Charlotte Valley Wildcats hold off Devils to tighten league hold

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By John Bernhardt
The Charlotte Valley Central School gymnasium is a tough basketball venue for local boys basketball teams to visit in any given year. Travel to Davenport when legendary coach Lee Fisher has an undefeated basketball team, and the Wildcat hardwood transforms into “The Pit.” That was the case last week in a key Delaware League contest when Fisher and his Wildcats unleashed a suffocating defense to smother Margaretville, 38-31.
The game’s outcome complicated Margaretville’s quest to defend last year’s DL championship. In winning, Davenport opened a two-game, first-place lead over both the Blue Devils and Stamford. Margaretville remains in contention for the crown, but to capture the DL’s Upper Division, the Blue Devils now need help.
All five Margaretville starters scored in the first quarter as the Blue Devils jetted to an early 14-10 lead. The Blue Devils would score five field goals in the period, with senior Dylan Shaffer paving the way with a pair of buckets. A steely Davenport defense would limit Margaretville to only five more field goals for the remainder of the game.

Reither charges to the basket: Blue Devils' Cooper Reither heads for the basket against Charlotte Valley's aggressive defense. That defensive strength was the major factor in the Devils' loss to the Wildcats, 38-31. -- Photo by Dick SanfordReither charges to the basket: Blue Devils' Cooper Reither heads for the basket against Charlotte Valley's aggressive defense. That defensive strength was the major factor in the Devils' loss to the Wildcats, 38-31. -- Photo by Dick Sanford
The Blue Devils stayed in the contest with some rugged defense of their own. Margaretville limited Davenport to a Josh Davie three-point and two point goal, and a three-point conversion by Matthew Finne in the second quarter. Shaffer put in another pair of baskets and Matt VanValkenburg hit three-of-four foul shots, with Margaretville clinging to a 21-18 halftime lead.
Davenport found Margaretville’s Achilles Heel in the third quarter; difficulty pulling the ball off the backboards. The Wildcats outrebounded the Blue Devils 13-3 during the period, limiting Margaretville to one chance per possession on one end of the court and earning put-back scores of their own on the opposite end of the floor. The rebounding imbalance ignited an 11-3, third quarter surge with Davenport grabbing a 29-24 lead heading into the home stretch.
Stingy defense was the name of the game for both teams during the final frame. Kyle Short’s two three-point goals were Margaretville’s only scores from the floor in the final eight minutes. Kyle Wamsley netted a two-point bucket, Davenport’s only fourth-quarter field goal.
The game would be decided at the foul line with the home team awarded 12 charity shots to just three for the visitors. Davenport netted seven of their 12 attempts with Margaretville netting only one of three tries, helping the Wildcats preserve their lead.
Davenport’s 10-rebound advantage (31-21) was counter balanced by an 18-10 deficit in turnovers. The Blue Devils pilfered nine steals.
Josh Davis and Kyle Wamsley reached double figures for the Wildcats netting 13 and 12 points, respectively. Davi went a perfect four of four from the foul line.
Kyle Short’s three, three-point goals paced Margaretville with nine points. Dylan Shaffer added eight, all in the first half.

Roxbury girls
They’re young. They’re athletic. They’re eager to learn, and they’re gaining a foothold in the Delaware League. The Roxbury girls’ basketball squad downed Andes and Downsville last week pushing the team’s record above .500 (5-4) and improving the club’s Delaware League standing to 5-2.
Roxbury continues to get strong production from sophomore center Stacey Sprague. Sprague’s decisive play around the basket provides the Rockets with a consistent offensive foundation. Rocket Coach Lisa Faraci builds around that foundation with promising play from two more sophomores, Jade Meehan and Devon Fox, and junior point guard Shannon Sprague.
Stacey Sprague dominated around the basket, scoring 20 points to lead her team to a 63-28 win in Andes. Fox netted a career high 13 points, Haley Mosley scored 10, with Meehan tossing in eight more.
The Rockets raced to a 22-5 first quarter advantage and were never challenged. Roxbury had a hot night from the foul line converting 11-of-14 charity attempts.
Roxbury got off to a good start again on its home court later in the week against Downsville. The Rockets built an 11-3 opening quarter advantage that they stretched to 27-13 by halftime, then coasted to a 44-31 victory.
Sprague was tough to stop from inside the paint earning game high scoring honors with 14 points and pulling down 11 rebounds. Meehan and Shannon Sprague both scored a dozen points for the Rockets.
Virginia Gilkeson paced Downsville netting 11 points and Kaileen Townsend added eight. Roxbury hosts South Kortright tonight and is on the road in Margaretville on Friday.

Roxbury boys
They fly just beneath the radar undetected by many local Delaware League basketball fans but determined to forge their way into the DL basketball conversation. Downsville’s Eagles continued recent improved play on the hardwoods, besting Roxbury, 46-35, last week.
A trio of Eagles scored all but two of those Downsville points. Dave Doig found his touch from inside the three-second lane, leading the Eagles with 16 points. Doig was aided by a six of eight performance from the foul line.
“Our guards did a nice job finding him in the paint,” Downsville coach Kevin Wilbur told the The Daily Star after the game. “Kevin did a nice job finishing.”
Justin Baxter scored 15 and Billy Smith added 13 more for the Eagles.
A strong start helped Downsville procure the win. The Eagles outscored their guests 15-7 in the opening frame and pushed their advantage to 31-16 at the half. Roxbury settled in and battled their hosts more than evenly during the later stages of the contest but could not make up the deficit.
Will Rendler turned in a strong offensive performance for Roxbury tying Doig for game-high scoring honors with 16. Matt Faraci’s two, three-point goals were part of a 13-point effort for the Rockets.
Roxbury hosts Margaretville tomorrow night.