Mohonasen’s revamped boys’ basketball team showed its youth early on, and its will to win late, in a dramatic season opener Tuesday night.
“We just kept a positive attitude the whole time,” junior forward Ben Dalton said after the Mighty Warriors rallied from a 13-point deficit to trim Suburban Council South Division foe Guilderland, 41-38. “It was all heart. We just played with intensity. Even in the fourth quarter when we were down, we knew we could win this game.”
One of five underclassmen in Mohonasen’s starting lineup, Dalton gave his team its first lead on a three-point basket with 28 seconds left, 39-38, and Guilderland never got a shot off after that.
Dalton and Quinton Brown came up with steals in the closing seconds, marking a reversal in fortune for the Mighty Warriors, who had committed 10 first-quarter turnovers in falling behind, 14-3.
“We’re all young, and it took us some time to settle in,” said Dalton, who produced seven of his nine points in the second half. “The shots started falling, and we played better defense. Things went our way.”
They certainly did after Josh Murray’s layup gave Guilderland a 16-3 advantage early in the second quarter. Mohonasen outscored the Dutchmen, 11-7, through the end of the quarter, 13-8 in the third and 14-7 in the fourth after managing just one field goal in the opening eight minutes.
“When we were down, I was still thinking we can win this thing,” said Mohonasen coach Ken Dagostino, who has only one returning starter in junior center Garrett Sisson and three lettermen back in all from last season’s Section II Class A final four edition. “We switched some things around defensively, cut down on the turnovers and some shots started to drop. To win on the road at Guilderland, that’s a quality win.”
Sophomore Billy Manikas paced Mohonasen with 12 points, scoring 10 in the third quarter as the visitors crept within 31-27. Sisson added five points, seven rebounds and three steals, all of those thefts coming in the second half.
Sisson’s three-point play with 2:13 to go pulled Mohonasen into a 35-35 tie.
“They kept coming and coming. Kenny had them charged up in the second half,” said Guilderland coach Ron Osinski, whose Dutchmen also underwent significant player turnover. “They came out and executed some things and we didn’t react defensively. We weren’t able to keep the pressure on.”
Ryan Ochs and Murray, who were both slowed by injuries last season as juniors, led Guilderland with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Ochs sank a free throw with 1:17 left to give the Dutchmen a 38-35 lead before Sisson hit one of his own and came up with a steal, setting the stage for Dalton’s three from in front of the Mohonasen bench.
“It was amazing,” said Dalton, one of Mohonasen’s eight newcomers. “I wasn’t going to shoot it, and I heard coach say, ‘Hit it.’ I just shot it and prayed to God, and it went in.”
“I was yelling for him to hit it,” Dagostino said. “I wanted him to take it. It was an open look. He has to take that shot.”
Dalton’s steal ended Guilderland’s follow-up possession, and the junior made a free throw with 6.2 seconds left after drawing a foul. After Dalton missed his second shot, Sisson and Guilderland’s Anthony Gallo battled for a long rebound along the baseline, and Mohonasen maintained possession when the ball sailed out of bounds.
Manikas was fouled after the inbound pass, made one of two from the line with 4.1 seconds left, and Brown’s steal ended Guilderland’s final bid.
Andrew Brown had 10 rebounds to go along with three steals and five points for Guilderland.
Tallman 2-0-5, Q. Brown 2-0-5, Dalton 3-2-9, Schaninger 1-0-3, Bi. Manikas 4-2-12, Krusinski 0-2-2, Sisson 1-3-5. Totals: 13-9-41.
Brown 2-1-5, Drislane 1-0-2, Gallo 2-1-6, Murray 5-0-10, Ochs 5-1-11, Sentz 1-2-4. Totals: 16-5-38.
Mohonasen 3 11 13 14 — 41
Guilderland 14 9 8 7 — 38
Three-point goals: Tallman, Q. Brown, Dalton, Schaninger, Bi. Manikas 2, Gallo.
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Categories: High School Sports