LITTLE FALLS, N.Y. — The Little Falls Mounties forced Poland to play catch-up throughout the night Monday and held on to beat the Tornadoes 61-51 to start the 2013-14 season.
The Mounties scored the game’s first nine points and never trailed. Each time Poland got close, the Mounties were able to extend the lead again.
“They battled all night,” Little Falls coach Brian Dodge said. “We went up by nine or 10 a couple times and they were able to cut it back to two or three. We needed that run at the start of the fourth quarter.”
Little Falls also scored the first 10 points of the fourth quarter to extend a lead that had dwindled to three points up to 13. Fast break baskets by Rahmere Greene and Theo Wind completed a 14-2 spurt tat put Little Falls up 54-39 in the middle of the fourth quarter.
Poland made its final run with 3 1/2 minutes left to play. Bryce Wenzel and Ross Agen had baskets followed by Cameron Tabor’s deep three-pointer as the Tornadoes cut their deficit from 15 points to eight in less than one minute. Following a timeout and a missed Mountie free throw, Mark Hennings scored off a rebound to move Poland within six points with 1:54 left on the clock.
Wind drove for a basket to end the 9-0 Poland run and Sam Yallowitz hit three of his four free throws in the final minute to secure the victory for Little Falls.
Foul shooting made a difference in the final score. Little Falls outscored Poland 20-12 from the line despite attempting only two more shots. Wind and Mitchell Baumeister shot 10-for-11 combined as Little Falls went 20-for-27 as a team. Poland shot 12-for-25 from the charity stripe.
“If we didn’t shoot well from the line and we didn’t get transition baskets we wouldn’t have won tonight,” Dodge said. “We’re not there yet offensively.”
Three-point shots by Brian Ewanyk, Todd Hubbell and Baumeister gave Little Falls the lead at the outset of the game. The Mounties, however, would add just two foul shots during a first quarter that ended with them leading 11-10.
“We got down 9-0 right away,” Jim Wilder said after he coached his first game for Poland. “We battled back and made it close ... but this is not the kind of team you want to be chasing.”
Little Falls opened a double-digit lead in the second quarter. James Amuso put back a rebound for a 28-18 lead with 1:35 left in the first half and the Mounties led by nine at the break.
A pair of three-point plays by Agen helped the Tornadoes cut an eight-point Little Falls lead down to two in a 50-second span of the third quarter. Agen put back his own missed shot, drew a foul and added a free throw to start the 8-2 run. Hennings had a layup off a Dustin DuBrule steal and, after a pair of free throws by Wind, Agen added another basket and a free throw.
Page 2 of 2 - Agen scored a game-high 22 points and added 12 rebounds for a double-double. Tabor added nine points for the Tornadoes while Hennings and DuBrule each had eight.
Baumeister scored 16 points and Wind had 14 with five assists for Little Falls. Greene scored eight points and grabbed six rebounds off the bench, Ewanyk had seven and six, and Yallowitz and Hubbell each scored seven points.
Little Falls plays at home again Wednesday against Camden. Poland travels to Section VII this weekend for the Pepsi Shootout; the Tornadoes play at Schroon Lake Friday then take on Keene Valley Saturday at SUNY-Adirondack.
LITTLE FALLS 61, POLAND 51
POLAND (0-1) — Mark Hennings 3 2-4 8; Cameron Tabor 3 1-2 9; Alan Johnson 0 1-2 1; Bryce Wenzel 1 0-0 2; Dustin DuBrule 3 1-2 8; Adam Taverne 0 1-3 1; Ross Agen 8 6-12 22. Totals: 18 12-25 51.
LITTLE FALLS (1-0) — Sam Yallowitz 1 5-9 7; Mitchell Baumeister 4 6-7 16; Theo Wind 5 4-4 14; Todd Hubbell 2 2-2 7; Brian Ewanyk 2 1-3 7; Rahmere Greene 3 2-2 8;James Amuso 1 0-0 2. Totals: 18 20-27 61.
Poland 10 9 18 14 — 51
Little Falls 11 17 12 21 — 61
Three-pointers — Poland 3 (Tabor 2, DuBrule 1); Little Falls 5 (Baumeister 2, Ewanyk 2, Hubbell 1). JV — Little Falls 67, Poland 14.