Mohonasen shared the offensive load, and kept Schalmont from doing the same in yet another victory over its longtime Rotterdam rival Thursday night.
Grant Massaroni delivered 16 points, Nick Rapp and Sam Flood both scored six in a put-away third quarter and the Mighty Warriors nearly matched their Kirvin Cup record for defensive excellence in a 67-34 first-round win on their home court.
“Coach was saying the last time they took the tournament was in 1995. We knew they’d be antsy to win,” said Massaroni. “We knew they’d come out fired up, and we had to be fired up. We had to answer them.”
Mohonasen (2-4) answered in fine team fashion, spreading the scoring among nine players while limiting Schalmont (4-3) to single digits in each of the final three quarters. The Mighty Warriors went on a 16-8 second-quarter run to gain the upper hand, and all but sealed their eighth consecutive Kirvin Cup triumph over the Sabres with a 19-8 third-quarter charge that made it 48-27.
The 34 points allowed were just four more than the record-low Mohonasen held Schalmont to in a 52-30 victory in 2008.
“We told our kids that Schalmont was the favorite. They proved in the Colonial Council they could win, and our guys responded to it,” said Mohonasen coach Ken Dagostino. “Everyone did a good job tonight. We’re proud of our guys tonight. They got after it.”
Mohonasen will take on Lansingburgh (3-3) in tonight’s 7:30 title game after the Knights defeated Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons (0-8) earlier Thursday, 79-62. The Mighty Warriors will be going after their second straight championship and fifth since 2005.
Massaroni led Mohonasen for the sixth straight game with his 16 points, while the senior forward also took down 14 rebounds and added seven assists, four steals and a blocked shot. Rapp produced a a season-high 12 points, Flood had eight points and six rebounds, and Joe DeLuca had seven points despite missing considerable time with foul trouble. Justin Kretzler and Mike Fusco both chipped in with six points.
“If we’re all on, we can be a hard team to beat,” said Massaroni, the only player who saw quality minutes for last season’s Section II Class A semifinal team. “I don’t know what they ate today. I don’t know if they got extra sleep. What- ever it was, it worked.”
Massaroni ended the third quarter with a midcourt steal and feed which Rapp turned into a closing layup, but did not produce a point in the 19-8 flurry. Rapp also scored on two runners in the quarter, Flood nailed a pair of three-point hoops on consecutive trips, Jeff Wicks sank a three, and DeLuca scored on a putback and reverse layup.
“All we need is for these guys to get a couple of baskets,” said Dagostino. “No team is going to win with one guy. That quarter was definitely a confidence-booster for them.”
The trio of third-quarter threes came in a 13-2 push after Nick Daversa’s free throw got Schalmont within 33-23.
“They swung the ball faster than we could move, and they hit those threes,” said Schalmont senior forward Dominic Caputo. “It hurt us.”
Caputo had 15 points and eight rebounds for the Sabres, and Daversa had seven points and seven rebounds. The rest of the Sabres combined for 12 points.
“They closed the gaps pretty tight,” said Caputo. “They’re known for their defense.”
Mohonasen went mostly with a 2-3 matchup zone in the first half and mostly with a man-to-man look in the second half. Schalmont went on an 8-0 run in the first quarter capped by a Daversa layup and a Ron Coons drive, but never put together two baskets the rest of the way.
“We were talking and switching,” said Massaroni. “Once we got the rebound, we were out and we were gone.”
“Every game, we’re trying to get better on defense, and every game, we’re trying to get better on offense,” said Dagostino. “We’re a work in progress at both ends of the floor.”
Schalmont trailed in the second quarter, 20-18, after Devin Murphy sank two jumpers, and Mohonasen rattled off nine unanswered points on layups by Kretzler and Fusco, a three by Massaroni and two foul shots by the standout senior.
Lansingburgh got 28 points from 6-foot-7 junior Malik Miller, including two slam dunks in the second half as the Knights closed out their victory. Darnell Sutton had 19 points for Lansingburgh, and Brendan Maloney and Dwayne Freeman paced Bishop Gibbons with 19 and 15, respectively.
Lansingburgh won its only Kirvin Cup title in 2009.
The newest class of the Mohonasen Athletic Hall of Fame will be introduced as part of tonight’s festivities. The group includes the Draper trio of Tim Higgins, Frank Famiano and Kathy Kaczkowski Dufort, and the Mohonasen trio of Bill Murphy, Fred Mastroianni and Sherri Bowers Donato.
MOHONASEN 67, SCHALMONT 34
Don Caputo 4-6-15, Coons 2-0-4, Daversa 2-3-7, Curtin 1-0-2, Murphy 2-0-4, Frank 1-0-2. Totals: 12-9-34.
Kretzler 3-0-6, Massaroni 5-4-16, Wicks 2-0-5, Flood 3-0-8, Rapp 5-1-12, Fortune 1-1-3, Walker 2-0-4, DeLuca 3-1-7, Fusco 2-2-6. Totals: 26-9-67.
Schalmont 11 8 8 7 — 34
Mohonasen 13 16 19 19 — 67
Three-point goals: Caputo, Massaroni 2, Wicks, Flood 2, Rapp.
LANSINGBUGH 79, NOTRE DAME-BISHOP GIBBONS 62
NOTRE DAME-BISHOP GIBBONS
Verhayden 1-0-3, Igoe 1-3-5, Freeman 6-1-15, Maggs 2-4-8, Zarrandikoetxea 2-1-5, Maloney 9-1-19, Sanders 1-0-2, Draper 2-1-5. Totals: 24-11-62.
Burke 6-1-13, Bushey 1-0-2, Kennedy 2-2-7, Burnette 2-1-5, Carr 2-0-5, Miller 12-4-28, Sutton 7-0-19. Totals: 32-8-79.
ND-BG 13 16 16 17 — 62
Lansingburgh 22 14 19 24 — 79
Three-point goals: Verhayden, Freeman 2, Kennedy, Carr, Sutton 5.