December 1, 2012
Trojans pull out dandy debut
Clip Falcons with some late heroics
Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Homer Central’s Casey Cleary speeds the ball to the offensive end of the court while being tailed by Fabius Pompey’s Stewart Wright in the first quarter Friday night.
In years past, this might have been a game that would have slipped away from Homer Central’s boys.
That would not happen this time around.
Led by junior Rex Ryan and senior Casey Cleary each hitting for 16 points, the Trojans won their season-opening basketball game 49-46 over visiting Fabius-Pompey in a non-league contest Friday night.
It is the second straight season Homer has won its first game.
Cleary made two free throws with 7.6 seconds left in the game to seal the win as the Trojans overcame a 46-44 deficit in the final minute of play. Jayden Gavidia made one-of-two charity tosses with 48 seconds to play to pull Homer to within 46-45. The sophomore then stole the ball from Stewart Wright and drove the length of the court for a lay-up with 24 seconds remaining to give the Trojans a 47-46 lead.
Falcons’ coach Matt Rohde called a time-out with 18.8 seconds left to set up a potential winning bucket, but Gavidia and Ryan combined for a steal with 8.5 ticks to go. After a Trojan timeout, Cleary received the inbounds pass and was fouled. The senior made the two free throws and Homer had the three-point victory.
“Jayden made a couple of nice steals,” Ryan said of his teammate. “We played some good defense down the stretch. We have really pushed hard as a team to get better this season. We are looking for good things this year.”
“The guys really stepped up,” Homer coach Sean Malone said. “Last year, we would not have done that. We have a different basketball I.Q. with the guys this season. We are playing well as a team because the guys all like each other.”
Homer started the game quickly as Cleary banged home a 3-pointer off an assist from Ryan just three seconds into the game. Cleary scored on a driving lay-up 27 second later as the Trojans jumped to a 5-0 advantage.
After a basket by Michael Vilardi got Fabius-Pompey on the board, Alex Sovocool took a pass from Cleary and scored inside while being fouled. The senior added the free throw for an 8-2 cushion before Cleary hit another shot to increase the margin to 10-2 with 5:05 left in the quarter.Wright’s steal and lay-up began a 7-0 Falcon run to close out the quarter as Homer clung to a 10-9 lead.
From that point on, the game was close. Fabius-Pompey enjoyed leads of 11-10 and 15-13 during the second quarter, but Cleary closed out the first half with two baskets and one free throw for a 19-15 halftime Trojan lead. Cleary finished the first half with a dozen points.
Fabius-Pompey made some defensive adjustments to shut down Cleary in the second half. Extending their 1-3-1 zone kept pressure on Cleary and forced Ryan away from the basket, but the 6-foot-7 center displayed his outstanding shooting touch with three 3-pointers and 13 second-half points to go with his double-double of 10 rebounds.
“I got open looks thanks to my teammates,” Ryan said. “They were able to drive and dish the ball back out to me. It works whether I’m inside or outside. It’s my teammates who can drive and then dish the ball inside or outside.”
After Stewart tied the game at 24-24 with another steal and lay-up, Fabius-Pompey went on a 10-2 run to lead 34-26 with 1:42 left in the third quarter. A driving lay-up by Stewart made it 30-24, then back-to-back steals and lay-ups by Michael Rotondo doubled the advantage.
Homer regained some composure. Igor Sokolik converted an offensive rebound into two points with 48 seconds left in the quarter to stop the Falcons’ run. The 6-foot-7 Ryan buried a 3-pointer with three seconds remaining to pull the Trojans to within 34-31 after three quarters.
Stewart’s driving lay-up with 7:18 to play gave Fabius-Pompey its final five-point lead of the night at 38-33 before Homer began coming back.
Ryan hit a jumper to start a 6-0 Trojan run. Gavidia added two free throws before his bucket with 5:35 to go gave Homer a 39-38 lead.
Baskets by Rotondo and Wright put the Falcons back in front 42-39 until Ryan tied the game with a 3-pointer with 2:59 to play. Cleary gave Homer a 44-42 edge with a driving lay-up with 1:55 left, but Wright made two free throws to knot the score at 44-44 with 1:41 left.
Dan Gallagher gave the Falcons their final lead as he converted a bucket off a Rotondo pass with 1:08 on the clock for the 46-44 advantage. Gavidia and Cleary capped the final comeback drive for Homer.
Gavidia scored all seven of his points in the fourth quarter to go with seven rebounds and three steals. Cleary added six rebounds and four assists to his stat line. Sovocool finished the night with six points, but added seven big rebounds and two steals.
Wright lead Fabius-Pompey with a game-high 19 points, plus five steals and four rebounds. Gallagher netted 10 points, four rebounds and four steals. Vilardi led the Falcons with in rebounding with six.
Homer will return to action Wednesday traveling to East Syracuse-Minoa for a non-league contest. JV play tips off at 5 p.m.
HOMER JVs opened their season with a solid 56-37 win over Fabius-Pompey.
Homer took a 20-10 lead in the first quarter, but allowed the Falcons to sneak back into the game. The home team still held a 10-point lead at 41-31 after three quarters before pulling away in the fourth quarter.
“We played well,” Homer coach Jeff Tabel said. “This was the best team effort I’ve seen in all my years of coaching Homer basketball. We moved the ball well.”
Jerrad Reiner led the Trojans with 13 points and Brad Sovocool added 11 points. Dean Riley chipped with 10 points. Adrian Vilardi led Fabius-Pompey with 13 points. Austin Vadala added eight points.
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