By Rob Potter
HANCOCK January 15, 2002 - The Family School Falcon baskeball team nearly avenged an early season loss last Friday night.
Back on December 19, the Falcons made the two-hour-plus bus ride to Tuxedo to face the Tornadoes in a non-league match-up. The Falcons came home smarting from a 21-point defeat (69-48).
But last Friday night on their own court, which is dubbed the Falcons Nest, The Family School (2-5) squad almost turned the tables on Tuxedo (5-3).
However, a fourth-quarter scoring surge by Tuxedos Seth Caridi and good foul shooting helped the Tornadoes leave the Falcons Nest with a 79-72 victory.
It was a game in which the momentum swung back and forth, especially in the second half. The score was tied three times in the final six minutes.
But with 3:24 left in the contest, Caridi hit a three-pointer to give Tuxedo a 69-66 lead. A pair of free throws by Sean Buckley fifteen seconds later gave the Tornadoes a more comfortable 71-66 advantage.
The Family Schools Sean Hogan calmly swished both free throws during a one-and-one situation with 2:05 showing on the clock to pull the Falcons within 71-69.
But that was as close as the Family School would get.
Caridi, who finished with a game-high 29 points, converted four of six foul shots in the final minute of play to seal the win for the Tornadoes. Greg Rohlfs added 25 points for Tuxedo, while Austin Hoffman and Doug Santiago netted 13 and 10 points, respectively.
This was a whole different ball game compared to the first time we played them, Tuxedo Coach Joe DiMattina said. They have improved 100 percent since then. This was a very good game.
DiMattina noted that the Falcons Nest atmosphere really gives The Family School a true home court advantage.
This is a great crowd here, theyre yelling and really excited about the game, he said. And its very respectful the way they totally quiet down when both teams are on the foul line.
When asked about a key to the win, DiMattina didnt hesitate to answer.
In the second half, our defense was a lot better, he replied.
Two Falcons, Hogan and Jordan Singer, reached double figures. Hogan finished the night with a team-high 22 points and Singer added 17 points.
The home crowd DiMattina alluded to really had reason to cheer when the Falcons began the game with a 10-0 run. Leading the charge was Lou Bankston, who scored four of his game-total nine points in those two-plus minutes.
Tuxedo, however, slowly worked itself back into the game. By halftime, the Family School lead was only 38-36.
This time they had to make the two-and-a-half hour drive and I think they were a little flat at the beginning, Family School Coach Larry Patrisso said. But then we had a dry spell in the third quarter. We were getting tired in the second half, too.
Still, seeing his team play fairly even with Tuxedo just prior to the start of the league schedule made Patrisso happy.
To go from losing to a team by 21 points the first time and then to only lose by seven Ill take that any day, he said.