Andes, Roxbury boys secure spots in sectionals
By Julia Green
Roxbury 53, Jefferson 41 (Thursday)
Roxbury’s Ryan Skipper and DaVaun Morgan tallied seven points apiece in the opening quarter of Thursday’s home game against Jefferson to set the pace for the Rockets in a win that qualified them for sectional play. Skipper led the Rockets with a game- and season-high of 30 points, which included 13 field goals, a three-pointer and three points from the foul line.
“I didn’t think we really played all that well the first half,” said Roxbury Head Coach Tom Faraci. “We were up 11 going into half and then I think we came out and scored some quick points and then they came back… it was kind of like we scored the first couple and the second half of the quarter was theirs. It wasn’t an easy night for us all over the place. I remember leaving there going, ‘Wow, it was just not an easy night for us.’ Maybe we didn’t take care of the basketball well, and I don’t think we shot particularly well.”
The Rockets took an early lead after an 18-12 first quarter and widened that lead in the second to go into halftime with a 32-21 lead. Thursday marked the second meeting of the season between the two teams and was a closer game than the first match-up.
“They played very hard,” Faraci said of the JayHawks. “They hit the boards hard, and I think that was one of our weaknesses. I don’t think we did a great job there on the boards and they kind of got after us a little bit. I give my guys credit – it wasn’t one of our prettiest games, and they stuck with it and we got through it.”
H-T 63, Margaretville 26 (Thursday)
“Game-wise, it was 12-2 after the first quarter and I thought we played pretty well in that quarter,” said Margaretville Head Coach Jeremey Marks of his team’s performance at Hunter-Tannersville on Thursday. “After the first four minutes we had multiple opportunities to score and got to the foul line and just couldn’t convert, and even being down 12-2 I didn’t think we were out of the game, and then we committed 13 turnovers in the second quarter and got outscored 14-4.”
It was virtually a single-handed scoring effort as Brian Faulkner led the Blue Devils in scoring, accounting for 22 of the Blue Devils’ total 26 points.
“We just didn’t convert,” Marks said. “We executed our plays, we ran our offense well – we just missed shots, and defensively we did a pretty good job in the first quarter.”
Faulkner also added 14 rebounds for the Blue Devils, who received two points apiece from Danny Jenkins and Marcus Moore.
“Hunter’s a good team and they turned up their pressure a little bit and changed defenses,” Marks said. “They’re a good team and we didn’t get a lot going.”
Andes 42, Gilboa 31 (Thursday)
“The first half was painfully slow for both teams,” said Andes Head Coach John Bernhardt of his team’s 42-31 victory against Gilboa on Thursday. “It was 15-13 at halftime, and it was just painfully slow.”
And, on the Gilboa side, it was more or less down to two players. Lukas Vogiatzis and Joe Cooper scored all but two of the Wildcats’ 31 total points.
“Our defense – we’ve been using this point-zone defense that was very effective,” Bernhardt said. “We were just having all kinds of difficulty scoring ourselves. The third quarter was kind of a breakout for both teams.”
With a considerably low 15-12 halftime score, both teams turned on the offense after halftime, with the Mountaineers tallying 17 points to Gilboa’s 14 to keep it a close game going into the fourth and final quarter. Ethan Berghammer scored nine of his game-high 12 total points to set the pace for Andes.
“In the first half we were trying to run too fast and everybody was trying to do things too quickly,” Bernhardt said. “In the third quarter we kind of slowed down and let the play develop and took advantage of what the defense gave us.”
Josh Bonifacic had 10 rebounds for the Mountaineers, who got eight from Eric Reed and six from Justin Weaver.
“Justin stepped up real big,” Bernhardt said. “He had good defensive pursuit and had his biggest rebounding night of the year for us.”
With this week’s wins, the Andes boys have secured their place in sectional play.
“I think sectionals is going to be a learning experience,” Bernhard said. “We’re still very choppy, and we have moments where we’re very fluid and then we have painful moments where our game looks very choppy, but I think the experience of going to sectionals regardless of what happens will be a positive one in terms of setting the stage for potentially more elevated play next year.”
Roxbury 58, Stamford 45 (Friday)
DaVaun Morgan tallied 22 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Rockets to a 58-45 league win over the visiting Indians of Stamford on Friday night. Ryan Skipper also had 22 points for Roxbury and Tim Douglas contributed 11 rebounds for the Rockets.
“I think we did a pretty good job defensively,” Faraci said. “Taking care of some of their key guys was kind of our focus, and we did a pretty good job there.”
With only a one-point lead at halftime and a four-point lead at the end of the third quarter, the Rockets turned up the pressure in the fourth quarter to go on a 17-8 scoring run.
“We did get out and run a little bit in that quarter, and it seemed like we had a few easier points,” Faraci said. And I think that was defense and limiting them to one shot.”
The Rockets got into some foul trouble early in Friday’s game and relied on other players to step up.
“I know we had Skipper sitting on the bench, he had three fouls early in that second period, and the guys around him – Tim Douglas came up with some big boards, and Garrett Hall had seven and DaVaun had 13 or 14 boards. He had a big night, especially in the second quarter.”
Looking ahead to the close of the regular season and the start of sectional play, Faraci expressed optimism about the way his squad is playing.
“I think we’re steadily getting better and improving and I think we start to gain a little more confidence as the season kind of goes along. So I’m pleased with the direction we’re going and we still haven’t played our best game yet. We’ve got one more week. We can finish strong and hope for a good seed.”
The Rockets play at Andes at 5:30 p.m. tonight and host the Eagles of Downsville at home on Friday.
Roscoe 32, Margaretville 56 (Monday)
The Blue Devils got 17 points from Brian Faulkner and 14 from Marcus Moore en route to a 56-32 victory over visiting Roscoe on Monday night.
“Having played them a week ago, and it was an overtime game, I was really pleased with how the guys came out,” Marks said. “We had a little more purpose and intensity to start the game. I thought we did a good job defensively; we changed up defenses, and our guys did a good job – they were more active on defense.”
The Blue Devils were also able to generate some turnovers, which Marks said helped spark their offense, including eight in the first half. Margaretville didn’t commit a single turnover in the second quarter.
“Offensively, we did a great job executing, being patient, and making the extra pass to a teammate,” Marks said. “We got a lot of shots right around the basket. We were patient, trying to get the ball inside.”
The Blue Devils move to 4-13 and will close the season this week, traveling to Windham tonight and facing Charlotte Valley at home on Friday.
“I think we’re playing better,” Marks said. “I think the difference is, and this probably started three weeks ago, we started getting consistent effort in practice and knowing exactly who we could count on day in and day out. And you could see it in the game – the younger guys are pretty comfortable with what we’re trying to do and having only one senior, we’re looking to the future.”