RCS boys top Andes; teams look ahead to sectionals

By Julia Green
Roxbury 60, Andes 46 (Wednesday)
Despite a change of venue in the Roxbury/Andes boys’ varsity basketball game Wednesday night, the outcome was the same as the last meeting between the two teams. A leak in the Andes gym roof led to the game’s relocation to Margaretville, where the Andes Mountaineers held a two-point lead at the end of the first quarter, but the Roxbury Rockets fired up their engines in the second, outscoring their opponents 18-5 to take a 29-18 halftime lead.
“I think we did start off a little slow,” said Roxbury Head Coach Tom Faraci. “We had an 11-point quarter coming out, and looked from the beginning like we were a little bit off in terms of our energy level.”
Despite the slow start, Faraci was pleased with his team’s turnaround in the second quarter.
“We did change up a little bit defensively,” Faraci said. “I think against the Ruff kid, we played him a little differently from the first quarter. I wasn’t happy with our energy level and he was playing well, so we changed it up a little bit there.”
The change wasn’t lost on Andes Head Coach John Bernhardt.
“Tom did a good defensive switch,” Bernhardt said. “He double-teamed Cody and we didn’t respond well to that.” Bernhardt added that the Roxbury defense also focused on another Andes high scorer, Ethan Berghammer.
“Eric Reed responded and he was our high scorer in the game,” Bernhardt said. “But we didn’t respond well enough to keep pace.”
Reed led the Mountaineers with 13 points, while Ruff added 12 points and seven assists.
“One of the things I was very pleased about is that Roxbury is very noted for their press, and not only did we handle that press, we attacked off that press very well,” Bernhardt said. “We got the ball into the middle and pushed the ball to the outside and got good scoring opportunities from the press.”
DaVaun Morgan led the Rockets with 24 points, 13 of which came in the first half, and Ryan Skipper added 12. Faraci said that despite his team’s lack of energy out of the gate, there is still something to be learned from the result.
“It’s not every night that everything goes great,” he said. “I don’t think we put ourselves in a great spot from the beginning, in terms of coming out ready to play, and it was a little bit of a struggle all night. You hope that something good comes out of a game when we didn’t play our best. Down the line there’s some benefit to it, especially this late in the season, to struggle a little bit and have to change some things up defensively and find a way to win and get it done.”

Windham 32, Margaretville 21 (Wednesday)
The Margaretville Blue Devils dropped a 32-21 decision to the host Warriors of Windham in Wednesday night’s game, the tone of which Margaretville Head Coach Jeremey Marks said was set in the first quarter.
“Windham came out ready to play and energized with it being their senior night,” Marks said. “They have four seniors and we couldn’t match that energy in the first quarter. We had too many turnovers and some defensive breakdowns and we couldn’t execute on offense.”
The Margaretville boys found themselves in an early hole after the host Warriors tallied 13 points in the opening quarter to the Blue Devils’ three to take a 10-point lead. The MCS boys found their footing in the second quarter, but by that point there was a considerable amount of ground to cover, and Windham wasn’t relinquishing the momentum.
“In the second quarter we picked it up, both offensively and defensively,” Marks said. “But being down 10 points after the first quarter put us down 13 at halftime.”
Despite that 13-point halftime deficit, the Blue Devils posted a nine-point third quarter and managed to hold the Warriors to five points to narrow the gap.
“That third quarter got us back in the game, but in the fourth we could never make that run to close it to within a couple possessions, and they pulled away at the end,” Marks said. “Overall, offensively we didn’t execute very well. I thought that after the first quarter we did a decent job, but that first quarter really hurt us. After that quarter, defensively we did a pretty good job, but offensively we never got in a rhythm.”
The Blue Devils were led by Brian Faulkner with 11 points and Marcus Moore with six.

