December 29, 2011


Purple Tigers repeat as champs

Babcock named MVP in win over Marathon

BasketballJamie Brown/contributing photographer
Tournament MVP and Cortland High center Brandon Babcock (32) scores from close range during Wednesday’s Royal Motor Group Holiday Tournament championship game against Marathon, getting past the Olympians’ Jeff Contri (30) here. Babcock scored 24 points in the 80-52 victory at Shafer Gym.

Staff Writer

It was a dominating performance by Cortland High senior Brandon Babcock in Wednesday night’s Royal Auto Group Holiday Tournament title game hosted by the CHS Athletic Booster Club.
The 6-foot-5 center scored 24 points and pulled down 17 rebounds during the Purple Tigers’ 80-52 basketball victory over Marathon Central inside a packed Ross O. Shafer Gymnasium. Babcock earned tournament MVP honors for his efforts as Cortland improved to 6-1 overall.
The Olympians battled all night long against the Class A state-ranked defending tournament champions, but fell to 6-2 on the season.
In the consolation game, Dryden High improved to 4-4 with a 58-52 win over Homer Central (see separate story on page 13).
“It was really a team effort,” Babcock said of his MVP award. “Our guards were hitting their shots which opened up things inside for us. When we were guarded down low, it opened up the outside. It was a good effort by everyone.
“We knew Marathon would come out and give it their all,” he added. “We knew we had to match their intensity. Our hustle was the difference in the game.”
“We missed a lot of shots,” Cortland coach Mick Lowie said despite his team’s respectable 35-for-66 shooting from the field. “I was happy with our execution because we were able to get the ball where we wanted to.
“Brandon worked very hard on the inside,” he continued of MVP Babcock. “It’s tough to match the effort he gives every game. He’s that ‘bring your lunch-pail’ kind of player. He just works hard.”
Babcock scored six points in the first quarter and J.P. Reagan added eight points as Cortland built a 19-6 lead in the first quarter. Most people would think that it was a safe lead, but it wasn’t until the Purple Tigers added 25 more points in the second quarter for a 44-23 advantage that Lowie felt a little more comfortable.
Cortland guard Qwuhail Barlow started the second quarter effort with a big 3-pointer. Barlow netted five points in the quarter with Babcock adding eight more points. Jonathan Prior and Josh Gutchess also chipped in as did Reagan.
With the inside and outside game clicking well, CHS continued to pull away in the third quarter. Babcock scored 10 points in the quarter with Barlow knocking down two big 3-pointers. Prior found open lanes to drive to the hoop as the championship was secured.
Barlow and Prior each finished the game with 13 points with Reagan tallying 10 points. Reagan and Brian Hughes each dished out five assists to lead the team. Prior added four steals with three thefts each by Barlow, Reagan and Hughes.
Jeff Contri finished with a solid game for the Olympians. The 6-foot-3 senior forward scored a team-high 17 points. Kody Barry added 13 points with 10 of those coming in the second half.
Lowie had nothing but good things to say about the scrappy Marathon team.
“I was impressed with how Marathon executed its offense,” Lowie said. “We took away a lot of the things they would normally do because of our length and height, but they were able to get the ball to Contri. Of course, we weren’t as worried about that as we were more concerned with Kody Barry and Eric Barry outside. They are a good group of athletic kids. They hustle, they hit the boards well, they will do well in their league. They represented themselves very well in the tournament.”
“We did play hard,” Marathon coach Jim Holland said. “Mick said it well. When we did execute our offense, we looked like a good team. That’s what we wanted to do. We gave up too many lay-ups and 3-pointers. They were just too big.
“Jeff really did play two good games for us,” he added of Contri. “I put the pressure on him by telling him he would need to be a scorer tonight for us. Jeff did a good job attacking the basket. I was pleased with his play.”
Babcock was joined on the All-Tournament team by Reagan and Contri, along with Dryden junior forward James Seeley and Homer junior guard Casey Cleary.
CORTLAND JVs used a 24-point first quarter to spark their 64-26 victory over Marathon in the Junior Varsity championship game earlier in the day at Shafer Gym. The Purple Tigers improved to 4-3 overall. The Olympians fell to 6-2. Qadir Artis scored seven of his game-high 19 points in that first quarter run. Daquan Pittman chipped in with 12 points while Dante Sweat netted 10 points for the Purple Tigers.
Tyler Hoellerer was a big chunk of the Marathon offense. Hoellerer scored 11 points in the first half, but was held to just two points in the second half to finish with 13 points.
In the JV consolation game, Homer (3-5) was a 57-54 winner over Dryden (4-4).
Cortland High will return to OHSL Freedom Division action Tuesday. The Purple Tigers will host Mexico at Shafer Gymnasium. The JVs tip-off at 5:30 p.m. with the varsity game to follow.
Marathon will return to Interscholastic Athletic Conference North Small School Division play Tuesday at Moravia. JV action will begin at 5:30 with the varsity game to follow.


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