By Justin Gottschalk
GRAHAMSVILLE January 25, 2005 Tri-Valley senior guard Travis Wolfe hit a dramatic game-tying 3-pointer as time expired in regulation in Tuesday nights non-league game versus visiting Livingston Manor.
But Wolfes shot was not enough as Manor held on for a 66-59 overtime win over the Bears.
That Tri-Valley team is really good, said Manor Coach Charlie Hicks. Theyre much better than their record, and theyre young too, which is scary.
In the first half, a combination of poor shot selection and tough-nosed defense by each team kept the score low and close. The officials called a tight game, whistling both teams with traveling and double dribble violations constantly throughout the first and second periods.
Momentum swung back and forth, and at the intermission, Manor held a four-point lead, 29-25.
The second half saw both teams pick up the offensive pace. T-V (1-9) started the third quarter on a 9-0 run to erase its halftime deficit and go up 34-32. Sophomore Michael Kaplan led the Bears out of the gate, scoring four quick points in the opening minutes of the third period. He ended the game with 10 points.
Manor (9-3) battled back, though, with a 12-2 run of its own to close the quarter. Guard Tim Bryant took the game over, stealing the ball numerous times near the top of the key and converting the transition layup more often than not. He finished with a game-high 24 points and his defensive pressure was a key element in the Wildcats win.
Mike Perry added 12 points for Manor.
The fireworks for T-V began late in the fourth period. With 1:40 remaining in regulation, Manor led by eight points, 54-46.
But the Bears would rally on clutch free throws from sophomore John Merchant and junior Derek Smith, and a baseline jumper by eighth-grader Dustin Van Lieu. Those baskets brought T-V to within two points with 44 seconds on the clock.
After a miss by Van Lieu, the Bears were forced to foul Bryant with eight seconds left. With the game on the line, Bryant missed the first free throw and drained the second.
Bryants foul shot gave the Wildcats a 55-52 lead.
The Bears inbounded the basketball to Wolfe, who hustled up the court into the teeth of the Manor defense near the right side of the top of the key. While running and half turned toward the Manor bench, he let go of an improbable 3-pointer, which, even more improbably, fell through the net. The scoreboard read 55-55 at the end of regulation, to the elation of the T-V faithful.
But the Wildcats were not to be denied. They showed tremendous resiliency in dominating the extra session, led by Josh Mendez, who had five points in the period.
They came out and they didnt hang their heads, Hicks said. They came out and played. Weve had a lot of close games this year, to win close games is important down the stretch.
Van Lieu finished the evening with a team-high 16 points.
T-V will look to get back on the winning track tonight in an Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division V game in Chester. Tip-off is slated for 6:30 p.m.
Manor was scheduled to host S.S. Seward last night in an OCIAA Division VI contest.