|THE FINAL WORD: THOUGHTS ON TUESDAY'S ACTION (2017-12-13)
Ten of the 11 Valley teams in action Tuesday notched wins, with the Tioga boys’ four-point loss at state-ranked Newfield, ranked third in Class D, the lone blemish.
If there was any question this was a different Tiger team, I think they were answered last night. They took the defending state runner-up to the wire, and had the lead in the fourth quarter.
For years I’ve talked about the “senior thing,” which is the natural progression of a player simply because it’s his or her senior year. The improvement that comes about through confidence because it’s his / her time.
Tioga’s Connor Hutchinson is a prime example of the “senior thing.” A solid contributor each of the last two seasons, Hutchinson has become a force for the Tigers on both ends of the floor. He scores rebounds, distributes, defends, and is a leader.
The Tigers have all the ingredients, including depth, and are definitely a team to watch.
Newfield visits Tioga Jan. 26 — circle the date. The Tigers host Waverly Tuesday — another game you might want to see.
Speaking of Waverly, the demise of the Wolverines has definitely been exaggerated.
They rolled over Newark Valley Tuesday night for their second straight win over a divisional opponent, and can take control of the Large School Division Friday with a win over Edison.
Some people make basketball a complicated game, but it can be pretty simple — put the ball in the bucket and good things happen.
After struggling from the field and the free-throw line in its first two games, the Wolverines have clicked on all cylinders over their last five quarters of basketball — a 27-7 fourth-quarter blitz to end the Notre Dame game, and an 88-58 rout of Newark Valley.
Waverly doesn’t appear to be the same type of defensive team it was last year, but it’s shown it can score a lot of points.
Speaking of defense, the Lady Wolverines have used the same full-court smothering pressure they’ve built their success on to open the season at 4-0.
While Waverly is scoring a lot of points of turnovers, its half-court offense has also been effective with senior Elle NIttinger scoring from the perimeter and on the boards, and junior Alex Tomasso, and freshman Sidney Tomasso both knocking down shots from the perimeter.
Waverly is the class of the IAC, and its only regular-season challenges are likely to come from non-league games against Ithaca and Johnson City.
The Athens boys got in the win column Tuesday night in its first NTL game, rolling over a Canton team that could be a factor in the Small School race.
Senior Gavin Stein is off to a hot start offensively, and sophomore Aaron Lane has scored in double-figures all three games.
Senior Ethan Lane hasn’t gotten untracked yet. Once he does, the Wildcats will be be even more dangerous.
Athens has also received contributions in the paint from junior Aric Westbrook, and seniors Matteo Baglini, and Zach Jayne. If that trio continues to contribute, the Wildcats will be very tough.
Wellsboro is the team to beat in the NTL Large School, but Athens could make things interesting.
The Tioga boys and Waverly girls bowling teams continued their unbeaten ways Tuesday.
Senior Cassy Bowman has led the Lady Wolverines in every match this season, but senior Chenelle Huddleston, and newcomers junior Sarah Uhl, and 7th-grader Victoria Houseknecht have been consistent contributors.
They may not go unbeaten again this season, but the Lady Wolverines are still the team to beat.
Jake Robertson has led the Tigers in every match, but he’s gotten a lot of support from juniors Jason and Eric Sherman, and freshman Kolton Pond, as well as seniors Trenton Perrotta, and Nate Merrill, and 8th-grader Dylan Slater.
Tioga is the prohibitive favorite to win the Small School, but the IACs should be a lot of fun with Large School Waverly, and Union Springs in the mix.
The Final Word returns this weekend.
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