Hoosac School picks up win over Redemption Christian Academy
HOOSICK, N.Y. >> Since taking over as the coach of the Hoosac School boys basketball team six games ago, Mike Ryan has been throwing out fishing metaphors to his team to describe games and practices.
Today, his observation was that "it's like we were clamming, and it was low tide at halftime so we were getting a lot of clams. In the second half the tide came up on us and we couldn't get the clams as easily."
Fortunately enough for Ryan and the Owls, they had enough shellfish stowed away to pull out a 71-68 victory over Christian Redemption Academy at home on Tuesday evening.
"We have so much talent on the floor that whenever someone is down, everyone steps up," guard KJ Riley (game-high 19 points) said. "When we need something, everyone steps up."
The Owls dominated the first half of the game, racing out to an early 8-0 lead on a converted and-one finish by Riley, and held a lead of 33-19 before RCA cut the deficit to 37-25 going in to the break.
But coming out of the break feeling a bit too content with the lead, the Owls slacked off on the defensive end and RCA's Mike Medlin (game-high 19 points) and Mate Mensab (10 points) made Hoosac pay with a bevy of shots from distance in the halfcourt and in the lane in transition, cutting the score down to single digits on a trey from Medlin that made it 48-41 Hoosac at the 10:24 mark. The game stayed in single digits the rest of the way.
Hoosac's lead kept dwindling as the seconds started rolling off the clock, and a three from Osbel Carraballo (18 points) tied the game at 57-57 with five minutes to go.
Crisis mode for Hoosac? Not quite.
"The leadership of Atakan Akcam [helped us]," Riley said. "He told us to go out there and play. He stepped up. It was follow-the-leader [after that]."
Akcam (16 points) scored the next bucket for Hoosac to get the lead back, then after another Medlin trey — he hit three in the second half, RCA hit six total — put RCA back up 62-61, Akcam came back down the court and split the defense right down the middle for a drive-and-lay finish.
RCA answered Akcam's second bucket with another three — this one from Carraballo — and then a finish by Mensab under the bucket made it 67-63. Riley got it back within two on a pair off free throws, and the Owls got the ball back with 1:23 looking to take the lead.
Point guard Josh Hyon came out of the timeout looking to initiate the offense, but instead his pocket was picked by RCA's Jose Pabon. But instead of hanging his head, Hyon raced back down the court, took Pabon as his defensive assignment, picked his pocket and then went the other way for an and-one finish. After Hyon (11 points) converted the free throws, it was 68-67 Hoosac and the Owls never trailed again.
"Josh has positive energy all the time," Riley said. "Whenever we are down, or he messes up, he gets it right back. We knew he was going to get it back someway, somehow."
RCA came back down to try and reclaim the lead, but a block from Marcel Pettway got Hoosac the ball back, and Riley drew a foul off the block and hit two free throws to make it 70-67. Pettway (8 points) then put in another defensive shift with a steal, which he then drew a foul on and hit one of two freebies to give Hoosac its 71 points.
With the win, Hoosac is now 8-2 on the season, and is 6-0 since Mike Ryan stepped in for former coach Mike Griffin, who stepped away from the team due to health reasons according to Ryan. Mert Sert had 11 points and seven rebounds for Hoosac, while Riley finished with four boards, four steals and two assists. Akcam had a pair of assists for the Owls and Hyon had five rebounds. For RCA, Medlin finished with 12 rebounds and Carraballo had seven boards.
"We were kicking the ball around quite a bit there and not finishing our shots, but we will take it," Ryan said. "It's a decent team we played against. We just have to keep it rolling."
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