By Rob Potter
FALLSBURG February 3, 2004 Based upon past basketball games between Tri-Valley and Fallsburg that were very close and competitive, it should have surprised no one that Friday nights game was not decided until the last minute.
In front of a large, loud crowd in the Fallsburg gymnasium, T-V held on in that final minute for a 52-49 victory over the Comets in the OCIAA Division V contest.
The Bears had a 50-45 lead with 1:20 remaining in the game, but
Fallsburg (3-8, 0-2 OCIAA) rallied in the final minute. With exactly one minute left on the clock, Schyler Trujillo made a layup to pull the Comets within three points at 50-47. After the Bears failed to score on their next possession, Trujillo grabbed an offensive rebound and put the ball back up and in to make it a one-point game.
But with 10 seconds on the scoreboard clock and T-V holding a slim 50-49 lead, Travis Wolfe sealed the victory for the Bears when he made a pair of free throws.
Fallsburg quickly attempted to tie the game and send it into overtime, however. After Trujillos three-point shot bounced off the rim, Comet guard Sean Buckner grabbed the rebound and launched a three-point shot of his own. But T-Vs Eli Felder was able to block the shot as the final second ticked off the clock.
Were just happy to get a win in such a competitive game, T-V Coach Jason Semo said. Some other coaches have told me that this is one of the best rivalries in Section IX. We have hard-fought games of good basketball whenever we play Fallsburg.
Wolfe finished the game with 16 points including, of course, the winning free throws. Also leading T-V (5-7, 1-1 OCIAA) to the victory were Felder and Martin Henry-Lester. Felder scored a game-high 21 points and grabbed nine rebounds, while Henry-Lester had a double-double of 11 points and 15 rebounds.
Trujillo also recorded a double-double, scoring a team-high 12 points and snaring 10 rebounds. Buckner added 11 points for the Comets and Daniel Frasier chipped in with nine.
T-V opened the game with a 13-0 run and held a 13-4 lead at the end of the first quarter. But Fallsburg responded in the second period, outscoring the Bears by an 18-13 margin to make it a four-point (26-22) game at halftime.
In the third quarter, the teams exchanged the lead a few times. Then T-V was able to maintain a small lead throughout the fourth period.
Our kids played with a lot of poise tonight, Semo said. They could have folded when Fallsburg came back in the second half, but they maintained their poise.
Keeping their focus and teamwork were keys to the victory for T-V, and that teamwork was made even more important as the Bears were missing one regular starter and lost another to injury shortly after halftime.
Senior guard J. R. Rennison did not play at all for what Semo said were disciplinary reasons. Then with 4:01 left in the third period, shooting guard Zac Bright was accidently hit above his eye in a scramble for the ball. He left the court and did not return to the game. Semo said that he fully expected Bright to receive stitches to close the gash, but didnt think the senior would miss any playing time in future games.
When Zac went out, the other players could have let down, but they didnt and really worked together, Semo commented. We played a team game tonight. Some players did well in one area of the game and other guys excelled in other aspects. But they pulled together as a team and we got the victory.