Wildcats bounce MCS in boys' hoops

Staff report
In most cases, success on the basketball court depends on an inside/outside offensive game. Teams that establish a balanced offensive attack and can score from around the basket and from the perimeter are difficult to defend.

That balance has been elusive for the Margaretville boys’ basketball team this year. Friday night in Davenport, the Blue Devils staked a strong claim inside the paint but saw their outside game disappear as they dropped a 52-39 decision to the Wildcats.

The Margaretville guards found center Mitch Hull moving through the lane from every conceivable angle. Accurate inside passing and Hull’s ability to stay focused on the backboard helped the junior center score a career-high 29 points. Hull went 12 of 16 from around the basket and downed five of eight foul shots in the contest. The Blue Devil center also pulled down 14 rebounds.

Devil guards Matt VanValkenburg and Kyle Short shared 11 assists; most coming on inside passes to Hull. Unfortunately for Margaretville, the Blue Devil outside game totally disappeared. The visitors didn’t hit a single shot from beyond five or six feet all night long.

Tough defensive play
A harassing Davenport full-court, man-to-man press contributed to the Blue Devils’ offensive woes. Margaretville guards only turned the ball over four times between them, but the relentless Wildcat defensive pressure had a decided impact on Margaretville’s outside shooting.

Senior Davenport guard Garrett Reynolds has no such shooting issues. Reynolds scored three field goals to help the Wildcats take a 13-10 lead in the second period. Three three-point Reynolds second period bombs gave the home team a huge boost as the Wildcats extended their advantage to 27-17 by the half.

Reynolds would finish as the only Wildcats scoring in double figures with a team-high 21 points. Good Davenport scoring balance and strong rebounding made the difference. Troy Palmer and Mitchell Fischer both scored eight points. Michael Libby added six and Kyle Womsley five for the Wildcats. Womsley grabbed 11 rebounds and Fischer eight for the winners.

The Blue Devils found an inside/outside game earlier in the week when they rolled past Windham, 53-25. Once again, Hull had a big night from the inside netting a game-high 15 points. The Margaretville center only managed three field goals but made up the difference with a nine of 16 performance from the foul line.

Margaretville found the range from beyond the three-point arc hitting from long five times. Kyle Short buried three long-range set shots with Matt VanValkenburg and Ralph Falco both adding three-point goals. Short scored 13 points and Pete Cella six for Margaretville.
VanValkenburg had a strong all-around performance netting seven points, dishing out six assists, pulling down five rebounds and picking off three steals.

First half lifts RCS boys
The Roxbury boys’ basketball team had something to prove. The Rocket five would love to have an early-season setback in Downsville back as they battle for a post-season playoff spot. Roxbury was determined to suffer no such let down again when they hosted the Eagles on Thursday night. The hard-charging Rockets were off and running from the opening tip, storming to a huge 33-16 advantage by the half then holding tight down the stretch as they rolled to a 51-43 victory.

Once again, a big part of the Roxbury story was the consistent play of senior forward Kyle Ciaravino. The Roxbury senior continues to rack up impressive offensive numbers. Ciaravino, a superb foul shooter, hit five of seven charity shots as part of a game-high, 20-point scoring effort. The senior forward’s capacity to ‘play forward’ earns him multiple trips to the line in almost every contest.
Equally telling was a strong offensive performance from junior forward Derek Cowan. An excellent offensive rebounder when he crashes the boards, Cowan gave the Rockets a huge offensive boost in Thursday’s contest adding 17 points. Thirteen of Cowan’s point total came in the first half as Roxbury pulled away from the Eagles. Cowan and Ciaravino both netted a three-point goal for Roxbury.

The Eagles scrambled to get back in the game after halftime. Downsville took a chunk off the Roxbury lead by outscoring their hosts 17-8 in the third period, but the Eagle rally fizzled down the stretch. The Eagles long-range sophomore-shooting specialist Justin Baxter continues to impress. The mid-season call up buried five three-point goals, scoring a team-high 15 points, to keep the Eagles in the game.

