Saturday January 19, 2013

AUSTIN DANFORTH

Assistant Sports Editor

HOOSICK, N.Y. -- Twice this winter, Hoosick Falls Central School has held Greenwich to exactly 37 points -- a total that, in their first meeting, led to a 17-point victory for the defense-first Panthers.

"You hold a team to 37, you figure you're going to be in good shape," Hoosick Falls coach Mike Lilac said.

The second time around, getting to that number was the hardest part.

Buoyed by the Panthers' own icy shooting touch Friday night, Greenwich, with a height advantage at every position, imposed its own lock-down defense to pull off a grinding, 37-25, win in Wasaren League boys basketball.

Colin Oswald paced the Witches (9-4 overall, 5-4 league) with 15 points as they gained an edge in the Wasaren standings over Hoosick Falls (5-7, 4-5), which also entered the night with a .500 league record.

"The last time, up there, we scored 54 ... I watched the film [of that game] today and there isn't a magic potion, we just hit more shots that game," Lilac said.

The offensive slog started early, with Greenwich leading just 5-4 at the end of the first quarter. The critical stretch, however, came midway through the second half.

Greenwich began a 10-0 run late in the third quarter that didn't end until Austin Pitt's layup with 3 minutes 50 seconds left in the fourth. It was the Panthers' first basket in 5:20 of game time and cut the deficit to 31-19.

"We had some lapses that gave them some easy points," Lilac said. "And then when time was of the essence, they started getting offensive rebounds to extend their possessions."

But the biggest blow may have been dealt before the Witches' game-breaking run. The Panthers were still without a field goal in the second half when Cori Winch drained a 3-pointer to boost Greenwich to a 21-15 lead with 2:05 left in the third quarter.

"In a game like that, six points is a lot. Six points, it takes six trips down the court to get six points," said Greenwich coach Duke Beck.

After the sluggish opening quarter, the first half belonged to the hosts, who took a 14-13 edge into intermission.

Oswald had spotted Greenwich a four-point cushion, 10-6, after he sliced to the hoop for a layup. Hoosick senior Randy Tutunjian (six points) responded 15 seconds later with a drive of his own.

Then back-to-back treys from John Curtis Whitman, including one with 30 seconds left in the half, shot the Panthers to a 3-point lead, their largest of the game.

But John Barnes (nine points) slipped by his defender to drive the baseline for a last-second layup to prop up the Witches.

"We played pretty solid defense, but in a situation like that we didn't slide over and help and gave the momentum right back to them," Lilac said.

The Panthers are off until Jan. 25 when they travel to Granville.