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Tri-Valley begins 2010 with a 63-53 win

By Lori Brown
GRAHAMSVILLE — January 12, 2010 — The Tri-Valley Bears rang in the New Year on Thursday evening with a 63-53 victory over the visiting Chester Hambletonians in an Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division V basketball game.
With the win, T-V improved its record to 3-5 overall and 1-3 in Div. V.
The Bears started off strong and quickly took an 11-4 lead.
Chester Coach Jon Marsilio called a timeout to talk strategy with his players with only one minute remaining in the opening period. Following the timeout, Chester’s Matt Balzano scored five points to bring his team to within two at 11-9.
At the beginning of the second quarter, T-V teammates Mike Alvarez and Bobby Beale each swished a pair of free throws to extend the team’s lead to 15-9.
Then it was a battle of the 3-pointers as Balzano made a shot from outside the 19-foot, 9-inch arc. Just 19 seconds later, Beale swished a 3-pointer.
With only two minutes left until halftime, Khristian Newkirk made a 3-pointer to give the Bears a double-digit advantage at 29-19.
But Chester (3-6, 1-2 Div. V) went on a 10-0 scoring run in the final minute to even the score at 29-29 at intermission. Josh Feldman by netted four points in the run and James Ognibene swished a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
T-V opened the third quarter with a 12-0 run. Chester responded by scoring eight straight points. With two minutes left in period, the Bears extended their lead to 46-39.
The two teams exchanged baskets until about midway through the fourth quarter. At that time, the Hambletonians came on strong as Ognibene made a 3- pointer to make it a 55-51 game.
Chester got into some foul trouble in the final minute and the Bears made some key free throws to record the 10-point win.
“It was an extremely close game,” Marsilio said. “We had adversity this week; our leading scorer is out and my five guys played their hearts out. They made a good effort and gave everything they had.
“Matt Balzano and Ryan Crowe did a great job,” Marsilio added. “It was a tough game as my five guys were exhausted but still went on the [late scoring] run.”
Marsilio also praised the Bears and their effort.
“Last year we were co-champions [of Division V] together and we worked real hard,” he said. “Tri-Valley is a great team. They hurt you on the inside and outside.”
Balzano led the Hambletonians with a double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds.
T-V Coach Brian Tingley noted that “it was a game of streaks” and was pleased with how his team played.
“The big men rotated well, and we were trying to go inside against them and it worked out,” Tingley said. “We moved the ball.
“Chester’s Josh Feldman and James Ognibene scored points to tie the game, so it was a new game going into the second half,” Tingley continued. “We came together in the lockerroom to adjust our defense.
“We had a 12-point run in the third quarter, then they went on a run, then we went on a run; back and forth, back and forth”, he said. “It was a nice team effort and they talked a lot on defense.”
Beale paced the Bears’ offense with 17 points, including a trio of 3-point shots. Newkirk recorded 14 points and DiMilia had 13 points.

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