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Defensive Gems Lift Lowville Past OFA; Pirates, N-N Win

BY DAVE SHEA

A standing only crowd was galvanized by the action on the Bill Merna Court on Saturday as 13th ranked OFA hosted number one Lowville in the second meeting of the season between two state Class B powers. A contest featuring a host of proven playmakers on both teams who showed the ability to finish and defend on the perimeter and at the rim.

And to the delight of the OFA faithful it appeared that the game was going into overtime as center Jackson Jones rose toward the basket for a layin and a 59-59 tie with six seconds to play.

But his Lowville counterpart Chad Bach blocked the shot and the Devils were forced to foul the Raiders' Aiden Zehr who controlled the rejection. Zehr sank two free throws to give the 13-0, Raiders a 61-57 win and the junior guard completed an 18-point performance which included four three pointers.

OFA (9-4) trailed 57-52 in the high energy and high skill level matchup with 4:51 to play and cut the difference to 59-57 on an offensive rebound by MeSean Johnson who was dynamic in heavy traffic from start to finish. The senior guard generated 18 points with 7-8 foul shooting, seven rebounds, nine assists and six steals.

Bach's block came just seconds after the Division I Lacrosse recruit stole an entry pass to the post and the two defensive gems complemented a stellar 12-point, nine-rebound, four-assist, three-steal outing where he buried timely three-pointers in the third and fourth quarters.

His 3-pointer in the third quarter was part of a Lowville rally after back to back 3s by Trent Sargent keyed a Devil surge to the nine-point lead.

Bach and Zehr each scored five points in the fourth quarter where the Raiders outscored the Devils 10-5.

"The atmosphere was unbelievable. I wish we were able play 20 games like that. This game can only get us better. We need to execute better in crunch time," said OFA Coach Mark Henry.

"They are number for a reason. We have a big week coming up with Massena (Home Tuesday), Watertown (away Wednesday) and St. Lawrence Central (away Friday)."

Aidan Macaulay finished with 16 points, four rebounds and five assists and scored eight points in the second quarter for the Raiders and twin brother Gavin tallied 10 points.

Sargent finished with 14 points, 4 3s, seven rebounds and three assists. Jackson Jones tallied 12 points with eight rebounds, four assists and one steal and scored eight in the second quarter where OFA took a 35-32 halftime lead. Connor Griffith netted 10 points and Harry Powers netted a three-pointer.

In a well-played JV game Lowville turned back an OFA rally after the Devils closed a 14-point deficit to seven in the fourth quarter and registered a 43-32 victory. Dalton Myers led the winners with 12 points and Jake Rupert and Elijah Englehart followed with nine and seven.

Kam Johnson and Aiden LaFlair led OFA with nine and eight points and Justice McIntyre and Shea Polniak each finished with six. Conner Graveline added one point. "We did all we could on defense and we just missed two many free throws and chippies inside," said OFA Coach Dakota Brady.

"It is good for us to play in a game like that against a very good team."

In a nonleague game played on Thursday OFA downed Madrid-Waddington 47-38 after opening a 20-11 first quarter lead. Justice McIntrye scored a game-high 17 points in a balanced offense featuring Aiden LaFlair (8), Shea Polniak (7), Kam Johnson (6), Andrew Loffler (6) and Conner Graveline (3).

Caleb Froats led M-W with eight points and Kada Kingston and Logan Cordova followed with seven and six.

HARRISVILLE, N-N POST NONLEAGUE WINS

In other NAC boys basketball action Norwood-Norfolk scored Potsdam 65-55 in an interdivsional game and Harrisville downed Copenhagen 64-42 for the Pirates' second nonleague win over a Section 3 opponent in two days.

The Hermon-DeKalb at Lisbon NAC West was postponed until Feb. 13 because of the winter storm.

N-N 65 - Potsdam 55: Norwood-Norfolk (10-5) withstood a furious fourth quarter Potsdam rally to prevail. Potsdam stormed back with a desperate rally from a 21 point deficit to bring it to within four points with 1:34 remaining, but came up short. NN raced out to a 52-31 lead after three quarters. The trio of Cole Perretta (26), Logan Allen (12) and Nick Burke (10) led the Flyers and Noah Dominy scored a game-high 27 points for Potsdam (0-14).

Chateaugay 62 - Copenhagen 42: A 25-7 second quarter run gave the Pirates (11-4) control of the contest and the combination of guard Jadon Sullivan and center Adam Szlamcynski combined for 24 and 22 points.

"We played very well today. We had good defensive intensity and Adam Szlamcynski had a great game in the post. We did a good job on their top scorer Keegan Morrow said Harrisville Coach Brian Coloney.

"Jadon Sullivan had an outstanding game and Matt Allen and Cadyn LaPlante came off the bench and gave us good minutes inside."

Nate Schmitt and Nolan Parrow combined for nine and seven points and Matt Allen dropped in two. Keegan Morrow and Cody Powis led Copenhagen (11-3) with 14 and 12 points.


OFA's MeSean Johnson defends against Lowville's Aidan Macaulay in Saturday's game at the OFA gym.



A pair Hall of Fame Coaches in Bill Merna of OFA and Lou Kibling of Lowville-Watertown High enjoy Saturday OFA-Lowville game at the Bill Merna Court. (Mel Cobb Photo)

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