OFA, Malone Match Wins Heading To Second Meeting
BY DAVE SHEA
Looking over the film of Saturday's 61-57 loss to number one Class B state-ranked Lowville, the OFA Boys Basketball coaches noted that their Blue Devils failed to convert some excellent opportunities to win the game.
On Monday, the 13th ranked Blue Devils returned to NAC Central Division action by hosting Massena in the annual Coaches Vs Cancer Night and were very efficient at exploiting opportunities to gain a 75-35 victory. Through the generosity of the players and fans of the two schools $1,202 was raised for the American Cancer Society which included gate receipts ($753), donation jar ($123), 50/50 raffle ($162), a $100 donation from the cheerleading program and $44 raised from a faculty dress down day.
In a pregame ceremony members of the OFA Boys Basketball, Girls Basketball and Cheerleading programs presented a $2,000 donation to Melody Rishe of the Richard Winter Cancer Treatment Center. The OFA coaches and student-athletes will also be donating $500 to the Ryan's Wish Foundation. JD King earned $50 as the top salesperson for Coaches Vs Cancer T-Shirts and Zoe Williams received $25 as the second leading sales persons.
OFA 75 - Massena 35: Many OFA scoring opportunities came off a swarming, overplaying man-to-man defense which produced 14 steals and the rapid ball movement which led to 23 assists and nine three-pointers off good looks against a solid Massena zone defensive effort.
"I thought we did a really nice job coming back after a tough Lowville game. We shared the ball very well with 23 assists. ," said OFA Coach Mark Henry after the Devils won the first of four games in seven days which will culminate in a home game with Malone on Tuesday which could very well produce a meeting of NAC Central leaders separated by one game.
OFA (10-0 Central, 10-4) travels to Watertown High today (5 p.m. JV start at Case Middle School Gym), visits St. Lawrence Central (5-4, 9-6) on Thursday and on Tuesday hosts Malone (9-1 NAC, 11-4) which outscored Canton 65-56 in overtime on Tuesday.
The other Central Division game of the day saw St. Lawrence Central drop Potsdam 64-45.
Jackson Jones tallied eight points in the first quarter where Devils used a strong finish to take a 19-11 lead. Johnson went on to score a game-high 21 points with 10 rebounds and two blocks.
A lockdown defender and fluid facilitator and finisher, MeSean Johnson (7 steals, 7 assists) scored his 15-point total over the course of the second and third quarters where the Devils rang up a 40-19 advantage.
Harry Powers buried two 3-pointers in the first and second quarters scoring 12 points and Connor Griffith netted three 3's and passed out five assists in a 15-point effort. Trent Sargent was also impactful scoring seven points with four rebounds and four assists, Logan Horton added a 3-pointer and David Vernsey rounded out the total with two points.
"Connor Griffith played one of his best games of the year on both ends. I thought he played really hard. Jackson (Jones) and MeSean (Johnson) continue to play at such a high level and everything opened up when Harry hit the early 3s. Four guys in double figures and a great defensive effort," added Coach Henry.
Forward Chris McGregor scored in every quarter leading Massena with 13 points and center Ethan Firnstein worked the low blocks for 12 points. Ryan Herrick followed with seven and Ethan Barney added three.
The OFA JVs used some strong defensive rebounding by Conner Graveline, a strong inside conversion Kam Johnson and three free throws by Justice McIntyre to prevail after Massena closed a 12-point lead to seven midway through the fourth quarter. Johnson finished with 14 points and Aiden LaFlair and McIntyre followed with 11 and 10 to lead the Devils. Shea Polniak added four points and Jake Firnstein and Colin Patterson combined for eight and six points to lead Massena.
Malone 65 - Canton 56: Payton Poirier scored six of his game-high 28 points in a 15-8 fourth quarter swing where Malone came from behind to earn an overtime reprieve. The Huskies went 7-10 from the foul line in a 15-point overtime where Adam DeCillis scored eight points. Keegan Monette tallied 11 points for the Huskies, Jake Van Steenburg dropped in six and Damien Poirier added five.
Rounding out the scoring were: Nick Preve with three and Pat Poupore with two.
Austin Cloce and Andy Downs scored 1`7 and 13 points for Canton (7-3, 9-7) which took a 32-23 halftime lead. Caleb Bentley Hicks tallied seven points followed by: Ethan Furnia (3), Josh Kennedy (4), Sky Kennedy (5), Zach VanBrocklin (4) and Chris Downs (2).
SLC 64, Potsdam 45: Potsdam (0-10, 0-15), trailing 29-12 at halftime, fought back to close the gap to 35-31 with three minutes remaining in the 3rd quarter, before SLC reasserted itself and cruised on to victory. Cash Feely led SLC with 20 points followed by Ethan LaRock and Austin Weegar with 11. Aiden Stickles scored 14 points for Potsdam and Noah Dominy came through with 12.