By Fred Stabbert III
WALTON Led by the inside presence of 6’2” Michael Robinson which included 30 points, 11 rebounds and a handful of blocked shots the Fallsburg Comets earned a dramatic 61-57 come-from-behind victory Friday night over Sullivan West in the Walton Tip-Off Tourney.
The win, which took place in the consolation round of the two-day tourney, gave the Comets a third place finish.
“We were down by 13 in the first half,” six-year veteran coach Pete Dworetsky said. “E.J. Franskevicz lit us up in the first half… but Sam Didinsky was able to shut him down in the second half.”
Franskevicz, who finished the night with 16 points, dumped in 14 of those in a furious second quarter rally to take the Bulldogs from a 12-7 first quarter deficit to a 34-22 halftime lead.
Sullivan West extended its lead to 48-35 after three periods before the senior-laden Comets staged their dramatic comeback.
“We have 11 seniors on the team… but they are still teenagers,” Dworetsky said.
“Me and coach had to remind everyone [at halftime] to take our time,” Robinson said. “I kept telling everybody, ‘we are getting a little cocky.’”
Using full-court pressure, Fallsburg started the fourth with a 12-2 scoring run to close the gap to 50-47 at the 3:44 mark.
Sullivan West extended its lead to 53-47 before the senior-laden Comets clamped down on defense and started hitting their outside jumpers.
Sam Didinsky and Rakkir Watson then combined for 11 points during the final three minutes as Fallsburg went on a 14-4 tear to ice the game.
“We lost to Walton [in the first round] on Wednesday night because we didn’t execute,” Dworetsky said. “Russell Corley was out and that impacts our chemistry.
“He’s a real leader in chemistry and out here on the court,” he said.
Watson had a dozen points for the Comets including 8-10 from the charity stripe and Didinsky added nine, which included 7-8 free throw shooting in the fourth quarter.
Matt Cardona chipped in with 13 for the Bulldogs, which dropped to 0-2.
The Walton Tip-Off Tournament also featured the Jayvee teams from Fallsburg Central and Sullivan West Central Schools.
Fallsburg beat Walton in the first round to advance to the championship game while Sullivan West won a dramatic come-from-behind overtime game to best Unatego on Wednesday night.
Friday night, Fallsburg jayvee played Sullivan West in the championship game and Fallsburg fought off a late comeback to beat the Bulldogs 63-60.
Kyle Manzi, who made two three-pointers to propel Sullivan West to victory on Wednesday night, just missed a halfcourt shot at the buzzer to tie the championship game on Friday.