Hoops roundup: RCS boys surge to top of division as Downsville girls outpace MCS

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By John Bernhardt
A two-year transformation is complete. A convincing Roxbury home-court win over South Kortright last week Tuesday cleared the logjam atop the Delaware League’s Mountain Division. In winning, Roxbury was transformed from "hunter" to "hunted" in the evolving 2008 Delaware League race.
The Roxbury win, coupled with a South Kortright loss in Hunter later in the week, gives the Rockets a two-game lead over the Rams. With the season winding down rapidly, Roxbury is well positioned to vie for the league title in the Cross-Over League Championship game to be played at SUNY Delhi on February 15.
Roxbury left few doubters after dominating SK last week. The Rockets demonstrated the character of champions, resiliency and grit, in the early moments of the pivotal contest. Trailing 7-3, Roxbury faced an anxious moment when leading scorer DaVaun Morgan drove the lane and was slammed to the floor. Steven Hubbard picked off the ball as Morgan completed his fall and put down a soft eight-foot shot for a Rockets’ score. But, more importantly, the Rockets’ sophomore powerhouse was slow to recover and forced to leave the game.
Morgan’s teammates were not deterred. Hubbard’s basket launched a five-minute scoring binge that would see the Rockets establish their claim of Delaware League supremacy.
A Ryan Skipper drive from the left wing through the lane tied the score at 7-7. Lucas Brewer turned a steal into a lay-up to give the Rockets the lead. Back-to-back three-point goals by Skipper and Andrew Camillone extended the lead to 15-7.
Danny Many put back a Rams’ miss to temporarily slow the Roxbury surge, but, the final shot of the opening period electrified the home crowd and signaled a long night ahead for SK. As Roxbury played the clock for the last shot, a pass got away from Lucas Brewer at the point and rolled towards the half-court line. Brewer scrambled to recover, scooped up the ball, and as he fell back over the 10-second line, spotted Ryan Skipper racing up the sideline to assist. Brewer dished to Skipper, and the Roxbury guard launched a 30-foot bomb just before the horn sounded. The ball sailed cleanly through the nets, stunning the Rams and stretching the Roxbury advantage to 18-9 at the quarter break.
The second quarter offered no reprieve for South Kortright. Brewer lofted a pass over the SK zone finding Ted Huggins for an inside basket to start the quarter. A Brewer-to-Skipper pass ended in another three-point goal for the home team. Moments later, Skipper found Andrew Camillone two steps in front of the foul-line for a jump shot. Morgan finally returned and his lay-up, after a backcourt steal, ended the phenomenal blitz with Roxbury on top, 27-9.
Tanner Metzko nailed a two-dribble jumper as South Kortright re-emerged. The teams played almost evenly for the rest of the half and the entire third period, with Roxbury out in front 49-28 entering the homestretch.
South Kortright refused to go quietly. The Rams scored nine of the final quarter’s first 11 points, and after Kale Hanselman buried a three-pointer, SK trailed 51-37 with four minutes still on the clock.
Seconds later, Steven Hubbard’s leaping base-line drive squelched the Rams’ rally, then the Rockets coasted to a 57-39 victory.
Skipper led all scorers with 14 points. Hubbard followed with 12 and Brewer and Camillone chipped in with 11 apiece for Roxbury.

Margaretville looks ahead, beats Downsville 46-41
Margaretville basketball fans caught a glimpse into a crystal ball Thursday night. With senior star Shane Delameter down with an injury, Blue Devil coach Jeremy Marks elevated Brain Faulkner and Mitchell VanKeuren to varsity status giving Marks five sophomores on his varsity squad. Few could blame Blue Devil fans for divining good things in their teams’ hardwood future, when Marks’ charges held off a late charge to topple Downsville, 46-41.
Stingy defense early in the contest made the difference for Margaretville. The Blue Devils limited Downsville to only four points in the first quarter and 11 by halftime, with the home team surging to a 25-11 lead.
Downsville rallied in the second half. The Eagles fought back within striking range in the final quarter, but six for six shooting from the foul line down the stretch by Brandon Lane helped Margaretville shut the door. Lane scored a game-high 15 points for the hosts.
Faulkner had a memorable first-varsity-game performance. The sophomore center, more then held his own around the basket, ending one rebound shy of a double-double. Faulkner scored 11 points and pulled down nine rebounds. VanKeuren used a three-point goal to total five points in his first varsity contest.
Josh Bonifacic added nine points for Margaretville who improved to 6-7 on the year.

Slow start hampers Roxbury
It took Roxbury a little while to get started. The Lady Rockets were outscored 19-0 in the first quarter of a Delaware League contest in Jefferson last week. The sluggish start was too much for the Rockets to overcome as the visitors fell to the JayHawks, 56-34.
Roxbury gave a strong effort in the middle periods, outscoring their hosts 25-21 in the in-between frames. Alisa Fersh hit 16 points to pace the Rockets. Jessica Utsler added 11 more, including two goals from beyond the three-point arch.

Shellman leads Eagles by Margaretville
Balanced and explosive scoring by Stephanie Shellman was the difference last week in Downsville as the Eagles outpaced Margaretville, 52-33. Shellman scored at least seven points in every quarter, totaling a season-high 30 points to pilot her team to victory.
Shellman’s offensive effort included three, three-point goals. Jennifer Seiferth had 10 points for Downsville.
Sophomore Erica Faulkner netted 12 points to lead Margaretville. Brandi Balcom added nine for the Blue Devils.

Fourth quarter run dooms Andes
Down by only four points entering the final quarter, Andes hoped Tuesday night might be the charm. The Mountaineers were looking to crack the win column in a home contest against Jefferson. A 22-8, JayHawk run in the final eight minutes doused Andes hopes, as the hosts fell, 66-48.
Jefferson inched ahead 14-13 in the first quarter. The JayHawks built a 32-25 halftime lead before Andes battled back within four, 44-40, entering the final frame. Kevin Reed came up big for Jefferson down the stretch, scoring nine points to guide the JayHawk’s finish. Reed finished with 32 points and 13 rebounds for Jefferson.
Tex Murray had another solid offensive performance for Andes. The senior paced the Mountaineers with 15 points. Ethan Berghammer added nine. Justin Weaver pulled down 12 rebounds for the hosts.