MOHAWK 68, FABIUS-POMPEY 46
The long wait for a Section III title is over in Mohawk. Four decades removed from the school’s last championship, the final class of graduating Mohicans delivered on a lengthy quest of their own when they defeated Fabius-Pompey’s Falcons 68-46 Tuesday at Herkimer County Community College.
“This is all we’ve talked about since we were in fourth grade,” said senior Carson Murphy, Mohawk’s career scoring leader and high scorer in Tuesday’s title game. “This is all we wanted to do and we worked our (tails) off to get here.”
“I can’t think of anything better,” classmate Mike Santillo added. “Now we’ve got one more game to go, one more big one on Sunday.”
The Mohicans (20-1), champions of Class C-2, meet Class C-1 champion Beaver River (20-1) in the overall Class C title game Sunday at 11 a.m. in the Carrier Dome on the campus of Syracuse University.
“We wanted to get to the Dome and play there and we did it,” Murphy said.
Murphy, Santillo and Kainan McCarthy, another senior, accounted for 65 of Mohawk’s 68 points Tuesday. All three — along with Paul Joyce — are returning starters from the team that was beaten 70-59 by Beaver River last year in the semifinals of a single Class C bracket.
Fabius-Pompey (16-5), an upset winner over Waterville in Saturday’s semifinals, led only once in Tuesday’s game and for only 23 seconds. Star point guard Stewart Wright drove for the Falcons’ first basket then hit a three-pointer to put his team up 5-2 1:43 into the game. Santillo took a pass from Joyce and knocked down a three-point shot of his own to tie the score and start a 13-0 run. Murphy backpedaled down the court mimicking Wright’s earlier celebration — arms outsretched, waist high, with the outer three fingers on each hand extended to signal the three points his team had just put on the board. Another Santillo three-pointer put Mohawk ahead for good and the Mohicans led 17-7 after the opening period.
Mohawk put another run on the Falcons in the second quarter, scoring nine straight points and opening a 20-point lead for the first time when Santillo delivered the last of his three three-pointers. Santillo scored 13 of his career-high 23 points in the first half as the Mohicans built a 36-16 lead. Eight of his points came during the big run in the first quarter.
“It helped a little bit, knowing the court, knowing the rims,” Santillo said. “It helped having been here before.”
Playing close to home — less than five miles from Jarvis High School — gave the Mohicans a boost, as well.
“We fed off the crowd’s energy,” said McCarthy who had 18 points and eight rebounds. “They didn’t let up and neither did we.”
Page 2 of 2 - Fabius-Pompey got as close as nine points twice in the third quarter but the Mohicans scored the final six points of the period and entered the fourth with a 49-34 lead.
“We didn’t want to let it get too close,” McCarthy said.
Murphy scored 24 points with 13 rebounds and six assists. Mitchell Werenczak had the team’s other three points and grabbed eight rebounds. Santillo had five assists to go with his points.
Wright led Fabius-Pompey with 14 points. Michael Vilardi, who combined with Wright for 42 points against Waterville, scored only six on Tuesday.
The most recent of Mohawk’s four previous sectional titles came in Class C in 1969. The Mohicans won back-to-back Class A titles in 1960 and 1961 and won the Class B crown in 1964.
MOHAWK MOHICANS 68, FABIUS-POMPEY FALCONS 46
FABIUS-POMPEY (16-5) — Dan Gallagher 2 0-0 5; Stewart Wright 5 0-0 14; Mike Rotondo 1 2-2 5; Tristan Rapp 2 1-2 6; Nathan Scalisi 1 0-0 2; Matt Perry 4 0-0 8; Michael Vilardi 3 0-0 6. Totals: 18 3-4 46.
MOHAWK (20-1) — Mike Santillo 9 2-2 23; Carson Murphy 10 2-3 24; Kainan McCarthy 9 0-0 18; Mitchell Werenczak 1 1-3 3. Totals: 29 5-8 68.
Fabius-Pompey 7 11 16 12 — 44
Mohawk 17 19 13 19 — 68
Three-pointers — Fabius-Pompey 7 (Wright 4, Gallagher 1, Rapp 1, Rotondo 1); Mohawk 5 (Santillo 3, Murphy 2).
Compiled From Times Staff Reports