Flying Start Keys OFA's Repeat Section 10 Title
BY DAVE SHEA
POTSDAM - Even after falling behind OFA 12-0, Malone was more than happy to continue a sprint relay pace in Friday night's Section 10 Boys Basketball Playoff Championship game against OFA at SUNY Potsdam on Friday night.
The Huskies' guard-oriented lineup cut the difference to 14-10 in the first quarter and maintained a high energy level throughout the game and pulled with six points in the second and third quarters. But they had no answer for Jackson Jones' massive double-double of 25 points and 26 rebounds and timely 3-point shooting from Connor Griffith and Harry Powers as OFA (20-4) cruised to a 66-50 victory.
Jones delivered 18 points and 12 rebounds in the first half and seven points in the third quarter and three assists and three blocks on the night.
Connor Griffith (2 assists, 3 rebounds) drilled four 3s scoring 12 points, buried a pair of 3s after Malone (16-7) cut the lead to 22-18 in the second quarter and combined with Powers for back to back threes early in the fourth quarter which produced a 52-35 lead.
"Jackson is just a beast in there and had a great game. We had a great game as a team tonight because we moved the ball so well and played excellent defense. Malone is a very tough team," said Harry Powers who hit two 3s for six points and passed out two assists.
Trent Sargent was another vital cog in the Devils team offense and defense scoring seven points with four assists and MeSean Johnson once again set and sustained the frenetic pace with 10 points, four rebounds and six assists.
Brogan LaRose, who received the Tony Murray Outstanding Sportsmanship Award for NNY Officials Board after the game, scored three points with four rebounds. Cam Johnson rounded out the scoring with a 3-pointer which closed out OFA's scoring.
Erin Cromp of Brushton-Moira received the Girls Basketball Tony Murray Award and the Betty Ahlfeld Award which is presented to a player who exemplifies service above self to team, school and community went to Stefanie Fortune of Tupper Lake and Cameron Tracy of Chateaugay.
"I am very proud of this group. What they have done the past two years is incredible. Malone played very well and we struggled to score at times. Both teams played extremely hard for 32 minutes. Jackson had 25 points and 26 rebounds. An amazing night to end his Section 10 career," said OFA Coach Mark Henry after his number eight state ranked Class B Champions claimed a repeat Overall Section 10 title and six in the last eight years.
"Connor Griffith played what I think was his best game of the year at both ends tonight. He hit big shots when needed and played great defensively tonight. Just a great group led by five great seniors. Can’t say enough superlatives. Now we need to get some rest and prepare for Schalmont," said Henry.
OFA will play Section 2 champion Shalmont in the regional semi-finals on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at Saratoga High School. The winner advances to the regional finals against the Section 7 Champion. Shalmont won the Section 2 title on Friday with a 53-46 win over Mechanicville.
Malone will host the Section 3 Class A Champion on Tuesday at SUNY Potsdam. The Huskies were led on Friday night by the penetrating playmaking and jump shooting abilities of Payton Poirier and Aiden Decilles (4-4 FT shooting) who scored 10 and 13 points. Alex Preve buried two 3s scoring eight points and Keegan Monnett added six interior points.
Daimen Poirier, Jake Van Steenburg and Gavin Barse all netted 3-pointers and Alexjano Sosa and Nicky Oddey each added two points.