OFA, Lisbon Score Wins In Successful "Freddie"
BY DAVE SHEA
The third annual Freddie Badlam Basketball Celebration Day started and ended with victories by the host OFA Girls and Boys varsity teams.
The OFA Girls scored a 52-34 nonleague victory over Lisbon in the opening game and the OFA Boys downed Canton 82-40 before a full house at the Bill Merna Court in the final game of the day. In between Lisbon turned back Old Forge in the closing seconds for a 48-45 nonleague boys basketball win and Indian River bested Massena 50-30.
According to Steve LaRose, the CEO of Howland Pump and Supply which sponsors the event, everyone involved in this event came away as winners. The event is held each year to honor the memory of Freddie Badlam who was a retired Ogdensburg Fire Fighter and well known around the North Country as a dedicated supporter of youth and high school sports.
Members of the Fire Department and the Badlam Family presented members of every team with tote bags and water bottles before each game.
All the money raised goes to charities chosen by the Badlam Family.
"I could not think of a better way to honor the memory of Freddie Baldam than to hold this event. The employees at Howland Pump are outstanding people and they make this event go. In three years we have raised $30,000 for charities." said LaRose.
"There are so many people who helped and I want to thank the Ogdensburg School District and Athletic Director Tony Bjork and Coach Mark Henry who does all the work getting the teams here. I want to thank Freddie's parents Rick and Mary Jean and the members of their family who are here, members of the fire department and all the volunteers. I want to especially thank Canton coaches Troy Lassial and Bill Porter for bringing their team today."
OFA 82 - Canton 40: The Blue Devils (7-3) stayed unbeaten in the NAC Central Division at 7-0 and handed the Golden Bears (7-4) their second loss. OFA jumped out to a 21-7 first quarter lead but the Bears rallied for a 21-13 response in the second quarter where they pulled within one point at 28-27 on a drive by Ashton Cloce.
The Devils answered with a jumper by Trent Sargent and a layup off a steal by MeSean Johnson and took a 34-28 halftime lead. A lead they methodically expanded in a 29-11 third quarter surge where the Bears were forced to adjust to the loss of their leading scorer and lead guard Andy Downs to a possible concussion.
Trent Sargent buried a 3-pointer and four straight free throws, Harry Powers buried two 3s and Jackson Jones scored inside and went 4-4 at the foul line in the pull-away.
The Bears provided a high energy outing but defensively were unable to keep MeSean Johnson out of the lane or Jackson Jones off the backboards which has been a recurring problem for OFA's Central Division opponents.
Johnson scored a game-high 23 points off athletic drives to the goal, grabbed five rebounds and six steals and passed out three assists. Jones went 9-9 from the foul line in a 19-point, 15 rebound double double with six blocks.
Sargent went 6-6 from the foul line in a 14-point effort with four rebounds. Powers and Connor Griffith each scored six points followed by Brogan LaRose with five. David Vernsey grabbed eight rebounds and scored three points along with Eli Bullock and JD King.
Sargent and Jones led OFA to a 30-43 outing at the foul line.
"Another nice team win with contributions from a lot of different players. The first half was a game of runs. Defensively we did a nice job besides spurts in the second quarter where we gave up way too many paint touches," said OFA Coach Mark Henry.
"I was glad to see MeSean Johnson be more aggressive on the offensive end. Our energy at the beginning of the third quarter was very good and Trent Sargent had a great third quarter to open up the gap after halftime."
Ashton Cloce used his skilled penetrating and finishing abilities to lead Canton with 20 points and went 6-7 from the foul line. He scored nine points in the Bears' second quarter surge and Downs scored his eight-point total in the run.
Caleb Bentley-Hicks scored five points for Canton, Chris Downs added three points and Justin Kennedy and Zach VanBrocklin each chipped in two.
"We all hope that Andy Downs is OK. We never want to see a player great hurt," said Coach Henry.
"A big thank you goes out to the LaRose and Howland Pump Family and the Badlam Family for putting on such a great event."
OFA JVs 47 - Canton 43: After falling behind 8-0 the Blue Devils regrouped, methodically moved into an eight-point lead midway through the fourth quarter and then turned back a last ditch Golden Bear rally which cut the lead to one point.