Charlotte Valley 65, Margaretville 27 (Friday)
Margaretville hosted one of the top teams in the Delaware League Friday night as the Blue Devils observed their senior night. The Wildcats (15-3) posted a 65-27 win over the host Blue Devils, opening with a 25-point first quarter while limiting the hosts to eight.
“They came out and jumped on us pretty good,” said Margaretville Head Coach Jeremey Marks. “It wasn’t necessarily their pressure that got us; we couldn’t keep them off the glass in the first quarter. I thought our first-shot defense was pretty good, but they attacked the glass pretty hard.
There was a marked difference in the second quarter, however, as the host Blue Devils tallied seven points and limited the visitors to six.
“I think we settled down a little bit more in the second quarter,” Marks said. “We did a better job on the glass.”
The Blue Devils got a big night from sophomore Patrick O’Connell, who was brought up from the JV ranks late in the season. O’Connell led the Blue Devils with seven points and eight rebounds.
“He played extremely hard,” Marks said. “I was happy for him and how he ended the season and how active he was all over the place. He truly left everything on the court, like we ask.”
Friday marked the Blue Devils’ final game of the season, as their 4-15 record precludes their participation in sectionals. Margaretville lose one senior from this year’s squad to graduation.
“I was proud of how hard our guys played for Jon Lee, this being his last game,” Marks said. “It says a lot for what they think about him as a teammate and a person. The mark he’ll have on the program is that day in and day out, you knew exactly what you were going to get out of Jon Lee.”
Overall, Marks said, progress was the key to the 2008-09 season for the Blue Devils.
“I thought we got better as the season went on,” he said. “With only one senior and seven returners coming back, I’m excited about the future. Especially if those seven make the most of the off-season.”

Roxbury 86, Downsville 60 (Friday)
The Roxbury Rockets closed out the regular season with a convincing 86-60 win over the visiting Eagles of Downsville on Friday night to finish with a 13-6 overall record. The Rockets ended on a particularly high note, tallying 50 points in the second half – the highest-scoring half of the season for Roxbury.
Ryan Skipper tallied 23 points for the Rockets, who also got a season-high 19 from Garrett Hall and a season-high 17 from Tim Douglas.
“It was kind of reversed, I guess,” said Head Coach Tom Faraci, referring to the Rockets’ game against Andes earlier in the week. “It really seemed like they came out ready to play and the energy was good, and it was nice to see Garrett who does so many things for us that aren’t necessarily on the stats sheet, but then he comes out and has by far his best game. And Timmy came out and played well, he was moving well and the guys were finding him.”
The performances by Douglas and Hall were particularly effective, given the Eagles’ focus on shutting down other typically high-scoring players.
“They were trying to take certain things away and we kind of countered and those guys were the recipients of that,” Faraci said. “Best case scenario, where that might be taken away, we took advantage with driving and dishing off to people – they made it look easy. I wish we always did that. I wish teams always played us that way. We did the right things and found the right people.”
Also key to the Rockets’ success Friday night was their effort on the boards; Skipper tallied 13 rebounds for Roxbury and Douglas added 11.
“That was big,” Faraci said. “I also think we really did a great job drawing the defense and pushing it off to the open guys and guys in the right spots. It was fun to watch them.”
The Rockets move into preparation for sectional play, the seeds for which will be announced this week.
“I think we’re playing as well as we have in a lot of different areas,” Faraci said. “Defensively I think we’re playing harder and hitting the boards harder. I’m hoping that we’re peaking at the right time and playing our best basketball at the end of the year.”

SK 70, Andes 20 (Friday)
The Andes Mountaineers closed the regular season with a tough 70-20 loss at the hands of the undefeated South Kortright Rams on Friday night. It was a game about which Andes Head Coach John Bernhardt was rather succinct.
“It was an ugly night,” he said. “There’s not a lot I can say in a positive way, except that we got the opening tip and scored, and we led 4-3 about three minutes into the game. From that point on…”
The Rams put together back-to-back 20-point quarters to lead the Mountaineers 40-11 at halftime and showed no sign of letting up in the second half, adding another 30 points and limiting Andes to a total of nine.
“South Kortright is a tremendous team and as good as we handled the press on Wednesday, we handled it equally poorly on Friday night. You’ve got to take the ball into pressure and be able to handle it, and we just ran afraid of pressure. It’s not football – people can’t plow you over, so you have to be assertive with the ball and step into the defense and we didn’t. We simply did not do that.”
James Litaker paced Andes with four points; the Mountaineers also received three points apiece from Russell Koronowski, Josh Bonifacic, Ethan Berghammer and Justin Weaver.
The Mountaineers will find out who they face in the opening round of sectionals early this week.
“We’re hoping we don’t draw South Kortright in the first round, let’s put it that way,” Bernhardt said. “When we’re playing well, we do some things that are pretty good. We have not been able to sustain that play against the top-notch competition, and sectionals give you the chance to do that. We haven’t played with a lot of grit when we’re behind, and sectionals give you the chance to do that, too, so I hope we’ll prove some things.”
“I have felt all along that we have some potential and we have some athleticism, and you’re hoping that will rise to the surface,” he added. “Sectionals are interesting – you can get hot at the right moment. And can you get a run, because it doesn’t take much more than a run.”