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Section 10 hoops: OFA boys, Canton girls win Overall titles

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POTSDAM — Champions seize the moment.

Because of the way he captured the moment on Friday at SUNY Potsdam, senior guard Pat Cosmo and his teammates will forever be a member of one of OFA’s nine Overall Section 10 Boys Basketball Championship teams.

On a night when both the OFA and Massena struggled shooting, Cosmo used his creative slashing abilities to score 21 points on 7-for-11 shooting, including 3-of-4 from 3-point land that led the Devils to a 62-54 win.

He tallied 12 points in the first quarter where OFA (20-2) opened a 20-12 lead that eventually became the margin of victory. He netted nine in the fourth quarter where the Devils turned back a concerted Massena rally that cut the difference to four points on long threes by Rhoades Tarbell with 1:02 and 20 seconds remaining.

“Pat Cosmo just went off when we needed him. He is one of the main reasons we won the game,” said junior guard Matt Piercey, who played a very timely role by answering both Tarbell threes with two free throws and hitting 6-of-8 free throws in the fourth quarter in a 10-point, five-assist effort.

“When I went to the line at the end I felt good because all of my teammates were supporting me. It is all about the team,” Piercey added.

A team effort, which featured 16 points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots by Breton LaRose, and seven points by Colin Ross, offset an active effort by the Massena’s inside combination of Zack Rusaw, Xavier Viskovich and Tarbell. Rusaw delivered a 22-point, 16-rebound effort on 8-for-15 shooting. Xavier Viskovich tallied 18 points, and Tarbell scored eight points with 10 rebounds and three blocks.

“We had to play the game inside out tonight. We did a good job at that even though we turned the ball over too much entering it to the post,” Massena coach Tom Miller said. “OFA just has so many scoring options. We came out tonight looking to contain the LaRoses and Matt Piercey and Pat Cosmo just took it to us in the first quarter. The first quarter proved to be the difference in the game but we really battled and battled.”

Senior Alex Farrell added two tough inside conversions to the OFA cause, Cavan LaRose buried a 3-pointer and Kinnon LaRose grabbed eight rebounds.

Zevon Viskovich snatched eight rebounds for Massena (11-9).

GIRLS

CANTON 51, SALMON RIVER 47

The end of one drought extended another as the Golden Bears outlasted Salmon River in the Section 10 Overall Championship at SUNY Potsdam’s Jerry Welsh Gymnasium.

“After watching this game, you can’t tell me that it didn’t mean anything for these teams. They went right at each other and battled each other for 32 minutes,” coach Mike Meyers said after the Golden Bears overcame a strong start by the Shamrocks, then scored the final four points of the game to capture their first overall title since 1977.

“We knew Salmon River was going to give us a good game but our girls really stepped it up toward the end. They didn’t panic. They got some big stops defensively and they came up with a couple of big plays on offense when they needed. This is just such a big win for our program,” Meyers added.

The victory completed a championship trifecta for the Bears, who entered the game having already claimed the NAC Central Division regular-season banner and their first Section 10 Class C championship since 1996.

They will now get set to open the New York State playoffs on Tuesday when they travel to SUNY Adirondack in Queensbury to take on the Section 2 champion starting at 6 p.m.

The Class B champion Shamrocks were making their third straight appearance in the overall title game and were looking to reverse a pair of lopsided regular-season losses to Canton, including a 61-44 setback in their division opener on Dec. 4.

“We’ve come a long way since that first loss to Canton,” said Salmon River coach Karen Francis, who was hoping to lead the Shamrocks to their first overall sectional crown since 1982.

The Shamrocks draw an opening round bye for the state Class B playoffs. They will now gear up to host a quarterfinal round game next Saturday at SUNY Potsdam at 1:45 p.m. against the winner of a first-round game between the Section 2 and Section 7 champions slated for Wednesday night at SUNY Plattsburgh.

In Friday’s overall final, the Shamrocks steadily worked their way to a 16-6 lead after junior Taylor Francis drained a 3-pointer with 2:03 left in the first quarter before the Bears closed with four straight points to cut the deficit to 16-10 heading into the second quarter. Canton then turned up its defensive pressure and gradually put together an 11-3 run, tying the game at 19-19 on a pair of free throws by Emily Pinckney. Canton later took its first lead with 2:06 left in the half on a field goal by Kali Frank. The teams then traded baskets before Frank connected from close range after taking a baseline bounce pass into the lane from Emma Rexford with three seconds left to put Canton ahead 23-21 at the half.

Tori Daley led the way offensively with 18 points as the Bears improved to 19-2. Rexford finished with three 3-pointers in a 13-point effort.

Abby Kelly, a junior, paced the Shamrocks (16-6) with 18 points.


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