Margaretville magic strikes again; Reither beats RCS at the buzzer
By John Bernhardt
Two seconds. Two seconds sometimes makes the difference between victory and defeat. That was the case Thursday night in Roxbury when Cooper Reither’s runner from just inside the foul line bounced one time on the front of the rim and fell through the net, giving Margaretville a tantalizing 38-37 victory over Roxbury.
Reither’s clutch basket spoiled a spirited Roxbury effort, perhaps the most complete Rocket performance of the season. “We had a complete effort from start to finish,” said Roxbury coach Tom Faraci. It was fun to see our guys compete for four quarters.”
Faraci was pleased with his team’s energy in nearly upsetting the Blue Devils. “Our defensive movement and pressure was good all night long. In the first half we did an excellent job on the backboards,” praised the Roxbury coach.
For Margaretville it was more of the same; a pulsating, palpitating, mind numbing basketball finish. As they have all season long, Margaretville stretched the hardwood tension to the final possession of the game narrowly escaping back-to-back one-point losses. The Blue Devils fell 45-44 in Hunter on Tuesday.
A tight match
There was little separation between the two teams Friday night in Roxbury. Strong inside play by Will Rendler and Patrick Hanrahan helped Roxbury inch in front, 10-9 after one period of play. Behind four points apiece from Sam Nash and Jacob Davis, the Rockets added two points to their advantage, leading, 19-16, at the half.
Margaretville nearly eliminated the Roxbury offense in the third frame, limiting the home team to a pair of two-point goals, But, the Blue Devils had trouble finding the hoop on their offensive end, too, scoring only eight points in the quarter to nudge in front 24-23 at the three-quarter break.
A Matt Faraci scoring explosion was nearly enough to turn the tide Roxbury’s way down the homestretch. Faraci who struggled finding the basket from the perimeter, changed course, taking the ball to the hoop as the game clock ran down. A huge Faraci offensive rebound and put back of a missed Rocket foul shot was also part of his 10 fourth-period points.
Margaretville countered with a four of four performance on the foul line from Matt VanValkenburg, six points from senior forward Dylan Shaffer and four more from Reither, including the game winner.
Roxbury built a five-point lead midway through the final frame before the Blue Devils started chipping away. Trailing, 37-36, with seven seconds to play, the Blue Devils were forced to foul. The Rocket foul shot dropped off the front of the rim with Margaretville rebounding and an outlet pass finding Reither. Roxbury gambled shooting the gap hoping for a steal but failing to knock away the pass, releasing Reither to advance the ball toward the frontcourt to set up his game-winning runner.
In the end, foul shooting made the difference. Margaretville sizzled from the line sinking nine-of-12 charity shots. The Rockets could only manage three of seven.
VanValkenburg paced Margaretville with 11 points. Dylan Shaffer, Kyle Short and Reither all scored eight for the Blue Devils.
Faraci took game scoring honors netting 15 points. Sam Nash added eight for Roxbury.
Wildcats top Devils
Tuesday night was the perfect storm for Margaretville in Hunter. Yair Sanchez, who has provided much needed offensive production off the bench for the Blue Devils was sick and didn’t make the game. When Alex Serdiouk rolled an ankle in the first half, the Blue Devils came up shorthanded.
The Blue Devils struggled to get their offense in gear, netting only four points in the first period and trailing, 9-4. Eric Mathiesen’s nine second half points helped get Margaretville untracked when the Blue Devils outscored their hosts, 23-10, to take a eight point lead at the half.
Margaretville would build their advantage to as much as 10 points in the third quarter before the H-T charge.
The foul line would be decisive with Hunter hitting seven of nine charity shots in the final eight minutes and Margaretville sinking only four of eight. The Wildcats would outscore the Blue Devils 14-5 from the line during the game.
Mathiesen and Reither each scored nine points to lead Margaretville. Matt VanValkenburg and Kyle Short both had eight.
Jake Davis led all scorers with 11 points. Mike Tancredi added 10 for the Wildcats.