MOHAWK 75, WEST CANADA VALLEY 61
A third meeting between Mohawk’s Mohicans and West Canada Valley’s Indians produced a familiar result Saturday: a win for the streaking Mohicans.
Seeded first for Section III’s Class C-2 playoffs and unbeaten since their second game of the season, the Mohicans (19-1) defeated West Canada Valley 75-61 at Onondaga Community College’s Allyn Hall for their 18th consecutive win and earned a spot in sectional finals.
The Mohicans endured an early run by the Indians (14-6) and responded when West Canada Valley briefly took the lead again in the second half.
Senior Carson Murphy, Mohawk’s career scoring leader, “took over at the end of the game,” Mohicans coach Luke Judd said, a sentiment echoed by his counterpart on the other bench, D.J. Shepardson.
“Honestly, Carson made a bunch of plays,” Shepardson said. “He made some baskets, he made some passes.
“They’ve got that spurtability and they can make a run on you.”
Make a run the Mohicans did. After West Canada Valley swung a six-point deficit to a 41-40 lead in the middle of the third quarter, Murphy led the Mohicans on an 8-0 run. Reserve Jared Marquissee put back his own missed shot to give Mohawk the lead for good. Baskets by Paul Joyce and Murphy prompted Shepardson to call a timeout and Joyce added two more points at the foul line when play resumed.
Mohawk led by six points to start the fourth quarter and outscored West Canada Valley 14-6 over the next 4 1/2 minutes. The run was similar to a 10-0 spurt at the start of the fourth quarter when the Mohicans defeated the Indians 76-66 in Newport Jan. 30.
Jordan Yaworski hit a three-pointer to break the Mohawk run but Murphy’s steal and breakaway dunk all but sealed the win with 2:43 left to play.
Yaworski’s three-pointer was one of only three West Canada Valley would hit on 22 attempts Saturday. The cold shooting plagued the smaller squad as it tried to stretch the Mohawk defense.
“We talked about playing our game,” said Shepardson who completed his first season as West Canada Valley’s varsity coach. “We played our butts off and we rebounded, we just didn’t shoot well. The effort was right where we wanted it. We have nothing to regret.”
West Canada Valley led 12-6 at the outset of the game but a pair of free throws by Joyce gave Mohawk a 15-13 edge at the end of the first quarter. The Indians’ last lead of the first half was 19-17 and was followed by a 9-1 Mohawk run.
The win extends the season and careers for Murphy and a deep group of Mohawk seniors. Murphy had 21 points, 10 rebounds, four steals and three blocked shots while classmates Paul Joyce and Mike Santillo added 17 and 16 points, respectively. Joyce’s 17 points were a career-high.
Page 2 of 2 - “I think all these kids have matured a ton,” said Judd who has eight of the top nine players back from a team that was beaten in the equivalent round of a single Class C bracket last year. “Having kids who have been here before helps.”
Marquissee, a first-year varsity player, contributed six points and five rebounds off the bench when Kainan McCarthy got into foul trouble in the second half.
“Their other players made big plays tonight,” Shepardson said, tipping his hat to Joyce, Santillo and Marquissee, among others.
Yaworski led West Canada Valley with 23 points — the junior was his team’s high scorer in all three losses to Mohawk — while Jack Minasi had 11 points and 11 rebounds in his final scholastic game and Mike Sternberg added 13 and seven.
Mohawk last won a sectional title in Class C in 1969. The school also won back-to-back Class A crowns in 1960 and 1961. The Mohicans will have a shorter trip to play for the 2013 title. Mohawk takes on Fabius-Pompey, a 60-37 winner over Waterville Saturday, Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Herkimer County Community College.
The overall Class C championship will be decided Sunday at Syracuse University’s Carrier Dome. Beaver River and Tully play for the Class C-1 crown Tuesday at Jefferson Community College.
MOHAWK MOHICANS 75, WEST CANADA VALLEY INDIANS 61
WEST CANADA VALLEY (14-6) — Bobby Davenport 1 2-2 4; Jack Minasi 5 0-0 11; Ryan Grogan 2 1-4 5; Mike Sternberg 6 1-2 13; Josh Sudakow 0 1-2 1; Alex Williams 2 0-0 4; Jordan Yaworski 8 5-8 23. Totals: 24 10-18 61.
MOHAWK (19-1) — Mike Santillo 6 2-4 16; McKensy Reardon 0 0-0 0; Jared Marquissee 2 2-2 6; Brandon Brault 0 0-0 0; Paul Joyce 4 7-8 17; Carson Murphy 8 5-6 21; Kainan McCarthy 2 3-6 7; Mitchell Werenczak 3 2-3 8. Totals: 25 21-29 75.
West Canada Valley 13 15 17 16 — 61
Mohawk 15 18 18 24 — 75
Three-pointers — West Canada Valley 3 (Yaworski 2, Minasi 1); Mohawk 4 (Joyce 2, Santillo 2).