HOOSICK, N.Y. -- It took a comeback in the first half and a stand late in the second half, but the Hoosac School boys basketball team was able to top the MacDuffie School 89-83 on Saturday afternoon.
Playing in the confines of the Hoosick Falls Central School gym, the Owls found themselves down 7-0 early, but were able to take the lead back at 14-13.
"It was a little rust, we just got back from long weekend and have only had a few practices," Hoosac coach Mike Foster said. "It was a little early rust, a quick timeout to make sure they were out of the locker room and on the floor, then we came right back in it."
The lead, though, would go back to MacDuffie on the next possession and stay in the Broncos' hands for a majority of the first half.
A three by Sani Kohen (17 points), one of his five on the day, put MacDuffie up 16-14 and another three by Alberto DeMiguel put the team up 22-16.
Hoosac would get the game back to a single possession shortly after when Charles Wingate (21 points) scored to make it 23-22.
Yet the lead wouldn't come back to the Owls until late in the half, when Wingate cut the deficit to 31-30 on a jumper, Marcus Richardson his a free throw to tie it, and Unique McLean (34 points) hit a 3-pointer to make it 34-31 Owls.
Hoosac would hold onto the lead going into the break, leading 39-33.
MacDuffie had beaten Hoosac previously this season, a 60-52 loss early in December. Foster said that improved shooting helped turn the tides in the second game.
"I think at MacDuffie, we shot 12 percent for the game. In the second half, we scored 19 points," Foster said. "That was the biggest difference. After the leak streak we have been on, [I told the guys] we need to shoot the ball well and make good decisions. We had a couple sets, we got Unique free a couple times, Charles picked us up ... That was that rhythm we always talk about."
To start the second, James Nelson and Kohen each hit buckets to cut the score to 39-37, but a jumper by McLean off of a screen started a sequence where the teams would exchange baskets, making it a 53-47 game.
Hoosac was able to push out from there, with a McLean layup pushing the lead to eight, followed by a set of plays that would put Hoosac in a commanding position.
The sequence started when Jerry McCullough, the MacDuffie coach, was called for a technical foul after Richardson was fouled and sent to the line. McLean made one of the technical shots, followed by Richardson making one of his chances. Down the other end, Wingate stole the ball then tossed an alley-oop to McLean to make it 59-47, then Gregg Braithwaite stole a pass and found McLean for a two-handed dunk and a 61-47 edge.
But MacDuffie was able to counter the push by Hoosac, cut the deficit to 78-75 on a three by Dimitri Floras (34 points) and an and-one by Floras make it 83-79 late.
"Floras, he doesn't appear to be all flashy but he does not give up the ball and he gets to the rim," Foster said. "And when he gets there, he makes good decisions. We had to play the whole 32 minutes today and, unfortunately, there were a few intermittent minutes that we didn't."
Hoosac, though, was able to hang on as Braithwaite, McLean, and Atakan Akcam all hit their free throws late to secure the win.
"I was pretty worked up because I was counting the possessions and the timeouts," Foster said. "We didn't run the press break very well or the end of game scenarios very well, but we shot well enough and we had a lot more layups than I thought we were going to get."
Braithwaite finished with 16 points and nine rebounds, four steals and two blocks. McLean added five assists, four coming in the second half, and four rebounds. Jordy Tshimanga had 13 rebounds and three blocks for MacDuffie, while Floras had eight assists and three steals. Nelson had 10 assists for MacDuffie.
Hoosac improves to 14-3, and the team returns to action on Wednesday at Millbrook.