By Rob Potter
ROSCOE December 1, 2006 Two teams of Blue Devils began their 2006-2007 scholastic hoops season Wednesday night in a non-league game.
The Margaretville Blue Devils traveled from Delaware County down to Sullivan County to face the host Roscoe Blue Devils.
In a contest in which both teams had some opening-game jitters and shooting woes, Margaretville opened up an early lead. But a third quarter scoring burst by Roscoe enabled the hometown Blue Devils to prevail, 38-29.
Roscoe (1-0) outscored Margaretville (0-1) 14-2 in the third quarter to turn an 18-10 deficit at halftime into a 24-20 lead going into the final eight minutes of play.
Within a 35-second span in the third period, Roscoe’s Jayson Harris swished a pair of 3-point shots. The first long-distance basket brought the host Blue Devils to within a point at 18-17, while the second basket gave them a 20-18 advantage.
Roscoe then extended that lead to as many as 11 points in the fourth quarter.
But Margaretville’s Brandon Lane made a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 1:35 remaining to narrow the Roscoe advantage to 32-29.
A layup by Roscoe’s Cody DeRosia 25 seconds later gave the home team a 34-29 lead.
In the final minute of the game, Margaretville missed some shots and then had to foul the Roscoe players who rebounded the ball in order to preserve as much time on the clock as possible. The host Blue Devils made four free throws in that time span to insure their nine-point victory.
“[Jayson] Harris got hot in the third quarter and was able to make a lot of shots,” Margaretville Coach Jeremey Marks said. “They outscored us 14 to 2 and we went from being up eight to down by four and then Roscoe really increased its defensive pressure in the fourth quarter.”
Marks noted that DeRosia’s layup was a key basket.
However, Marks credited his own players for their performance throughout the contest.
“Our guys kept hustling and they didn’t quit,” he commented.
Like Marks, veteran Roscoe Coach Fred Ahart noted that those eight minutes immediately following the intermission were integral to the game’s outcome.
“That third quarter was certainly a key tonight,” Ahart said. “And very often the third quarter is the key quarter of any basketball game.”
While Harris paced the Roscoe offense by scoring a game-high 24 points, including five 3-pointers, the junior guard also contributed on defense.
“In the second half Jayson guarded their point guard and that got us going on defense,” Ahart said.
Ahart also noted the stellar defensive effort by the Margaretville Blue Devils in the opening two quarters.
“Margaretville certainly deserves credit for playing great defense in the first half,” he said. “They really had us off balance.”
In addition to his 24 points, Harris had eight rebounds and four steals. DeRosia finished the evening with eight points, 14 rebounds and three assists.
Justin Haas added four points for the host Blue Devils.
Casey Moore led the Margaretville offense with 12 points, while Shane Delameter added seven points.