Turnovers doom MCS at holiday tournament

Staff report
Securing the basketball has been an issue for the Margaretville boys’ varsity basketball team all season long. A Blue Devils’ turnover epidemic in the opening round of the Downsville Tournament cost Margaretville a chance at a championship over the holiday break. Margaretville committed 37 miscues in the contest, falling, 47-40, in overtime to Gilbertsville-Mount Upton.

“Sometimes we lack the poise to jockey and hold the ball three or four seconds into the count,” lamented Margaretville coach John Bernhardt. “Good offensive players can do that. Most of our turnovers came on rushed passes or the failure to square up to the basket and see the entire court,” Bernhardt explained. “It’s too bad, because for most of the night we played fierce defense.”

Extra pressure
The turnovers loaded added pressure on Margaretville’s defense as G-MU launched 23 more shots than the Blue Devils. Even so, a stingy man-to-man defense held G-MU (6-1) to just eight points in each of the first three periods. Margaretville limited G-MU’s high scoring guard Demario Reed to only five points over that time with the Blue Devils hanging on to a 27-24 lead entering the final period. But, good players live in the moment, and Reed was no different. The G-MU senior scored 10 of his team’s 11 points in the fourth quarter forcing a 35-35 tie.

Margaretville rallied from a 35-32 deficit during the final minute of play to send the game into overtime. Kyle Short hit one-of-two foul shots and Mitch Hull drove the lane with the tying score. The Blue Devils squandered a chance to win the game when they ran off the final 18 seconds of regulation time without taking a shot.

Greg Delaney buried a three-point goal and Reed a two-point shot in the opening seconds of the overtime for G-MU, and the Blue Devils never recovered. Reed, the tournament MVP, would finish with 20 points and Eddie-Ray Cotton 15 for the victors.

Leading the way
Junior center Mitch Hull had a big night for Margaretville scoring 20 points and pulling down 11 rebounds. Kyle Short and Matt VanValkenburg both added seven points for the Blue Devils.

Margaretville continued the defensive intensity limiting the Family School to a single first period field goal in Wednesday’s consolation game. The Blue Devils ran their man-to-man offensive sets well in the period finding Hull cutting through the lane. Hull scored 11 of his game-high 21 points during the opening frame.

Spreading the points
Freshman Matt VanValkenburg finished in double figures netting 12 points for Margaretville. Kyle Short and Marshall Bouton both added six for the Blue Devils. Kyle Short directed the Blue Devils’ offense with a deft hand dishing out 10 assists in the third place contest. The sophomore point guard pulled down five rebounds and swiped three steals for the victors. The win improves Margaretville’s season record to 4-5.

Roxbury girls
The Roxbury girls’ basketball team got out to a fast start building an early 10-point lead over the host school in last week’s Stamford Booster Tournament. The Rockets led 10-3 after the opening eight minutes of play, and took an 18-12 lead into the lockers at the half. The game slipped away from the Rockets in the second half when Stamford came from behind to squeeze out a 30-27 decision.

Stamford cranked up their defense during the second half to secure the victory. The host school held Roxbury to only nine points during the final 16 minutes. Stamford made up the seven-point deficit during the third period besting the Rockets 12-4 to carry a 24-22 lead into the game’s final quarter.

Cassie Erhart and Kimi Freer shared game high scoring honors for Stamford with 9 points each. Kennedy Faraci scored eight points, Kendal Sprague six and Brittany Keator five for Roxbury.
Stamford and Roxbury both lost in games played on Wednesday with Stamford dropping the title game to Milford and Laurens toppling Roxbury. Freer and Erhardt were Stamford Tournament All-Stars. Kendal Sprague was named to the All-Tournament team from Roxbury.
The Rockets play at Margaretville on Friday night.