Shea Polniak buried a clutch three-pointer to stem the rally and Kam Johnson and Aiden LaFlair each dropped in two free throws in the final 30 seconds. Johnson went 10-11 from the foul line to lead the Blue Devils with 14 points. Justice McIntyre tallied 12 points, Polniak netted seven and LaFlair and Andrew Loffler each added six points.
"This was a really nice win, Shea Polniak hit a big shot and we made our free throws. The guys showed real resiliency today after we got off to a slow start," said OFA Coach Dakota Brady.
Lane Rayburn tallied nine points in the fourth quarter for Canton and finished with 13 on the day while Sam Roiger scored six of his game-high 15 points in the final period which saw both teams scored 19 points. Other Canton scoring came from: Ryan Jones (4), Luke Wentworth (3), Cooper Ladouceur (2), Andrew Franklin (4) and James Bailey (3).
OFA Girls 52 - Lisbon 34: The Devils used a trapping fullcourt press and control of the backboards to take a 17-7 first quarter lead and a 32-12 halftime margin. Emily Farrand buried three jumpers and scored eight points sparking the Devils' 17-point first quarter and went on to score a game-high 17 points with four steals. Gabby Morley produced a high energy seven-point, nine rebound, three steal performance and Abby Raven tallied 12 points with seven rebounds.
"We played good defense today and we did a good job looking to take our outside shots. It was good win for us because we face a big week next week hosting Potsdam on Monday, going to Salmon River on Thursday and playing Indian River at home on Saturday," said OFA Coach Loffler.
Riley Hough (6 points, 4 rebounds) and Hailey Reed (6 points, 4 rebounds) also made major contributions to OFA's control of the interior and Grace Hilborne scored four points. Samara LaFlair closed out the scoring with two points. Alexa McKee and Brooke Measheaw combined for 11 and 10 points to lead Lisbon and Calee Wood tallied six. Other scoring came from: Abby Flack (2), Karli Thompson (1) and Erika Snyder (4).
"OFA was a very tough matchup for us because of their length. But we played much better in the second half and did things that will help us," said Lisbon Coach Dicky Marcellus.
Lisbon JV's 43 - OFA 27: The Golden Knights received scoring from eight players and outstanding leadership from Gabby Taylor who scored 21 points with five steals. Madison Parker and Marissa Robinson (5 rebounds, 4 steals) and each scored five points and Grace Smith and Megan Derushia each scored four. Other scoring came from: Julia Rishe (2), Caleigh Smith (1) and Eliza McLear (1, 5 rebounds, 4 steals).
Olivia Merrill led OFA with 14 points followed by Kenzie Bucher (6), Olivia Liebstein (4), Violeta DeGrout (2) and Mallory Morley (1).
Lisbon 48 - Old Forge 45: Kaiden Mussen buried two 3-pointers scoring eight first quarter points to spark Lisbon (8-2) out to a 17-8 lead and a 30-20 halftime margin. The Eskimos (9-3) used timely 3-point shooting to methodically close the margin to 47-45 with 28 seconds to play on a 3 by Cedric Barkauskas.
A foul shot by Jack LaRock gave Lisbon a 48-45 lead which the Knights defended with two offensive rebounds on missed free throws by Tegan Jordan and one by Mussen.
"We had control of the game and we just lost our focus and started making a lot of mistakes. Having Jackson LaRock in foul trouble was a real problem. Getting those rebounds in the closing seconds was really big," said Lisbon Coach Bob Jordan.
Teagan Jordan scored 15 interior points and Mussen finished with 13 for the Knights who also received seven points from Ethan Martin, six from Jack LaRock, five from Karter Jordan and two from Alex Martin.
Roman McGrady led the Eskimos with 13 points and, Roger McGrady, Barkauskas and Jimmy Connell dropped in eight and Sasha Sieheauw added six points.
Indian River 50 - Massena 30: Explosive guard Sammy Angelo scored 10 points with two 3-pointers sparking 5-3 Indian River to 25-13 halftime lead and buried two 3s and a drive to the hoop after Massena closed the margin to nine points in the third quarter. Angelo scored a game-high 21 points for Indian River and Michael Allen and Robert Alexander followed with 10 and six points.
Ethan Firnstein led Massena with 11 points and Chris McGregor netted seven. Other scoring came from: Joseph Weir (2), Zach LaBarge (3), Luke Greco (2), Zach Barney (3) and Ryan Herrick (2).