By TIM BIRNEY
Valley Sports Report
TIOGA CENTER - Tioga used a 12-2 run in the fourth quarter to take control of the game on its way to a regular-season ending 61-51win over Marathon here Tuesday night in IAC Small School boys basketball action.
With the win Tioga finishes at 11-9 and awaits their seeding and first-round opponent in the upcoming Section IV, Class C playoffs.
Tioga coach Brian Card was pleased with his team's performance.
"It's a huge win in terms of Sectional points because losing to a Class D school really kills a Class C team.
"It also adds to a good run for us," said Card. "We started off the season at 3-6, and a lot of people wrote us off. We've gone 8-3 since then, and we're playing well.
"Hopefully, we can carry that momentum into Sectionals," added Card.
Junior Sam Taylor scored Tioga's first five points of the game, and senior Pierce Hendershot's 3-pointer tied the game at 10-10 with 1:11 remaining in the first quarter.
Mason O'Donnell knocked down a jumper with 25 seconds remaining to give Marathon a 12-10 lead after the first eight minutes.
Owen Hoyt buried a 3-pointer to start the second period, and the Olympians ended up taking their biggest lead, at 19-12, on a jumper by O'Donnell with 5:14 remaining in the first half.
Hendershot canned a pull-up jumper in transition, then fed junior Thomas Cook for a fast-break lay-up to make it 19-16 with 3:50 left in the half.
A 3-pointer by O'Donnell put Marathon up 24-18 with 2:55 remaining, but the Tigers finished off the half with a 9-0 run.
Senior Alex Bloss, off a feed from Taylor, converted on an old-fashioned three-point play to close the gap to 24-21, then senior Derrick Barto scored in transition to trim the deficit to one point with 1:45 remaining in the half.
After Taylor knocked down 2 of 3 free throws to give Tioga a 25-24 lead, he fed Hendershot for a lay-up in transition to make it 27-24 with 35 seconds remaining - a lead the Tigers carried into the halftime intermission.
Card credited a switch in defenses for Tioga's second-quarter surge.
"We switched to a zone for a while in the second quarter, and it seemed to work better," he said. "After that we switched back to a man, and switched back-and-forth trying to confuse them and slow them down.
"(Mason O'Donnell) came out on fire, I think he had 15 of their 24 points in the first half," noted Card. "Once we locked him down and started making them work harder to get their shots, that's when we started slowing them down."
Tioga moved the ball extremely well in transition in the first half, recording assists on nine of their 11 field goals.
"That's been our focus for the last two or three weeks," said Card. "We saw spurts of it against O-M and S-VE ... when we attack and dish it to the open guy, whether it's a shooter or someone who attacks again, we can be a very dangerous team.
"Making that extra pass is something we've been talking about for a while now, and seeing it tonight ... we looked really good in spurts," added Card.
The Tigers stretched their lead to seven points, at 38-31, with 2:18 remaining in the third quarter on consecutive buckets by Klossner, off a feed from Barto, and Hendershot on a give-and-go from Taylor.
Marathon, however, would not go quietly, using an 11-3 spurt to take a 42-41 lead with 7:03 left in the game.
After trading buckets, Taylor scored a nifty shot off the glass in traffic to make it 45-44 with 5:26 left in the game. Tioga would not relinquish the lead.
Following a pair of free throws by Barto, Hendershot scored on a short jumper to push the lead to 49-44 with 4:20 left in the game.
After a driving lay-up by Diego Castellot trimmed the deficit to 49-46 midway through the fourth quarter, Klossner made a pair of free throws, and scored on a driving lay-up to make it 53-46 with 3:06 left in the game.
Cook made a pair of free throws to push the Tioga advantage to nine points, at 55-46, with 2:39 remaining in the game.
A bucket by Castelott and a 3-pointer by O'Donnell, sandwiched around a fast-break lay-up by Cook, closed the gap to 57-51 with 1:23 remaining in the game, but free throws by Klossner and Hendershot in the final 25 seconds provided the final margin.
"Pierce (Hendershot) has been an excellent free-throw shooter his entire career," said Card. "Having him and Lucas (Klossner) going to the line a lot is really what we want. It sealed the deal."
Hendershot, who made 7 of 10 free-throw attempts, led Tioga with 26 points, while Klossner scored 13 points, Taylor had nine points, Cook added six points, and Barto chipped in with four points.
O'Donnell led Marathon with 23 points, while Castellot added 13 points, and Kenyon Depuy added eight points.
Tioga now faces a two-week layoff before the start of the Class C playoffs.
"I'll give the guys some time off - tomorrow and on the weekends - to try to rest up and get healthy," said Card. "And, I'll try to get a scrimmage."
Is Card concerned with the time off.
"Yes and no," he said. "I think the lay-off will help freshen us up, and I think it will allow us to concentrate on us
"Normally, we go to practice and concentrate on our opponents and what we have to do to stop them," noted Card. "Now, we have time to work on us, and fix the concerns I've had for the past month, but haven't had time to work on."
IN PHOTO 1: Tioga's Pierce Hendershot.
Print Friendly Version