Roxbury girls win two
As they enter the last week of the regular season, it’s nail-biting time for the Roxbury girls’ basketball team. The Lady Rockets won two critical contests last week over Andes and Downsville to even their record at seven wins and seven losses.

Kennedy Faraci is Roxbury’s offensive anchor. The junior guard came up huge when her team needed her most last week. Faraci’s season-high, 24-point effort was just enough to propel Roxbury past Andes, 34-33, early in the week. Faraci scored a game-high 11 points as the Rockets roared past Downsville, 34-19, on Friday.

Accurate foul shooting is a big part of Faraci’s game. The junior guard dropped in seven of 12 from the charity stripe when Roxbury edged Andes. Faraci followed that up with a perfect five of five from the charity stripe against Downsville.

Foul shooting opportunity played a major role in the outcome of the Andes affair. The Rockets enjoyed a big advantage from the foul line attempting 18 free throws to Andes’ four.

Little distance separated the two teams throughout the contest. Roxbury took a narrow 8-6 first quarter lead that Andes turned around into a 16-14 advantage by the half. The Mountaineers, victors over the Rockets earlier in the season, added a single point to their lead in the third period, ahead by three entering the final eight minutes of play. But, the Rockets outshot their opponents 12-8 down the stretch to squeak by, 34-33.

Brittany Keator gave Faraci a hand by netting six points for Roxbury. The Coss sisters, senior Desirae and sophomore Shianne, paced Andes with eight points each. Jade Litaker netted six points and Kelsey Little five for the Mountaineers.

Roxbury shut out the Eagles in the opening quarter Friday night in Downsville. The Rockets raced to an early 9-0 lead and were never headed. Roxbury stretched their advantage to 25-11 by the half, and then got an added boost in the second half when the home team was forced to play one girl short over the final 12 minutes of the game. The Eagles six-girl roster was one girl short due to illness and a second girl fouled out midway through the third period.
Brittnay Keator scored eight points and Kendall Sprague seven for the Rockets. Leigha LaTourette’s nine-point effort led Downsville.

Slow start hurt Devils
It was a similar melody as the Margaretville girls’ basketball sang a sad, slow blues song early in Monday night’s game in South Kortright. The Lady Blue Devils offensive couldn’t hit the right notes as Margaretville scored only two points in the first eight minutes falling behind the Rams, 16-2. That difference proved too much to overcome as SK, New York State’s top ranked Class D girls’ team, added a 48-29 victory to their unbeaten streak. The Rams have won all 15 of their contests this year.

Margaretville did pick up the tempo in the second quarter. The Lady Blue Devils found an offensive rhythm outscoring their hosts, 17-8, to get back in the game. Margaretville only trailed 24-19 at the half, but a 14-4 Ram third period crescendo helped put the game away for SK.

Robin Ward is an inside force for SK. Ward netted a game-high 21 points. The Blue Devils slowed down SK’s eighth-grade sensation Tori Rockefeller, holding the guard to only four points. But, the Rams got all the scoring punch they would need from Britney Northrup and Kayla Craft. Northrup reached double figures with 10 points and Craft added seven more.

The Filupeit twins, Erin and Amy, led the Blue Devils with nine points each.
Margaretville sang those same early game blues on their home court on Friday falling behind Davenport 11-2 in the opening frame. As is their custom, the Blue Devils changed their pitch in the second frame, even though Davenport added two more points to their lead taking a 23-12 advantage to the lockers at the half.

Annette Hogan’s three-point shot capped a five-point Blue Devil run to start the second half pulling the home team within six, at 23-17. That was as close as Margaretville would get. Davenport ran off the game’s next nine points to restore order and were never threatened the rest of the way. When the final horn sounded the Wildcats were on top, 50-26.

Kate Swantak took game-high scoring honors for Davenport with 16 points. Sam Maidens followed close behind with 15.

Erin Filupeit scored five points and pulled down 14 rebounds for Margaretville.