December 28, 2013
CHS boys tourney: Purple Tigers trim Trojans
There were many lesson learned Friday night as Cortland High hosted Homer Central in the final game in the first round of the Cortland Athletic Booster-Tompkins Trust Company Holiday Basketball Tournament.
The host Purple Tigers learned that no one can be taken lightly in the OHSL Freedom Division, while the Trojans learned they are much-improved team even when their top two scorers are limited in their production.
In the end, Cortland survived with an exciting 53-50 win despite missing three straight front ends of one-and-one free throw chances in the final 14.8 seconds to keep things interesting at Corey Gymnasium.
“I was very impressed with how hard Homer played,” Cortland coach Jeremy Milligan said. “We never really pulled away and I give them a lot of credit for keeping things close.
“Teddy Phillips came up with some big rebounds for us. His rebounds on those missed one-on-ones gave us an extra boost,” the coach added.
“We played tough from beginning to end,” Homer coach Sean Malone said. “There was never any real let-up. We did struggle shooting the ball. We did keep Cortland off the boards for much of the game, but they got some key rebounds in the third quarter and at the end. The third quarter was the difference.
“We did get back to more team basketball and that was something we had gotten away from lately,” he continued. “We did earn a lot of respect from Cortland after tonight and we’ll come back tomorrow for Marathon.”
Cortland (2-1 division, 4-2 overall) will face Dryden (4-3 IAC North Division and overall) in tonight’s 7 p.m. title game — as the Purple Lions were a 68-56 winner over IAC rival Marathon in the other first round game. Homer (1-2, 3-3) and Marathon (3-3) will meet in the 5:15 p.m. consolation contest.
In junior varsity tourney action, Cortland routed Homer 69-35 and Dryden dumped Marathon 70-58 to get the day started.
Cortland 53, Homer 50: The game was nip-and-tuck from the opening tip with three lead changes and three ties in the first quarter. Jayden Gavidia gave Homer a 2-0 lead and the Trojans maintained their narrow advantage until and lay-up by Phillips gave the Purple Tigers a 15-14 advantage with 1:18 left in the opening quarter.
Homer’s Drew Cottrell made one free throw to knot the score at 15-all, but Zach Whalen buried his second 3-pointer for an 18-15 lead to keep the Tigers in front with 32 seconds remaining. Homer closed out the quarter with a lay-up by Nick Holcomb before Bryan Cavellier sank a fade-away jumper at the buzzer to give the Trojans a 19-18 edge.
The Trojans took their biggest lead of the game at 27-21 on a bucket by Gavidia with 5:17 left in the first half. Those would be the sophomore’s final points of the half as he was limited to six points on 3-for-8 shooting from the field while Trojan leading scorer Rex Ryan was limited to two points on 1-for-4 shooting.
A free throw by Phillips, a driving bucket by Qadir Artis and a 3-pointer by Phil Carrigan knotted the score at 27-27 with 3:02 to play in the first half.
The remaining points in the half came from free throws. Daquan Pittman made two and Phillips added one which gave Cortland the 30-29 halftime lead. Holcomb and Cavellier sank charity tosses for the Trojans.
Igor Sokolik put Homer in front 31-30 to open the third quarter and it was the senior’s 10-point burst in the quarter that kept the Trojans within range of the Purple Tigers. Artis answered for Cortland and Sage Brown added a lay-in for a 34-31 lead. Two baskets by Sokolik and one from Bradley Sovocool helped tie the game at 37-37 with 1:42 to play in the quarter before Cortland closed out the quarter on a 9-3 advantage at 46-40 lead.
Whalen drilled a 3-pointer from the corner. He added a driving lay-up while being fouled and made the free throw as the Cortland lead stood at 43-38. Brown added a free throw before Whalen’s offensive put back with 16 seconds remaining kept the home team up back six points.
Sokolik opened the fourth quarter with a jumper for Homer, but Phillips made a free throw and Artis scored on a floating one-hander as Cortland enjoyed its biggest lead of the night a 49-42. Ryan and Phillips traded buckets and Cortland led 51-44 with 1:55 to play.
With 1:40 left Ryan finally hit his first 3-pointer as Homer pulled to within four points at 51-47. After a good defensive stand, Ryan sank another three from the top of the key and the Purple Tiger lead was down to 51-50 with 49 seconds left. Artis gave Cortland a little room with a nice drive to the basket with 24 seconds remaining for a 53-50 lead.
Homer missed three shots in the closing seconds and was forced to foul. Cortland could not convert those one-and-one chances at the line, but those final two chances at the foul line came because Phillips got offensive rebounds to force Homer to foul.
Whalen finished with 17 points to lead Cortland. Artis netted 11 points while Phillips scored nine points and pulled down 12 rebounds for the Purple Tigers.
Sokolik finished the night with 18 points to lead Homer. Ryan did get 10 points thanks to those late 3-pointers, but was held in check by Brown much of the night.
“This game was too close for comfort,” Brown said. “Homer had shooters that we did shut down, but they also had some other shooters.We knew Jayden and Rex were their shooters, but they dished the ball off and their role players did the scoring. We now know that we have to work hard to win, we can’t expect to walkthrough anyone.”
“We did not expect Igor to go off for 18 points,” Milligan said of Sokolik’s big night. “He played very hard and I was impressed with his hustle. He really kept Homer in the game.”
Dryden 68, Marathon 56: The game can be summed up easily. Marathon had no answer for Ali Abel-Ferretti. The six-foot-six sophomore forward finished with career highs in points (32) and rebounds (21) and simply dominated the game.
Abel-Ferretti scored 10 points in the first quarter and had 23 points by halftime as the Purple Lions built a 40-27 lead. Marathon did cut the deficit to 60-54 with 3:58 left in the game, but Abel-Ferretti and Trevor Gardner answered with baskets to push the lead back to 10 points and rode that momentum to victory.
“We knew headed into the game that Ali had a favorable match-up,” Dryden coach Kim Brown said. “Defensively, Marathon decided to play him underneath, which allowed Ali easy catches.”
Trevor Gardner added nine points to the Purple Lion attack.
Marathon did have balanced scoring with Zach Brandstadt scoring nine points to lead the way. Dan Lincoln added 11 points and Ryan Tillotson netted 10 points.
IN JV PLAY, Bryshawn Lewis led five Cortland players in double figures as the Purple Tigers rolled to the 69-35 win over Homer. Curtis Wilk and Harold Pallone added 11 points each while Bronson Gagliano and Brandon Sweet each netted 10 points.
Jacob Rivers was most of the Homer offense as he scored 17 points thanks to five 3-pointers.
Kevin Ellis scored 20 points and Anthony Nichols added 19 as Dryden dispatched with Marathon. Zach Camp added 10 points to the winning attack.
Adam Brandstadt scored a game-high 245 points for the Olympians. Jeff McHale netted 14 points and Matt Barry chipped in with 10 points.
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