MAHOPAC, N.Y.-Making quite the splash this past week, Mahopac’s boys basketball team not only notched two league victories on the road, but also won two straight games for the first time this season.
“We’re starting to pick up momentum and guys are starting to play with a lot more confidence,” Mahopac coach Matt Simone said. “The key tonight was that we had a ton of contributions off the bench.”
A 64-51 triumph at the overmatched Carmel Rams was the Indians’ most recent victory as they outdid the Rams in nearly every facet to maintain a constant lead behind senior Shane Loos’ 24 points off six three-pointers.
“I just wanted to win—that was the biggest thing,” Loos said. “I know that when I shoot and I get hot, I can make a lot of shots. We were hustling the entire time and were not getting outrebounded. We were also lockdown on defense, and when we do that, we can win every game.”
Zach Puckhaber hooked up with Loos on a long inbound pass from midcourt for a contested layup just before the halftime buzzer to pump the bench up and send the Indians into the locker room with a 32-20 lead.
Early in the third quarter, senior point guard Justin Parker got loose in transition and nailed a three-pointer to put Mahopac comfortably in front, 36-20.
Late in the third, Parker swung a pass to Kenny Perna in the corner as he rattled home another triple that gave the Indians a 43-32 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
“Justin (Parker) did a great job of getting to the paint,” Simone said. “When he is constantly able to beat his guy off the dribble, the defense has to help and he did a great job finding those guys.”
But the Rams heated up from downtown as well and wouldn’t go down without a fight on their home court, cutting Mahopac’s edge to 53-45 with four minutes remaining.
‘Pac kicked back into high-gear from there, as senior center Ryan Dugan drove baseline and hooked around for a tough layup to give the Indians a 12-point lead a minute later.
“We did well on the boards and everybody was crashing,” Dugan said. “Our interior was very good this game; they (the Rams) didn’t score much in the paint. These league games are huge for us and we’re looking to keep the momentum going.”
Carmel continued to score from the outside, but had no answers defensively as it resorted to a press. It wasn’t a problem for Parker, who sliced through from end to end before netting an acrobatic lay-in. That gave Mahopac a 60-48 lead with two minutes left.
Parker hit two free throws on the next possession and the Indian defense played strong from there to take home the big win.
Loos played like an all-around star in a game for which the Maniacs had traveled well. Parker chalked up 19 points and Dugan had seven. Perna and Simon Shkoza both scored six points and Mike Argila had two.
“Shane played an unbelievable game,” Simone said. “He is the best shooter we have on the team. We’ve been telling him all season, ‘when you get in the game, we want you to catch the ball and shoot it.’ A lot of times he hesitated throughout the year and tonight he did what we asked. When he plays with that confidence, it brings us to another level.”
All of the excitement was preceded by another huge victory at league rival Arlington, 58-40 on Saturday, Jan. 13.
Parker stepped up once again with 20 points and Dugan scored 15 as Mahopac controlled the Admirals. Reahl Allen penciled 10 points and Perna scored eight.
But the Indians’ league-streak ended on Friday when Ketcham came to town and handed Mahopac a 55-50 defeat.
Parker had another 20-point game, while Loos scored 10 points. Dugan produced eight points in the setback.
“It just dates back to my work ethic,” Parker said when asked about his consistency. “I practice a lot and it just carries over into the games.”
Mahopac dropped another home game to Horace Greeley, 68-52 on Saturday. The match was tied going into the fourth quarter before the Quakers ran away with it.
Perna led the Indians with 14 points and Dugan had 13. Parker finished with 11 points.
Mahopac (6-7) will meet Hendrick Hudson in the consolation game of the Somers Tournament on Saturday at noon.
“For us, it’s about consistency,” Dugan said. “We’ve shown in games like [the ones] against Suffern and Arlington that we can be a great team. We just have to buy in defensively and play tough. If we can do that, we can go on a big win streak.”