By Ted Waddell
FALLSBURG February 15, 2002 The last time the Fallsburg Comets faced the Tornadoes of Tuxedo, the Tornadoes won 79-71 in double overtime.
Since they last met, things have changed a bit for both teams: Tuxedo lost its top shooters to injuries, and Fallsburg had to drop three starters due to problems with academic eligibility.
In Wednesday nights OCIAA Division IV game, the Comets (13-3, 5-2 OCIAA) took the wind out of the visiting Tornadoes, 65-55, despite a fourth quarter surge by Tuxedo (11-8, 5-4 OCIAA).
The Comets edged out a narrow 13-12 lead in the first period. In the second quarter, they outscored the Tornadoes by a 12-8 margin to take a 25-20 advantage into the locker room.
Fallsburg kept up the pressure in the third period to outgun the Tornadoes, 19-14. In the final eight minutes of play, Tuxedo came on to equal Fallsburgs scoring output (21-21) but it was a classic case of a strong finish being a little too late in order to turn the tide of defeat into a come-from- behind-win.
A balanced scoring attack was a key to the Fallsburg victory. Jon Hinton and Brooks Whitaker each scored a team-high 15 points, while Brandon McKenney and Randy Mack each added 12 points. McKenney grabbed 14 rebounds and Lionel White wasnt far behind with seven boards.
Greg Rohlfs of Tuxedo took the games high scoring honors, netting 31 points including seven three-point baskets.
Despite converting a better percentage of its free throws Tuxedo was 14-of-17 at the foul line while Fallsburg was 15-of-23 the Tornadoes could not recover from their second and third quarter deficit.
It was a little sluggish at first . . . we really didnt come out with any intensity until the fourth period, said Tuxedo Coach Joe DiMattina. That seems to be the negative aspect of our players. We just seem to want to play a fourth quarter, not a full game.
Overall, we have to be together. Were going in spurts, but we need to be there for the full 32 minutes.
DiMattina said that while injuries have sidelined his two best players, the guys coming off the bench are trying their hardest.
Were waiting for our sectional debut when all our guys will be healthy, he added.
According to Fallsburg Coach Paul Marsden, hes also had to look to his bench as at present the squad is comprised of an equal mix of varsity and junior varsity players.
We had some kids who werent good school citizens and some are (academically) ineligble, said Marsden. Were in the business of school first and athletics second.
I thought it was a good game, all eight of my guys performed very well. Were going to continue to work hard.
Jon Hinton is a shooting guard for the Comets. His take on the game?
It was a good game both ways, and they played great defense, said the 18-year-old junior. It had great tempo.
Hintons outlook on the rest of the regular season and the upcoming sectionals?
We play great as a team, and as long as we keep playing like that, we can do anything we want.