By Rob Potter
GRAHAMSVILLE December 4, 2001 The host team was able to make one comeback during Saturday boys championship game of the Tri-Valley Tournament.
But the Tri-Valley Bears could not withstand a second Fallsburg scoring surge late in the second half. As a result, Fallsburg (2-0) took home the tournaments first place trophy with a 59-48 victory.
After being outscored by a 15-5 margin in the second quarter, the Bears roared back in the third quarter. Tri-Valley (1-1) outscored Fallsburg, 15-13 in that stanza and began the fourth quarter with a 10-2 run.
A three-pointer by Tri-Valley guard J.R. Rennison with 4:48 left in the game cut the Fallsburg lead to 43-39. Just over two minutes later, Kyle Humphrey brought T-V to within a single point (45-44) when he put back a missed free throw.
But Fallsburg responded quickly, which ensured that T-V would not take the lead.
Jon Hinton swished a three-point shot with 2:20 remaining in the contest to give the Comets a 48-44 lead. Thirty seconds later, teammate Brooks Whitaker stepped in front of a Bear player to intecept a pass. Whitaker then drove to the hoop and scored while being fouled. He hit the free throw to complete the three-point play and give Fallsburg a 51-44 lead with 1:48 left.
The Comets outscored the Bears by a 7-5 margin in the remaining time to preserve the victory.
Tri-Valley really came out and played hard, Fallsburg coach Paul Marsden said of the Bears comeback in that third period. We had some turnovers and they took advantage. Give them credit they hustled and played hard.
Of couse, Marsdens own players played hard as well particularly in the second quarter. Thats when the Fallsburg defense was able to step up, enabling the Comets to turn a 13-9 lead at the end of the first quarter into a more comfortable 28-14 advantage going into the lockerroom.
Thats our 1-2-2 halfcourt press, Marsden said. Its our bread and butter.
Tri-Valley Coach Jason Semo also found the second quarter to be a key to the contest.
They were able to open up a lead on us and they controlled the tempo in the second quarter, he said. We made a run at them in the third quarter and were able to close the gap. And they responded well in the fourth quarter when we got to within one [point].
Marsden pointed out the job done by Lionel White, who stepped in when three starters sat out the beginning of the game for being late for the team bus.
Lionel White deserves a lot of credit, Marsden said. He played well, especially in that second quarter. He played point guard and was able to see the floor very well.
White finished the game with seven points.
Also leading the Comets to the win were Hinton, who scored a team high 18 points, and Brandon McKenney, who netted 10 points. Hinton scored the bulk of his points behind the three-point line, connecting on four long-distance shots in the contest.
T-V guard Kyle Humphrey netted a game-high 21 points, while teammate Jeremiah Salomon scored 11.
Despite the loss, Semo was happy to see his young team rally in the second half. (There are only two seniors on the Bears 11-player roster.)
He also noted that it was a good championship game between two familiar opponents.
We have developed a great rivalry, Semo said of his squad and the Comets. We respect each other and play a clean game, hustling up and down the court for 32 minutes.
Hinton was named the tournaments MVP, while Rennison was chosen as the Defensive Player of the tournament. Humphrey, McKenney and White were all selected to the all-tournament team.
Ellenville 56 Liberty 47
In the tournaments consolation game, Ellenville (1-1) rallied from a nine-point halftime deficit to claim the third place trophy.
Ellenville closed the gap to a single point at the end of the third quarter. A three-pointer by Ellenvilles Jason Budd twenty seconds into the fourth period gave the Blue Devils a 41-39 lead.
Libertys Renauld Buck scored two minutes later to put the Indians back on top, 45-43.
But Ellenville took the lead for good when Ed Scott converted a layup with 4:05 remaining in the game. That made the score 47-45 in favor of the Blue Devils, who outscored Liberty by a 9-2 margin the rest of the game.
Ellenvilles Carlton Burrell led all scorers with a game-high 19 points. Teammates Charles Miles and Danny Lavia each netted 10 points on the evening.
Liberty (0-2) had three players reach double figures in the scoring column. Eleazar Buck netted 16 points, Nick Christian had 13 and Matt Black recorded 10.
Buck and Burrell were named to the all-tournament team.