Falcons grounded by Eagles

STILLWATER – A game-long strong performance by the Northville Falcons was thwarted by late-game heroics by Loudonville Christian’s Mat Yamin.

With the Falcons within striking distance and building momentum late in the fourth quarter, Yamin intercepted three passes and converted them to points, helping the second-seeded Eagles turn back No. 10 Northville, 53-42.

“They are disappointed but they really thought it was a winnable game,” Northville coach John Karbowski III said. “Defense is something we stressed all week in practice. They have two really athletic scorers Mat Yamin and Gabe Brown. The Yamin kid scored 24 points tonight, but we made him work for it.”

Second-seeded Loudonville Christian broke away from a 5-5 tie midway through the opening period to hold an 11-7 advantage at the end of the period.

The 10th-seeded Falcons rallied back on the strength of hard drives from Tim Monette and Barcley Hayward and rebounding from Jason VanNostrand. Northville moved past the Eagles in the final 30 seconds of the opening half to take a 20-17 lead into the locker room.

The Eagles came off the break charged and put up nine unanswered points, all off Northville turnovers, to build a 26-20 lead.

The Falcons recovered to stay close to Loudonville Christian, keeping the score to within two possessions as the teams went into the final eight-minutes of play with the Eagles leading 35-30.

Loudonville Christian pulled in front by 11, 43-32, before Jim Grega and Barcley Hayward hit back-to-back 3-pointers to close the gap to seven, 45-38 and Tim Monette hit a free throw to pull the Falcons to within six, 45-39, with three minutes remaining.

The teams kept the difference at five heading into the final minute when Yamin stepped up to take over the game.

The Eagles’ senior intercepted three Northville passes and took them to the hoop for two lay ups and also drew fouls which he converted to close out the 53-42 victory.

“We had a lot of turnovers and unforced errors,” Karbowski said. “They were putting pressure on us but we could have fought it off and run our offense. [Yamin] is a great player though, you can’t take that away from him.”

Yamin finished with 24 points for the Eagles, while Brown chipped in with nine.

Hayward finished with 13 points for the Falcons, while Monette and VanNostrand had eight points apiece and Grega added seven.

“I am happy,” Karbowski said. “They played hard from start to finish, not just this game but from the start of the season right on through. I basically told them to leave everything out there tonight, and they did. That was a 10 seed against a two seed and we were right there until the last couple of minutes.”

Loudonville Christian 53, Northville 42

Northville7 13 10 12 – 42

Loudonville Christian11 6 18 18 – 53

Northville

Edwards 0-1-1, Grega 2-3-7, Hayward 5-2-13, Jonas 1-0-3, Monette 3-2-8, Russell 1-0-2, VanNostrand 4-0-8. Totals: 16-8-42.

Loudonville Christian

Bellanti 1-0-2, Brown 4-1-9, Darlano 0-1-1, Hilton 2-1-5, Keener 2-1-5, Spence 3-0-7, Yamin 9-5-24. Totals: 21-9-53.

3-point goals: Northville 2 (Hayward, Jonas); Loudonville Christian 2 (Spence, Yamin).