The much anticipated Central Division showdown between the Northern Conferences two state-ranked academies was decided with startling quickness.
Host Ogdensburg Free Academy, which entered the game ranked 10th in the latest NYS Class B Poll, exploded out to 31-11 first lead and cruised to an 82-49 victory over Malones Franklin Academy, the states number 23 ranked Class A team.
The Devils buried six threes building a 52-16 halftime lead, scored in waves off the break, converted off penetration moves out of their halfcourt sets and opportunistically converted on the offensive boards.
But after the contest where the 10-1 Devils (6-1 NAC Central) avenged their only loss of the season, handed the 12-1 Huskies (7-1 NAC Central) their first loss and earned a share of division lead both OFA Coach Mark Henry and senior forward Breton LaRose who scored a game-high 30 points pointed to defense as the key.
It was our defense, defense was the key, said the soft-spoken LaRose who buried three threes, controlled 10 rebounds including three tap-ins on the offensive boards and scored 14 points in the second quarter.
Our help defense was much better tonight than in our game up there. That allowed us to get out and run where were did an outstanding job, said Henry.
Breton LaRose had another great game. He is consistently delivering 20-10 games and once again I have to credit our bench. Colin Ross continues to bring so much energy and Alex Farrell played well inside.
Matt Piercey (3 assists) lead the ignition of the first quarter outburst hitting three three-pointers: one from each wing and one from the top of the key. The sophomore went out to score 17 points and Pat Cosmo used strong moves to the goal, one three and 5-6 free throw shooting to score 14 points.
Kinnon LaRose rotated through every position collecting 11 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Ross delivered six points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals and Jack Manke grabbed three rebounds with two points.
We have been working Kinnon LaRose at the point more which works very well because Kinnon plays very well there and Matt Piercey is such a good shooter from the wing, said Henry after the Devils recorded their seventh straight win heading into a Friday 5:30 p.m. home start against Norwood-Norfolk and a Saturday makeup game with AuSable Valley at SUNY Potsdam (8 p.m.) to complete this years Section 10-7 Challenge. The Patriots are currently ranked ninth in the NYS Class C Poll.
Malone enjoyed a halftime regrouping and gained a 23-10 edge in the third quarter where Nate Monette (10 points) buried two threes and Mitch Gallagher scored seven of his nine points. Harvey Smith went 4-5 from the foul line scoring nine points on the night.
The OFA JVs stayed undefeated with a 48-30 victory where Al Fisher tallied 15 points in the low post and Jon Rogers and Nick Sweeney triggered key scoring spurts. Rogers scored six of his seven points in a 13-7 second quarter advantage and Sweeney scored all of his six points in a 17-8 third quarter break-away.
DaKota Brady followed with five points in the winning offense while Josh Dora and Jake Poupore scored seven and five points for Malone.
Al Fisher played very well for us inside and defensively we played much better in the second half, said Coach Scott Sargent who will have team in action on Friday against Lisbon and on Saturday night at 6 p.m. at SUNY Potsdam against AuSable Valley.
The guys re really looking forward to playing on the big court at Maxcy Hall.
Massena 76 - Canton 40: Zack Rusaw led a balanced Raider (4-2 Central) offense with 19 points and Logan Deshane chipped in 13. Evan LaPoint tallied a team-high 10 points for Canton (3-5).
Gouverneur 58, Salmon River 47: Josh Hynes fired through a game-high 20 points for Salmon River (0-8). Mark Horne led Gouverneur (3-8, 2-5) with 18 points and Curt LaPlante added 11.