improve, at the end. That’s what we’ve been doing.”
Marathon used the momentum for Contri’s trey to open the second quarter with a 10-2 run for a 28-18 lead. Barry started the run with a steal and lay-up. Contri scored in the paint off a Barry pass and Dan Lincoln got a fastbreak lay-up as the lead grew to 24-16.
Vibbard stopped the run momentarily with a lay-up, but Contri hit another shot in the paint before Barry’s lay-up off a Contri pass made it 28-18 Marathon. From that point on it was maintenance basketball. The Olympians would lead 33-24 at halftime. Contri finished the half with 20 points on 8-for-13 shooting from the field.
“We didn’t have a chance to shoot before warm-ups like we have the other games, so that may have been why we started a little slow.” Contri said. “The halftime lead definitely helped us a lot. It gave us confidence and made the second half a lot easier. I simply made the most of what I had. I got my point in the first quarter and they (Edmeston) started playing better defense against me after that, but that allowed the other guys to take it to the rim.”
The second half saw Marathon used a lot more screens, plus pick-and-roll offensive sets and Barry got hot. Whether it was a drive to the hole or and pull-up 3-pointer, Barry was on fire as he hit 5-of-8 attempts from the field, including two treys, and was 5-for-5 at the charity stripe.
“I couldn’t get anything to fall in the first half so I just got the ball to Jeff,” Barry said. “It all worked out because I started to catch fire in the second half. I knew I could make my shots and I was able to take over in the second half. There wasn’t as much pressure in the second half because we had taken the lead. It was just a good game by everyone on the team. We all stepped up in the second half.”
“I pulled Jeff and Kody aside before sectionals and I told them we will go as far as they take us,” Holland said. “Defensively we are a unit with everyone contributing., but those two are our best threats offensively. They both stepped up. I expected Kody to step up because he has been on this size court in AAU basketball. Jeff was phenomenal inside in the first half.”
Marathon shot the ball well overall, going 22-for-53 from the field. Edmeston finished the night 20-for-50 from the field.
While Contri and Barry were the main scoring threats, Hoellerer and Lincoln banged the Edmeston big guys, Fallon and Nick DeVries inside. Hollerer had a team-high nine rebounds and Lincoln grabbed six to help the Olympians hold a 33-29 advantage on the boards.
Morris 77, Hunter-Tannersville 39: Morris placed three players in double figures during the Mustangs semifinal rout. Skylar Maricle led the winners with 16 points. Mike DeLuca added 15 points and Levi Decker netted 13 points.
To read this article and more, pick up today's Cortland Standard
Click here to subscribe