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Rob Potter | Democrat

P.J. Collins (32) of the Eldred Yellowjackets looks up at the basket while taking a shot inside the key during the third quarter of the Dec. 20 OCIAA Division V basketball game between the Yellowjackets and Chester Hambletonians. Chester’s Joshua Feldman is trying to stop Collins.

Chester defeats Eldred Yellowjackets, 51-46,
in OCIAA Division V basketball game

By Rob Potter
ELDRED — December 31, 2010 — The Eldred Yellowjackets and Chester Hambletonians played a very close, competitive Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division V basketball game on Monday, Dec. 20 at Eldred Central School.
At the end of the first quarter, Eldred held a slim 9-8 advantage. The Yellowjackets also had a 22-20 lead at halftime.
But Chester (1-3, 1-1 Div. V) rallied to take a 32-30 lead at the conclusion of the third quarter. The Hambletonians then made some key baskets in the final minutes of the fourth period to record a 51-46 victory over the Yellowjackets.
With 5:36 to go in the fourth quarter, Victor Cruz scored inside the lane to give Chester a 40-35 lead.
During the next 40 seconds,
Eldred (3-2, 0-2 Div. V) pulled to within a single point at 40-39 as Patrick Reiser made a pair of free throws and Brian Hazen scored.
The Hambletonians quickly pushed their advantage back to five at 44-39 when Cruz hit a foul shot and James Ognibene swished a 3-point shot with 3:59 remaining.
Eldred twice closed its deficit to three points in the final minutes. At the 2:02 mark, Hazen scored to make it a 46-43 game.
Just 10 seconds later, Ognibene made another shot from beyond the 19-foot, 9-inch arc to stretch the Hambletonians’ lead to 49-43.
P.J. Collins scored inside the lane on the subsequent Yellowjackets’ possession to bring them within four. Then with 45 seconds left on the scoreboard clock, he made a free throw to cut the Chester lead to 49-46.
In an effort to get the ball back and preserve time on the clock, the Yellowjackets fouled Chester players four times during the next 30 seconds. The last of those fouls sent Cruz to the free-throw line for a 1-and-1 opportunity with 14 seconds to go. He calmly made both foul shots to provide the final margin of victory for the Hambletonians.
Cruz led Chester with 15 points, nine of which he scored in the second half. Teammate Joshua Feldman also scored nine points in the third and fourth quarters and finished the game with 12 points.
Ognibene and Nicholas Thomas-Carcamo added 10 points and six points, respectively, for the Hambletonians.
“James [Ognibene] has been doing a great job this year,” Chester Coach Jon Marsilio said. “He’s our point guard and does a lot for us with scoring, passing the ball and playing defense. He made a couple of big shots tonight in the last minutes.
“It feels good to get this first win under our belt,” Marsilio added. “We did a good job on defense and with rebounding, especially in the second half.”
Chris Pitcher paced Eldred with 13 points, including a pair of 3-point shots, and teammate Nick Mehedin netted 10 points.
Reiser finished with eight points, while Collins had five points.
When asked about the game, Eldred Coach J.J. Gass shook his head as he said one word, “turnovers.
“We made 25 or more turnovers tonight,” Gass continued. “We played good defense in the half-court setting, but they got a lot of transition baskets.”
Gass noted that aside from the turnovers, the Yellowjackets “played pretty well.
“Obviously, we would have liked to come out of the game with the win,” he said.

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