CANTON - After both going Massena Centrals way last winter, the 2013-14 Section 10 Class A basketball championships were split between the Raiders boys and the Franklin Academy girls on Monday night at the SUNY Canton Fieldhouse.
Desperation may have motivated the seniors on the Massena boys but the two youngest players in the lineup proved to be the difference as the Raiders successfully defended their sectional title with a 62-52 win.
Our four seniors did not want this to be their last game and all four of them came up big at one point of another but we had a couple of our younger guys who really stepped up with some big efforts tonight, said coach Tom Miller after his squad overcame a strong Huskies start to earn a second straight trip to the state tournament.
Malone came out and shot the ball very well in the first half but we made some defensive adjustments at halftime. We also started to demonstrate much more patience on offense in the second half and things starting going more and more out way because of that, he added.
Freshman Dante Viskovich, who has emerged as the leading scorer for the Raiders (15-4) this winter delivered 12 of his game-high 20 points in the fourth quarter, while sophomore Xavier Goyco, who helped lead the Massena JVs to a share of the NAC Central Division regular season title but was pressed into service for the Class A final after classmate and starting varsity point guard Bailey LaBarge went down with an injury in practice last week, showed his potential by connecting for eight of the 10 points scored by the Raiders in the third quarter before going on to seal the win by hitting four of six free throw attempts in the closing stages of regulation to finish with 12 points.
Dante has been our leading scorer all year and he came up big in the fourth quarter tonight, noted Miller. And how about our late-season JV call-up? When Bailey went down with the injury, we took a look at what we needed to do and instead of trying to shifts a bunch of guys into new roles, we decided to just go with the next point guard on our list and it was Xavier. He responded very well.
Senior forward Xavier Viskovich battled early foul trouble to contribute 10 points toward the win while classmate Tyler Haas struck for another nine, including a three-pointer at the buzzer to end the first half that knotted the score a 28-28. Junior Zevon Viskovich helped keep the Raiders in the game coming off the bench in the second quarter to scor
That three-pointer at the end of the second quarter was big for them, acknowledged Malone coach Tim Lamay. It gave them momentum going into halftime and they kept it going in the second half.
Our guys came out and played well in the first half but had trouble scoring in the second. We missed open shots from the floor and we missed a lot of free throws. We just picked a bad night not to shoot the ball well but we worked hard the whole game and Im very proud our team.
Chris Pourpore anchored the Malone scoring with 14 points followed by Kody Mulverhill with 10, Jordan Yando with nine and Austin Lamay with seven while Isai Paradones and Camron Gallagher each netted six and Alex Johnson accounted for the other four as the Huskies closed out the season at 14-5.
The Huskies opened the scoring and never trailed in the first quarter and went ahead 16-9 with 2:32 left when Paradones capped a personal four-point outburst with a free throw but five straight points by Dante Viskovich closed the game to 16-14 before a late free throw by Poupore put Malone ahead 17-14 at the end of the opening frame.
The Huskies were able to maintain their lead through all but the final second of the second quarter where a three-pointer by Mulverhill made it 26-21 with 2:53 remaining but senior Rhoades Tarbell started a 7-2 Massena run with his only field goal of the night 11 seconds later and Haas soon followed with a free throw.
Neither team scored again until Poupore struck with 33 seconds left to make it 28-25. The Raiders worked the ball down the court on the ensuing in-bounds and got it back to Haas at the top of the arc and he made not mistake burying his three-point attempt just ahead of the buzzer to tie the game. Junior Zevon Viskovich provided an offensive spark in the second quarter, coming off the bench to score all five of his points.
The scoring pace dropped considerably in the third quarter but the Raiders took their first lead of the game when Goyco drained the first of his two third-quarter three-points just 38 seconds into the second half. The teams traded baskets through the next five minutes before the Huskies reclaimed the lead at 37-36 when Mulverhill converted on a pair of free throws but Goyco connected from close range with 58 seconds left and the Raiders closed the third quarter clinging to a 38-37 lead.
The teams traded baskets to open the fourth quarter before the Raiders put together what turned out to be a decisive 12-5 run included a pair of three-pointers by Dante Viskovich. The Huskies never got closer than six points over the final 3:23 as Xavier Viskovich stepped up to control the interior and Goyco made the free throws he needed to close out the win.
This was a very nice win against a tough Malone team, noted Xavier Viskovich. Xavier Goyco stepped up and played as well as anyone could have expected him to.
It feels really good to win the championship two years in a row, he added.
The Raiders will now gear up to compete in the Section 10 Overall Tournament next week before heading into the state Class A playoffs starting on Wednesday, March 5, at Cicero-North Syracuse High School against the Section 3 champion.
In the first game of the night at the SUNY Canton Fieldhouse, the top-seeded Lady Huskies (17-1) ran out to a 23-5 lead by the end of the first quarter en route to relcaiming the Class A title with a 54-23 decision over the defending champion Lady Raiders, who closed out a rebuilding season at 6-13 under the guidance of first-year coach Justin Shope.
We played tough defense the whole game tonight but we had trouble scoring and that put us in a hole, noted Shope afterward. We got down but we battled right to the end and thats what you want to see.
We had a very young team this year. Our seniors, Samanntha Villnave and Robin Boudreau gave us great leadership but we had a lot of juniors and four sophomores and our four sophomores played a lot, he added. We looking to be even more competitive next year but to do that, we need to put in the time during the off-season.
Junior Bailee Young tossed through all of the four three-pointers logged by the Lady Raiders in netting a team-high 14 points. She also tallied six rebounds and three steals while sophomore Jaylee Jones fashioned four points and three steals. Villnave finished with four rebounds and two points. Sophomore Devin Kelly came off the bench to generate two points while junior Jessica Rode grabbed five rebounds and notched four steals in closing out the Massena scoring with a free throw.
Janelle Heden led all scorers with 18 points, including the four three-pointers produced the Lady Huskies. Rachel Lamica worked the paint for 11 points and 11 rebounds. Morgan Fountain struck for another 10 points while Emily Marshall tallied nine points, six assists, six steals and four rebounds.
The Lady Huskies now advance to the Section 10 Overall Tournament before heading off to the state Class A tournament the first week of March.