OESJ basketball season ends one win shy of state title

Harrisville goes outside, inside in 67-54 win
Jack Brundage of OESJ dribbles between Harrisville defenders during Sunday's state Class D title game.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
Jack Brundage of OESJ dribbles between Harrisville defenders during Sunday's state Class D title game.

BINGHAMTON — Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville and Harrisville both had the same offensive plan for Sunday’s state Class D championship basketball game, and the the Pirates executed theirs a little bit better.

Harrisville knocked down eight 3-point baskets before Peyton Schmitt went inside to finish off the Wolfpack as well as a most valuable player performance at Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena.

“It was old school,” OESJ coach Jason Brundage said after the Pirates used their one-two punch to forge a 67-54 win in the final game of the three-day basketball festival. “That’s what we like to do. They did it today. It was like a mirror.”

Brundage liked what he saw leading up to OESJ’s first state title-game appearance, particularly the five postseason wins it took to get there.

“I just told the kids, ‘Last year we lost two very good players,'” Brundage said. “‘Coming into the season, if someone told me we’d be spending the last weekend of the season in Binghamton, I’d have signed up for it.'”

Semifinal hero Tyler Leon had 16 points and 11 rebounds for OESJ (22-4), but the senior forward was limited defensively in the last quarter after he picked up his fourth foul late in the third. It was in the fourth quarter when Harrisville (Section X, 21-6) pulled away behind Schmitt.

“Going into the fourth quarter, we kept our heads above water,” Brundage said. “Tyler getting his fourth foul hurt. When he came back, he couldn’t really defend.”

Schmitt scored 13 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter, after Jadon Sullivan opened the period with the last of Harrisville’s eight 3s to make 47-39.

Harrisville came in averaging just over five 3s per game.

“We weren’t too consistent with the 3s this season. Today was a good day to find the range,” said Schmitt, a senior forward who also snagged 14 rebounds. “They were very, very big. They opened it up down low.”

“You’ve got to give them credit,” Brundage said. “They made the shots.”

All four of Harrisville’s first-quarter baskets came from deep, and a Nolan Parow 3 capped a 10-2 run that spanned the halves as the Pirates worked their advantage to 35-28. Another 3 by Parow had the Pirates up 40-32 later in the third.

“A lot of guys stepped up today,” Schmitt said.

Schmitt was the last, scoring every point in an 8-0 run that gave Harrisville a 60-45 lead with just over two minutes to go. OESJ sank three of its six 3-point baskets after that.

An earlier 3 by Zach Mosher had given OESJ its last lead at 26-25 late in the second quarter. Parow then started Harrisville’s 10-2 run with a three-point play that created the game’s 16th and final lead change.

With 12 points Parow was among four double-digit scorers for Harrisville, which had lost in the 2017 and 2018 state semifinals.

“The first two were heartbreakers,” Schmitt said. “Winning it today means the world.”

Jaedyn Logan-Dillenbeck scored 12 points for OESJ, Travis LaFountain had 10 points and 10 rebounds, and the coach’s son, Jack Brundage, collected nine assists to go with four points. Jack Brundage and Leon made the all-tournament team.

OESJ won its first Section II crown by beating Germantown (47-25), and topped Wells (57-40) for its initial regional title before getting past Panama in overtime 61-57 in Saturday’s state semifinal round.

The St. Johnsville and Oppenheim-Ephratah school districts officially merged for the 2013-14 academic year. St. Johnsville reached state Class D semifinals in 2001 and 1987, and Oppenheim-Ephratah (then part of Section III) reached the state Class D championship game in 1980.

Sunday’s Class D title game marked the end of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association tournament’s three-year stay in Binghamton. The state final four games are headed back to Glens Falls in 2020.

OESJ

Martin 2-0-6, Brundage 2-0-4, Logan-Dillenbeck 5-0-12, LaFountain 2-6-10, Leon 7-2-16, Mosher 2-0-6. Totals: 20-8-54.

HARRISVILLE

N. Schmitt 1-2-4, Sullivan 4-2-12, Church 4-2-13, Parow 4-1-12, P. Schmitt 10-6-26. Totals: 23-13-67.

OESJ 12 14 13 15 — 54

Harrisville 13 17 14 23 — 67

Reach Gazette Sportswriter Jim Schiltz at 518-395-3143, [email protected] or @jim_schiltz on Twitter.

Categories: Fulton Montgomery Schoharie, High School Sports, Sports

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