SOMERS, N.Y. – It wasn’t an offensive showcase by any means, but a rivalry match-up between Somers and Mahopac typically is a physical game that goes down to the wire.
Last Saturday lived up to that billing when the teams battled through two overtimes, but the Indians came up on the winning end, 42-39, in the championship game of the 24th annual Michael DePaoli Memorial Tournament.
After a Joe Grippo 3-pointer, Somers led 30-20 with 7:30 left in the fourth quarter. But the Tuskers went scoreless for the rest of regulation, allowing Mahopac to go on a 10-0 run to send the game to overtime.
“We didn’t hit shots,” said Somers coach Chris DiCintio. “It wasn’t like we stopped playing good defense. We didn’t hit shots in the second quarter and we didn’t hit shots in the fourth quarter. In the third quarter we spread the floor more and were able to hit shots. But in the fourth quarter we just went cold.”
After two free throws, Mahopac led 34-31 with 11.6 seconds left in the first overtime. But Nate Townsend, a senior, came in off the bench and banked in a running 3-pointer as time expired to send the game to a second overtime.
“He’s got a gift to be able to knock down shots,” DiCintio said. “The moment is not too big for him. Every team needs a knockdown shooter. He’s long and lanky so it gives him the ability to get the shot off a lot of times.”
Joe Grippo’s foot was on the line on a top-of-the-key jumper with 1:22 to go, trimming Mahopac’s lead to 37-36. The Indians answered with two free throws from Matt McMahon, but Dylan Berliner nailed a corner 3-pointer to tie the game at 39-39 with 48 seconds left.
Pat McMahon hit a corner three of his own with 21 ticks remaining to regain the lead for the Indians.
Somers had one last chance, but Berliner’s heave from just inside half-court clanked off the back of the rim.
Grippo (12 points), Ben Germaine (10) and Berliner (8) led the Tuskers in scoring.
Somers started the game hot, gaining a 15-10 lead after one quarter. But they were ice cold in the second quarter where they went scoreless to fall behind 18-15 at halftime.
“We’re trying to figure out who does what well,” DiCintio said when asked about the Tuskers’ inconsistency on offense. “Even though we’re six games in, I just think we’re inexperienced. They’re not completely where they want to be but we’ll get there. But what I do like is that we’re learning that our best way to play basketball is to grind it out, play tough and play physical defense. And on the offensive side, we’ll figure out how we can get ourselves to be more consistent shooting.”
Berliner and Henry Gilroy were named to the all-tournament team for Somers, which dropped to 2-4.
Somers 47, Yorktown 30
Friday, Dec. 13
In the opening round of the tournament, Somers cruised past rival Yorktown, 47-30, behind 17 points from Berliner. He made five 3-pointers.
Bennett Leitner and Drew Lasher added 8 points apiece. Gilroy chipped in 6 points and was strong defensively and on the glass.
Somers posted two impressive defensive efforts in the tournament, holding both teams to 30 points through four quarters.
“I think the kids are buying in,” DiCintio said of the defense. “Coach (Darryl) Atkinson and I have always preached, for the 20 years we’ve been coaching together, that we’re defensive-minded coaches first. And on the offensive side, you’re going to make shots some nights and some nights you’re not. The nights that they’re not dropping, you’ve got to just try to grind it out.”
Byram Hills 73, Somers 42
Tuesday, Dec. 10
The Tuskers began the week with a 73-42 road loss to Class A contender Byram Hills.
Grippo paced Somers with 10 points.