Good Morning! With the Border Country Sports Blog, I'm Keith Harrington.
North Warren Falls yo Falcons in Class D Semifinals
Early in the season getting a chance to defend their Section II Class D championship looked like it may not be possible for James Cuyler's North Warren Cougars. After losing a ton of talent from graduation over the last couple years North Warren suffered some blowout losses to start the season.
Always one of the best coached teams in the Adirondack League, the Cougars recovered, and scrapped their way back to the Cool Insuring Arena. A trip back to to the finals was not in the cards for North Warren this time around however as they fell to Northville 45-36 to end their season.
Both teams struggled to score in the first half in the wide open confines of the CIA. The score was tied 5-5 after a quarter. The Cougars used a 7-6 second stanza to lead 12-11 at the half.
The team that adjusts to the depth perception first often wins the games at the CIA. On this night it was the Falcons. North Warren used a 16-7 third quarter advantage in the third to open a 27-19 lead heading to the fourth.
North Warren started to scored the ball better in the fourth, but were still outscored 18-17 as Northville held on for the win.
The Cougars pulled within 36-32 late but Northville hit their free throws down the stretch.
The Falcons got a balanced scoring attack led by Jacob Frank with 10 points. Daniel VanNostrand had nine and Evan Tamulaitas eight.
Sean Evans led North Warren with 17 points. Tommy Conway chipped in seven.
Despite the loss Cuyler could not be more pleased with how far his team came this season.
"These guys fought all year, Cuyler said. "We were getting blown out at the beginning of the season, evrybody questioning how good we were going to be. Nobody thought we would be in the Class D semifinals. North Warren kids are tough, they don't quit."
North Warren finishes the season 13-9.
15-7 Northville moves on to meet OESJ in Saturday's final.
Martens to Close Out Regular Season This Weekend
If you haven't caught a Bennington Martens ABA game yet, this weekend may be your final chance. Barring earning a playoff bid the Martens will conclude their first season on Saturday and Sunday. This is the first season of play for the Martens.
Saturday Bennington hits the road to meet the Hornell Bulls.
On Sunday the Martens play their regular season finale as they host the NY Hoop Dragons. The game will be played at the Gateway Sports Complex in Cohoes. Gateway is just a short one hour drive from the Border Country area. Wel worth it on a Sunday to watch some pro basketball. Tip off is 11 a.m.
Last weekend the Martens came up short in a pair of closely contested games. Both came down to the final possession.
On Saturday Bennington fell on the road at the Worcester Majors 109-107.
Chib Belonwu finished with 28 points and Nick Tracy finished with 23 points for the Majors.
The Martens were led by a double-double from Todd Spotwoods with 15 points and 15 boards. Tobias Holmes led the Martens with 25 points. John Ryals added 18.
On Sunday Bennington battled one of the top five ABA teams in the country in the Providence Martens at the Gateway Sports Complex. The Martens play well but came up just short in a 101-100 loss.
"It was great to be able to battle them. We were close Martens coach Christopher Kidd said after the game. "I told them in the locker room I am very, very proud of evry single one of them."
Former Southern Illinois standout Mikey Rodriguez led the Pirates with 25 points. Shane DeRosa added 20 and seven-footer Kevin Briggs 17.
Ronnell Epps had a game-high 32 for the Martens. Holmes added 18.
"We came together at the end but they were just a really good team," former Castleton Spartan Tank Roberson said after the contest. "I said to the guys after the game. That's the number two team in the country. We can be really, really good. It takes time. Hopefully next year we will be a top team."
It was announced before the game that Holmes has signed a contract to play professionally in El Savador. Holmes will play for the Dragonnes professional basketball team.
Holmes becomes the fifth Dragon to sign to play overseas since th start of the season.
The Martens Facebook page stated, "They will be receiving one of our best scoring player and highly determined athlete. We will miss Tobias and his ability to shoot from anywhere on the floor."
With the Border Country Sports Blog, I'm Keith Harrington.