Saturday December 8, 2012

ADAM SAMROV

Sports Editor

HOOSICK, N.Y. -- Hoosick Falls Central School boys basketball coach Mike Lilac called it a ‘Civic Center-style game."

He compared Friday's game against Hoosic Valley against the usual defensive struggle that come deep in the playoffs in Glens Falls.

It was apt as the Panthers held Hoosic Valley to eight 4th quarter points. But on the other side, Hoosick Falls only scored one in the final minutes in a 44-37 defeat.

"That was the story," Lilac said. "We threw different things at them and a couple of open looks didn't go in. We played great defense too and that kept us in the game. Just couldn't get going in the fourth."

Tied after three quarters at 36-36, Hoosic Valley (4-0, 1-0) broke the tie two minutes into the final stanza on Evan Holbritter's only points of the game. After a shot clock violation by the Panthers (0-2, 0-1), Hoosic Valley scored on two consecutive possessions -- one by Frank Acker, his only points, and the other by Ethan Hixson -- to give the Indians a 42-36 advantage.

Both baskets came off offensive rebounds as the taller Valley players out-jumped their opponents.

"I think Hoosick Falls outrebounded us in the first half," said Hoosic Valley coach Dan Calhoun. "They go to the board hard and the kids are energized. But [it's] huge, especially coming down the stretch. It's key to get those when you're up 3 or 4."

Hoosic Valley out-rebounded the Panthers 31-27.

"Second chance opportunities; it's just a matter of being taller," Lilac said. "We'll keep on working hard and we'll be alright. We've played hard in both games, they'll give you a good effort."

Sophomore John Rooney led Hoosic Valley scored a game-high 19 points and snagged nine rebounds, including a couple of offensive boards late.

"He's a great player, works all year for it and it shows," Lilac said. "Chris [LaCroix] was going to guard him, but he went out. So we threw different guys against him and they did all right."

Hoosick Falls led by four at the half, behind eight points from Taylor Baker and seven from Evan Phillips. Baker ended up the high-scorer for Hoosick Falls with 14 points, the only Panther in double figures.

"They were ahead at the half, but they only scored 10 points in the second [half] and that defense makes the difference," Calhoun said. "We only scored 21 [in the second half] but the defense picked up and we made some good decisions. They ran stunts and kept us off-kilter. These are the ones that really count. There's no free lunches in the league, never a day off."