BEDFORD, N.Y. – John Jay boys basketball coach Pat Heaton had no problem conceding that his boys ran into a better team on Friday night (Dec. 13) at the Fox Lane Tip-Off Tournament.
“But not 45 points better,” Heaton said, taking some liberty in recounting the final score of the 77-36 loss to Alexander Hamilton.
So, he challenged his team to step up the defense and to come out with more energy in the consolation game the next day. They stepped up to the challenge, beating Peekskill, 69-57.
“It made a difference early and that allowed us to build confidence and a lead,” Heaton said.
Shane Martinsen did the honors at the outset. The center first found the rack in the paint on an assist from Mason DiFalco and then drained a three to break John Jay out to a 5-0 lead.
On the other hand, John Jay had their hands full in keeping up with Martinsen’s Peekskill counterpart. Antonio Taylor’s lay up on the fast break tied the score at 5 and began John Jay’s chase against the senior’s long strides, inside play and outside shot all afternoon.
But momentum quickly shifted back on the heels of Heaton’s gameplan and Ben Konak drew a charge on Taylor. Benjamin Brevetti responded with a layup and then two made free throws after stealing the ball at half court.
The strong first-quarter defense sparked the offense. Nicholas DeVincenzo’s steal led to another easy basket, and two triples by Andy Kote sent the Indians into the second quarter with a 19-12 lead.
Not cooled down by the break, Kote hit another and Stephen Ingersoll followed from the outside to give John Jay a 25-12 advantage. But Peekskill kept clawing back, hanging tough late in the game down 55-51.
But John Jay proved too much. Martinsen’s follow on a Luke Mercer foul-line miss extended the lead to 62-54 and Pink then did his part. A shot-clock buzzer-beater drew the blade and another offensive rebound by Martisen set up Joey Pink to insert the dagger at 66-57.
“We took our timeouts, regrouped and just got back to our aggressive defense and ball movement attack,” Pink said.
Heaton had high praise for Martinsen, his only returning starter from last year’s team.
“We expect a lot from him and he delivered,” Heaton said.