By Rob Potter
HANCOCK January 11, 2008 The Eldred Yellowjackets held the lead when it mattered most in their Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division VI basketball game on Tuesday night against the host Family School Falcons.
Eldred trailed 15-6 after the first period and 30-24 at halftime before rallying in the second half to record a 53-51 victory over the Falcons.
Eldred (2-5, 1-2 Division VI) held a 41-38 advantage at the end of the third quarter.
But the fourth quarter featured five lead changes and a tie at 48-48 with 2:12 remaining.
A minute later, Bobby Moriggia made a foul shot to give the Yellowjackets a 49-48 lead. In the next 55 seconds, Eldred extended its advantage to 52-48 as Moriggia scored inside the lane and John Scully swished a free throw.
But with 10 seconds on the clock, The Family School’s Andrew Fortman hit a 3-pointer to make it a 52-51 game.
With 7.1 seconds remaining, however, Mike Walton made 1-of-2 free throws to seal the Yellowjackets’ two-point victory.
Moriggia, Scully and Kojo Williams paced the Eldred offense. Moriggia had a team-high 15 points, while Scully and Williams scored 11 points apiece.
Jason Jennings added six points for the Yellowjackets.
“I thought it was an excellent game on both sides,” Eldred Coach Charlie Donnelly said. “Both teams played hard the entire game.”
However, Donnelly was disappointed with the way the first half ended as The Family School (2-10, 1-2 Division VI) scored four points in the last 2.2 seconds after Eldred had narrowed the Falcons’ lead to just two points.
“But I was pleased with how we came back in the second half,” he said. “We made some good shots when we needed to. The Family School is a good team and we feel fortunate to leave here with a win.”
While the veteran coach lauded the entire Falcons’ squad, he noted the play of point guard Juan Garcia in particular.
“He did a tremendous job tonight,” Donnelly commented. “We just couldn’t contain him.”
Garcia finished with eight points, while teammate Chad Martz had a game-high 18 points.
Fortman, Kyle Messner and Chris Robinson each added seven points for the Falcons.
“We didn’t play defense well in the second quarter, didn’t play defense well in the third quarter and started to play it a little better in the fourth quarter,” Family School Coach Ted Towsley said. “In the first quarter we played defense pretty well. We played well offensively in that first quarter, too. We need to get to the point where we play good offense and good defense in every quarter.”
While praising the effort of the Yellowjackets, Towsley noted that his team’s letdown on defense was integral to the game’s outcome.
“Whether it’s the NBA, college or another level of basketball, you need to play good defense,” he said. “You can’t win without playing good defense.”