Dragons fall short against Mohonasen
GLOVERSVILLE – The Gloversville Dragons knew they had to contain Mohonasen’s Grant Massaroni in their first-round game of the Section II Class A tournament.
The Dragons’ box-and-one zone defense helped hold Massaroni to nine points, well below his 18.4 per game average.
However, the Mighty Warriors received solid performances from Donye Walker-Sostre and reserves Justin Kretzler and Jeffrey Wicks to topple the eighth-seeded Dragons 57-40 Wednesday night at Gloversville High School.
“Their role players beat us,” Gloversville Coach Mark LeFever said. “Our main goal was not to have Massaroni beat us and make other guys knock down the shots but we did not think they would knock down that many. It didn’t matter if we were in box and one or man; they did it.”
Mohonasen, the ninth seed, advances to Sunday’s Class A quarterfinals at Hudson Valley Community College where the Warriors will play top seeded and undefeated Scotia-Glenville at 5:30 p.m.
In other Class A opening-round action, No. 7 Queensbury defeated No. 10 Amsterdam, 70-56 and No. 6 Averill Park beat No. 11 Bishop Gibbons, 54-49.
Queensbury will play No. 2 Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake at 4 p.m. Sunday, while Averill Park will take on No. 3 Glens Falls at 2:30 p.m. Receiving first-round byes and advancing to the quarterfinals were No. 4 Lansingburgh and No. 5 South Glens Falls. They will play Sunday at 1 p.m. All Class A quarterfinals will be played at Hudson Valley Community College.
The opening quarter of Wednesday’s contest turned into a 3-point shooting contest as neither team could find success under the basket.
The Warriors (5-14 overall) put the first points of the game on the board with a Walker 3-pointer, which was immediately answered by a long-distance basket from Gloversville’s Zech Brown. Massaroni scored what would be his only points of the first half, a 3-pointer with 4:40 left in the period. The Dragons answered with a pair of 3-pointers from Keyshawn Arnold to hold a 9-6 lead at the end of the opening period.
The Dragons went on a 6-0 run in the opening 90 seconds of the second period on a basket from Kevin Johnston and a pair of put backs from Barceem Dukes to build a 15-6 advantage.
Mohonasen coach Ken Dagostino switched up his lineup, inserting Wicks to pick up the pace. Wicks made his presence felt immediately, connecting on a pair of 3-pointers less than 30 seconds apart to close the gap to 15-12 and Walker finished a long outlet pass from Massaroni to make it a one-point game.
Dukes added another low-post bucket to the Gloversville score, while Nicholas Rapp hit a lay up in the closing seconds to send the teams to the locker room at the half with Gloversville holding a 17-16 advantage.
During the break, Dagostino told his team “We have 16 minutes left. Our defense wasn’t bad. We held them under our 20 number. We have to step it up because Gloversville’s going to come out and kick it up another gear.”
The Warriors responded by outscoring Gloversville 23-10 in the period.
With Massaroni guarded heavily, Walker again stepped up his game, connecting for three 3-pointers for nine of his 11 third-quarter points.
Dukes continued to find openings under the basket to pull down rebounds and get second-chance points or drawing fouls. He accounted for six of the Dragons’ 10 points, with Asa Barnhill and Arnold rounding out the scoring.
With a 12-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, Mohonasen went back to its slow-and-deliberate first quarter pace, often running the shot clock down before putting up a shot.
Wicks continued to have a hot hand behind the 3-point arc, hitting two more along with one from Kretzler.
With the Dragons fouling to help get possession of the ball, the Warriors showed their proficiency at the free-throw line, connecting on 6-of-10 fourth quarter attempts to lock up the 57-40 victory.
“We struggled in the first half and coach started to preach that we needed to move the ball, rebound and get the transition,” Massaroni said. “That is what we did not get in the first half. The second half we got way more and started to hit out shots.”
Massaroni finished with nine points and 10 rebounds for Mohonasen, while Walker led the team with 16 points. Wicks hit four 3-pointers en route to his 14 points, while Kretzler knocked down two 3-pointers in h is 13-point effort off the bench.
“Wicks stepped up; Kretzler stepped up and Walker is coming into his own,” Dagostino said. “All three of those guys are juniors. I did not expect this. I saw Gloversville on tape and they have had similar games to what we had all year that could have gone their way. Everybody, with the exception of Massaroni, that was their first sectional game. I think the first half, despite the combination of Gloversville’s box-and-one and our lack of sectional minutes, we held our own.”
Dukes led Gloversville with his double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds to go with a steal, a block and an assist. Arnold finished with eight points, while Barnhill hit seven.
“The kids played hard but I think teams like to come here and they shoot the lights out,” LeFever said. “Our game plan was to keep Massaroni in check and for the most part we did that. We knew Walker could shoot the ball and Wicks could also knock it down. I thought we held them in check the first half. But the second half, if they got an open look they knocked it down. I think they shot somewhere near 70 percent in the second half and we missed some easy opportunities.”
Gloversville finished the season with a 7-12 record and will graduate six seniors – Chris Rockefeller, Johnston, Shawn Arnold, Brown, Corin Smith and Islam Mustafa.
“I am going to miss the seniors on this team but we have a nice core of juniors coming back,” LeFever said.
Mohonasen 57, Gloversville 40
Mohonasen6 10 23 18- 57
Gloversville9 8 10 13 – 40
Kretzler 4-3-13, Massaroni 3-2-9, Rapp 2-0-4, Richardson 0-1-1, Walker-Sosre 6-0-16, Wicks 4-2-14. Totals: 19-8-57.
K. Arnold 3-0-8, S. Arnold 1-0-2, Barnhill 3-0-7, Brown 1-0-3, Dukes 5-6-16, Goodwin 1-0-2, Johnston 1-0-2. Totals: 15-6-40.
3-point goals: Mohonasen 11 (Walker-Sostre 4, Wicks 4, Kretzler 2, Massaroni); Gloversville 4 (K. Arnold 2, Barnhill, Brown).