POTSDAM - The Massena Central boys basketball team earned a chance to avenge a pair of regular season losses to OFA on Thursday in the semi-finals of the Section 10 Overall tournament at SUNY Potsdams Jerry Welsh Gymnasium.
The third-seeded Raiders advanced to the overall final with a 64-50 decision over second-seeded Madrid-Waddington while top-seeded OFA turned back fourth-seeded St. Lawrence Central 80-48. The Central Division rivals will now return to SUNY Potsdam this evening to decide the overall title starting at 7:15 p.m.
Massena 64, M-W 50: The nightcap at Jerry Welsh Gym was close through the first three quarters before the Class A champion Raiders were able to put away the Class D champion Yellowjackets with an 18-11 fourth-quarter run.
Tonight, I felt that our size wore Madrid-Waddington down in the second half. They are really quick but when we get our inside game working along with some contributions from the outside. We can compete with anyone, said Massena coach Tom Miller.
Madrid-Waddington coach Aaron Jones also expressed his views on Massenas inside force.
There size was definitely a factor. They got some passes over our defense and finished. I would have like to rebound better but they made it difficult. But this was a good test for our kids going into state play next week, Jones said.
Madrid-Waddington (16-7) muscled up with the Raiders in the first quarter to lead 15-13.
Down 19-17, Massena went on a 10-0 run keyed by five points from Xavier Viskovich for a 27-19 lead with 2:29 left in the half halftime. Massena eventually led 34-23 at halftime when Joe LaBelle hit three straight free throws.
The third quarter saw M-W trim the deficit to 46-39 on a buzzer-beating three from Randy Wright.
The Raiders started the fourth on a 6-0 run on by hoops by Tyler Haas, Rhoades Tarbell, and Zevon Viskovich. Maurice Rease answered with a three for M-W and Labelle fired in a three back for a 55-42 lead with 5:50 left. The Jackets got within seven with 4:07 left but Massena responded with five straight keyed by a three from Labelle with 3:30 left for a 60-48 lead.
Hitting those threes were big. Right now, we are playing well and its always nice playing at this time of the year. Weve got a very good OFA team tomorrow night and they beat us twice. Weve got our work cut out for us, said Miller.
Zack Rusaw generated 18 points going 9-for-17 from the field with nine rebounds and two assists. Labelle tallied 15 points keyed by 3-of-7 three-point shooting and logged five assists. Xavier Viskovich tallied 13 points with seven boards. Other Raider contributions came from: Rhoades Tarbell (six points, nine rebounds, three assists, three steals), Haas (four points, six assists), Zevon Viskovich (seven points, two boards) and Logan Deshane (two points).
Greg Thompson generated 18 points, 11 rebounds and two steals for M-W. Colin OBryan added 12 points, four assists, three rebounds and two steals. Richard Wright added eight points, three boards and two assists. Maurice Rease added seven points and Jacob Barney and Zach Brock followed with three and two.
OFA 80, SLC 48: In the first semi-final of the night, the LaRose brothers - twins Breton and Cavan and younger sibling Kinnon - combined to score 17 points in a 28-10 run which carried the Class B Champion Devils (20-1) away from a determined challenge by the Class C Champion SLC (10-11).
We were able to get it going pretty well in the fourth quarter but St. Lawrence Central played very well. They hit some tough shots and Zane Ramsdell played very well inside for them, said OFA Coach Mark Henry after OFA hit four of eight threes on the night in the final quarter. Matt Piercey did a very nice job penetrating the lane for us and Cavan LaRose just keeps getting stronger with every game.
Breton LaRose buried two threes in the first quarter and finished with a game-high 28 points and 13 rebounds which included three offensive tap-ins. After the game, he was honored as the NAC Central MVP and 2013 recipient of the Joe Jukoski Memorial Award which from the NNY Officials Board.
Piercey finished with 16 points and five assists and Kinnon LaRose (4 rebounds, 3 assists) tallied seven of 12 points in the fourth quarter. Pat Cosmo netted eight points with three assists, Cavan LaRose finished with five and Tyler Knowlton struck for five quick points in the fourth quarter. Colin Ross and Seth Pinkerton each hit three-pointers, Jack Manke blocked three scores and scored two points along with Alex Farrell.
This was a good game for us. The team we will play in the states should be a team like OFA, said SLC Coach Joe Reome, who will look to prepare the Larries for their state Class C tournament opener next Wednesday against a yet to be determined Section 2 champion at Saratoga High School starting at 6 p.m.
We hung with them for three quarters tonight. We shot the ball well and Zane Ramsdell showed that he can play inside with anyone in the state, he added.
Ramsdell finished 12 points, 10 rebounds and two assists in a balanced SLC offense which also featured 13 points from Shane Fuentes (2 assists), 10 points from Josh White (2 assists) and seven points from Jessi Greer. Cody Meacham and Bradley Francis both chipped in with three-pointers.