Andes boys win nail-biter; Rockets and Devils beaten

By Julia Green
The Andes boys clinched a nail-biter on Friday night, when they posted a 52-51 win over the visiting JayHawks of Jefferson. The host Mountaineers held a three-point lead as time wound down, but Jefferson’s Tyler Dibble hit a jump shot at the buzzer to bring the JayHawks within one; a foul sent him to the free-throw line. The Mountaineers held their breath, and exhaled in relief as Dibble’s free throw attempt bounced off the front of the rim.
“That was quite a game,” said Andes Head Coach John Bernhardt. “With my guys you just can’t predict – we had lost to them very badly, much worse than the scoreboard indicated, earlier in the season – so this was a nice ball game. And Tyler Dibble played the most outstanding single-effort game that we’ve had anybody play against us this year.”
The Mountaineers outscored the JayHawks in the opening quarter, 14-9, with Eric Reed tallying 10 of Andes’ 14 points, but Jefferson retaliated in the second, posting 19 points to the Mountaineers’ eight to take a 28-22 lead into halftime – a deficit Bernhardt attributed largely to a lack of rebounding. But the problem was addressed in the third as Andes turned it back on, tallying 15 points to Jefferson’s six to take a three-point lead.
“We stopped their offensive rebounding,” Bernhardt said of his team’s third-quarter effort. “We rebounded defensively; Josh Bonifacic had 15 rebounds and James Litaker had 10, and a lot of those were in the second half. That made a big difference.”
And it came down to the wire, as back-and-forth scoring in the final three minutes prevented either team from taking more than a three-point lead. The Mountaineers held a 50-49 lead with 5.3 seconds left on the clock, at which point Bonifacic was fouled as he prepared to in-bound the ball. He made two of two free throws to give Andes a 52-49 lead; however, a falling jump shot by Dibble made it 52-51 and found himself at the foul line.
“I don’t know if I’ve had a worse moment as a basketball coach, to go from having the game all but won in one second to potentially giving it away,” Bernhardt said. “And to be honest with you, I felt really sorry for [Dibble]. He played so hard competitively; he played like you want every one of your kids to play.”
Reed paced Andes, tallying 21 points, while Bonifacic added 10 and Sage Beemer had eight.
Friday’s game was a welcome result following Wednesday’s tough loss in Downsville, where the Mountaineers fell to the host Eagles 49-39. The Andes boys were at a disadvantage early, as Downsville outscored the Mountaineers 14-7 in the opening quarter.
“We just shot horribly in that game,” Bernhardt said. “It’s the worst that we shot all year. We went ahead 7-4 in the first quarter and then James got two fouls and had to leave the game and Josh Bonifacic got kneed in the thigh and had to leave, and that had a big part of the outcome in the game. From that point on they scored 12 points in a row and we didn’t score.”
The scoring was more or less even in the second and third quarters, but the host Eagles did some damage in the fourth, outscoring Andes 21-13.
“In the third we attacked the zone better than we have all year,” Bernhardt said. “We moved the ball really well, and we got nice shots, but we didn’t hit a thing. We just had real trouble shooting. They were good shots – inside the lane and short jumpers – the ball just didn’t go in.”
Reed once again led Andes, tallying 12 points, while Bonifacic added 10 and James Litaker and Cody Ruff had eight apiece.
The Mountaineers, who moved to 8-7 overall, played host to the visiting Wildcats of Gilboa on Tuesday night; no score was available at press time. They will travel to face the host Rockets of Roxbury at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday.
“If we win one more we’re going to the postseason,” Bernhardt said on Monday. “We’re playing two good teams. To me it’s more important how you play and what you’re looking like. We’ve been playing really well at home and we play really shaky on the road, so I’d like to see us play two really hard games and see where that takes us. And then we’ll make up our mind.”

Roxbury Rockets
It was a tough week for the Roxbury Rockets, who fell to Gilboa and South Kortright on Wednesday and Friday, respectively. Despite putting up double figures in all four quarters of Wednesday’s road match-up at Gilboa, the Rockets were unable to limit the host Wildcats’ offense enough to take over the lead. The most damage came in the second quarter, when the Wildcats outscored Roxbury 18-10 to take a 34-23 lead into halftime.
DaVaun Morgan tallied 22 points for the Rockets, who received 11 points from Kyle Ciaravino and nine from Garrett Hall.
The Rockets played host to the visiting Rams of South Kortright on Friday, falling 63-39 as Kortright secured at least a share of the division title for the second consecutive year.
The Rams put the pressure on early, outscoring the Rockets 19-10 in the opening quarter and adding 15 more in the second to take a 34-16 lead into halftime.
Roxbury mounted its most successful offensive effort in the third quarter, putting up 16 points and holding South Kortright to 12; however, the Rams tallied 17 points in the final quarter and limited Roxbury to seven to seal the win.
Morgan tallied 15 points while Dylan Stock added 11; both tallied three 3-pointers for the Rockets.
Roxbury traveled to face the host JayHawks of Jefferson on Tuesday night; no score was available at press time. The Rockets will host the visiting Mountaineers of Andes on Thursday at 5:30 p.m.

Margaretville Blue Devils
The Margaretville boys fell to the host Indians of Stamford 62-31 last Wednesday in their final road game of the regular season. The Blue Devils were led by Marcus Moore, who tallied 10 points; Danny Jenkins had eight and Mitch VanKeuren and Patrick O’Connell added five apiece.
The Indians held a four-point lead after a 15-11 first quarter, but turned up the heat in the second, outscoring Margaretville 12-5 to take a 27-16 lead into halftime.
The Indians did more damage in the third, tallying 19 points to Margaretville’s seven, and added 16 more in the fourth quarter while limiting Margaretville to eight.
The Blue Devils played host to the visiting Wildcats of Hunter-Tannersville on Tuesday; no result was available at press time. They will host the visiting Warriors of Windham in their final home game on Thursday at 5:30 p.m.