CANAJOHARIE, N.Y. — Dillan Veeder drove for the go-ahead basket and added a free throw with 11 seconds left Friday and the Canajoharie Cougars defeated Little Falls 59-57 in the first round of the Andy Palmer Christmas Classic.
Little Falls, previously unbeaten and ranked 11th in the state in Class C, used two timeouts to set up its final shot but was unable to extend the game. The Mounties (6-1) had a pass deflected out of bounds in the backcourt and called their first timeout with 4.2 seconds on the clock. After inbounding the ball to the the frontcourt, Little Falls called timeout again at the 3.4-second mark.
Positioned opposite the scorer’s table, Brian Ewanyk threw the ball inbounds to Mitchell Baumeister as he crossed the top of the key. Baumeister drove to the left corner and threw up an off-balance shot as the final buzzer sounded.
Little Falls opened a 13-3 lead at the start of the game and never trailed before halftime. Canajoharie (5-2) took its first lead at 34-32 on a basket by Zach Folts early in the third quarter. The Cougars led by seven points at the end of the third quarter.
The Mounties tied the game at 50 on a basket by Ewanyk midway through the fourth quarter and the lead changed hands six times down the stretch. Neither team led by more than one point in the final four minutes until Veeder completed his three-point play. A putback by Folts put Canajoharie up 56-55 with 40 seconds left and Ewanyk hit two free throws with 17.4 seconds showing to give Little Falls its final lead at 57-56.
With no pressure applied by the Mounties, Canajoharie rolled the ball up the court and Veeder picked it up near the top of the key to start the clock in the backcourt. Veeder then drove from the left side of the lane and drew a foul as his shot dropped through the basket.
Josh Gonzalez led the Cougars with 18 points. Logan Sala added 12 and Veeder finished the game with 11.
Ewanyk scored 20 points and Baumeister had 15 for Little Falls.
Johnstown won Friday’s first game and will meet Canajoharie in Saturday’s championship game following the 6 p.m. consolation contest between Little Falls and Schoharie.
The matchups are the same for the second round of junior varsity play Saturday afternoon.
CANAJOHARIE 59, LITTLE FALLS 57
LITTLE FALLS (6-1) — Sam Yallowitz 1 2-2 4; Mitchell Baumeister 4 4-6 15; Theo Wind 2 3-4 7; Rahmere Greene 1 1-2 3; Brian Ewanyk 7 6-7 20; Todd Hubbell 2 0-0 5; Will Robinson 0 0-2 0; Sean Ward 1 0-0 3; James Amuso 0 0-0 0. Totals: 18 16-23 57.
CANAJOHARIE (5-2) — Zach Folts 4 0-0 8; Colin Davis 1 0-0 3; Logan Sala 5 0-0 12; Buck Anderson 1 0-0 3; Dillan Veeder 4 3-5 11; Zach Ouderkirk 2 0-0 4; Josh Gonzalez 7 4-4 18. Totals: 24 7-9 59.
Little Falls 15 17 7 18 — 57
Canajoharie 10 20 16 13 — 59
Page 2 of 2 - Three-pointers — Little Falls 5 (Baumeister 3, Hubbell 1, Ward 1); Canajoharie 4 (Sala 2, Anderson 1, Davis 1). JV — Canajoharie won.