By TIM BIRNEY
Valley Sports Report
TIOGA CENTER - Senior Pierce Hendershot went coast-to-coast for a game-winning lay-up in traffic with 1.4 seconds remaining to lift Tioga to a 53-51 win over Southern Cayuga here Tuesday night in IAC Small School boys basketball action.
Tioga trailed by two points with 19 seconds remaining, but senior Derrick Barto calmly sunk two free throws to tie the game at 51-51.
"Barto came through in clutch at the end of the game by knocking down those two free throws to tie the game up, and give us the opportunity to play good defense and then win the game," said Tioga coach Brian Card.
The Chiefs got the ball downcourt and fired up a quick shot, but the 3-point shot hit nothing but the endline to give the Tigers the ball with 6.4 seconds remaining.
Tioga called a timeout to draw up a game plan, but ended up improvising once they got back on the floor.
"Sam (Taylor) was supposed dribble up court to the 3-point line, turn and dish it back to Pierce for a wide-open 3," said Card. "Pierce was shooting pretty well and Lucas (Klossner) was off, so we put Lucas in the corner just in case, Sam dribbled up and attacked, he could dish it out to him for an open look.
"When they picked us up full court, we got the ball to Pierce," noted Card. "He is very fast in the open court, and it's very difficult to stop him. He took it right down the court and made the lay-up."
Hendershot was confident he could get to the bucket once he saw the defense.
"I was thinking I could get by them when they started pressuring us in the full court," he said.
"I was looking to drive once I got the ball, and if someone stopped me I was kicking it out to Lucas (Klossner) for a wide-open 3 - that was the game plan, but I ended up taking it all the way to the rim," added Hendershot.
"The key for us was playing hard on the defensive side of the ball," said Card.
"We also executed on offense tonight," noted Card. "Usually, we come down and fire a shot off in five seconds, but we worked the ball around, executed and got what we could."
Klossner, who was honored prior to the game for breaking the school record for career 3-pointers, drained a 3-pointer on Tioga's first possession of the game, then hit another one with 3:35 remaining in the first quarter to give the Tigers an 11-6 lead.
Sophomore Thomas Cook, off a feed from Hendershot, scored from point-blank range to make it 13-5 with 3:11 remaining, but the Chiefs scored the next six points to trim the deficit to 13-11.
Junior Sam Taylor then knocked down a long jumper to make it 15-11 with 20 seconds remaining, but the Chiefs answered with a bucket in the final seconds.
Hendershot scored on a pull-up jumper in transition to open the second quarter, and Barto scored from the blocks off a feed from Hendershot to make it 19-14.
The Chiefs answered with six straight points, and the team exchanged the lead throughout the second quarter.
With Southern Cayuga leading 28-26 with 58 seconds remaining in the half, Cook scored in the low block with 42 seconds remaining. Just 15 seconds later, Hendershot popped wide-open under the hoop on an in-bounds play and scored to give the Tigers a 30-28 lead, which it carried into the halftime locker room.
Hendershot scored on a drive to the bucket in the opening seconds of the second half to make it 32-28, but Southern Cayuga answered with a 9-2 spurt to take a 37-34 lead with 5:07 remaining in the third quarter.
A 15-foot jumper by Hendershot trimmed the deficit to one point, then Klossner canned a short baseline jumper to give the Tigers a 38-37 lead with 3:15 left in the third quarter.
Hendershot kept it going with a runner in the lane off the glass to push the lead to 40-37 with 2:45 left, but SC answered with five straight points to take a 42-40 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Cook tied the game with a short jumper, then Klossner canned a pair of free throws with 6:35 left in the game to give Tioga a 44-42 lead.
After a bucket by the Chiefs, Barto scored on an offensive rebound to make it 46-44 with 5:35 remaining.
Southern Cayuga rallied to take the lead, but a free throw by Hendershot tied the game at 49-49 with 55 seconds left in the game.
The Chiefs took the lead with a pair of free throws with 35 seconds remaining, setting the stage for Barto's game-tying free throws, and Hendershot's game-winning heroics.
Southern Cayuga's attempt at a game-winning shot was thwarted by Taylor, who got a hand on the in-bounds pass with 0.8 seconds remaining.
"We came out of the game running," said Card. "I think (Southern Cayuga) having that long bus trip slowed them down a bit early on.
"Lucas hit a couple of 3s early, then we went cold," added Card. "We only had three 3-pointers ... we didn't shoot very well from the outside, like we usually do. Luckily, we got enough on the inside, and made our free throws down the stretch."
The Tigers also won despite being out-rebounded.
"I knew coming into the game, they like to shoot 3s and crash the boards," said Card. "We focused a lot on getting out on the shooters, and boxing out the shots, but they had a lot of big kids - they out-sized us pretty well.
"They dominated the boards, luckily Pierce got enough rebounds to keep us in the game, and get us more possessions on offense," he added.
Hendershot led Tioga with 18 points and 14 rebounds, while Klossner scored 13 points, and Taylor added eight points. Cook and Barto each scored six points in the win.
Tioga, now 6-6, returns to action Friday in a road game at Union Springs.
IN PHOTO 1: Tioga's Pierce Hendershot. ... PHOTOS BY TIM BIRNEY.
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