CROSS RIVER, N.Y. – John Jay’s boys basketball team rebounded from a loss to Yorktown with a 54-44 win over rival Somers on Jan. 31.
With the victory, the Indians swept the league season series against the Tuskers. They had defeated Somers, 52-39, on the road back on Jan. 7.
“It’s definitely a big rivalry in a lot of different sports,” said John Jay senior Shane Martinsen, who scored a game-high 18 points and grabbed 8 rebounds. “It’s nice to sweep the season with them and we’re looking toward the next game.”
It was a back-and-forth first half with the Indians taking a 22-20 lead into the break.
Chris Walsh converted a three-point play to extend the Indians’ lead to 31-26 midway through the third quarter. Ben Germaine answered with a layup for Somers but John Jay closed the quarter with a 6-0 run. Ben Konak knocked down a three-pointer and Martinsen hit a jumper along with 1 of 2 free throws to increase the lead to 37-28.
“We were up by two at halftime but we didn’t really think we played that well,” Martinsen said. “At halftime we were like, ‘All right, it’s time to turn it up.’ We’re really a second half team. We got it going, especially defensively. We created some turnovers and got some easy ones and started flowing.”
John Jay was able to find holes in Somers’ zone to convert easy baskets inside to build their lead.
“They were doing a really good job on me the whole game from the three-point line,” Martinsen said. “I really wasn’t getting too open, even from deep. They were kind of sticking on me and with all of our shooters. We just tried to get it inside. We kind of had a size advantage so we had to rebound, get to the basket and get to the line.”
A Martinsen three-point play made it a 10-point game with 5:33 to go. Somers cut the deficit to 45-39 with four minutes to play but was unable to get closer than that. John Jay went on a 7-0 run to take a 52-39 lead with two minutes to go.
Walsh, a senior, added 12 points and 7 rebounds for the Indians. Joey Pink, another senior, contributed 10 points and swiped 4 steals.
John Jay, a team with 10 seniors on the roster, has the experience needed to close out tight games.
“We’ve been playing together for a while,” Martinsen said. “They know what’s to be expected and they know what to do. But we do have a bunch of sophomores that get a lot of burn.”
The Indians, who improved to 8-7, have five games left in the regular season. They were scheduled to host Lakeland on Feb. 4. John Jay then heads to Walter Panas for a 7 p.m. game on Feb. 6. They close out the week by hosting Ridgefield (Conn.) in a 7 p.m. contest the next evening.
“The past three years that I’ve been here we’ve never really been rolling into the playoffs,” Martinsen said. “We’ve always dropped a couple easy ones and then went in. Whatever our record is, if we can just get rolling then I think we can have a shot to make a deep run.”
Yorktown 75, John Jay 63
The Indians fell to visiting Yorktown, 75-63, in another league game on Thursday, Jan. 29.
John Jay had balanced scoring with Walsh (14 points), Mason DiFalco (10 points), Pink (10 points), Andy Kote (9 points), Martinsen (8 points) and Luke Mercer (7 points) all contributing. Martinsen added 10 rebounds and 6 steals.