At Lackawanna Trail, Zac Cost hit two free throws with 16.8 seconds left in overtime to give the Lions a four-point lead en route to a Division IV 45-40 win over Elk Lake (3-5, 0-1).
Both teams were coming off of disappointing finishes in their respective holiday break tournaments.
Trail head coach Christian Sunseri recognized that headed into the opening night of league play, saying, “I think both teams were ready to play for the league opener. Every team has tough games in their exhibition schedule so I think teams are always excited when league play begins.
“In regards to the game (Jan. 2), I thought it was a great game. Both teams played extremely hard and had to adapt to the physicality. I believe the refs allowed the kids to play physical which is very different then most nights,” Sunseri continued. “Elk Lake really made it tough on us with their defense. They didn’t allow us to get to the basket and they did an excellent job taking away our post players and forcing us to make outside shots.”
Sunseri reflected, “It was really a game of runs. We built a lead in the first half and in the second half the Warriors went on a run to take a lead into the fourth quarter. I’m proud of how my guys kept playing hard whether they had the lead or not and I feel we made a bunch of hustle plays to keep us in it down the stretch and force OT. Things like forcing a jump ball, getting a steal and getting offensive rebounds.”
Zach Stec had 10 points, including four in overtime, for the Lions who are 3-6 overall and 1-0 in league play.
“I told our guys going into overtime that I felt like the team who scored first and then got a stop on the defensive end would be able to win the game. Thankfully we were able to make some plays and finally make some free throws in OT to finish the game. It took a total team effort tonight for us to get the win,” said Sunseri.
The Warriors were able to register only one point in the extra frame.
Sunseri added, “If we want to continue to win games, I think we need cut down on our turnovers and shoot better at the free throw line. We missed 12 free throws tonight.”
For the Warriors, Joe McAleer had a game high 11 points.
Leading by two and headed into the fourth quarter, the Warriors were able to hold that lead until Zac Cost tied the game with 31.1 remaining.
Warriors head coach Rich Emmons said, “I thought it was a tough battle, which is always the case down at Lackawanna Trail. Trail always plays well at home, and gives us a highly competitive game even if we win.”
“The game was a pretty physical, half court game for most of the game,” Emmons added. “I thought we found our groove in the third quarter, but the faucet seemed to shut off in the fourth quarter.”
Trail 45, Elk Lake 40, OT
Elk Lake 11 7 17 4 1 40
Trail 11 14 8 6 6 45
Elk Lake-J. McAleer 5 1-3 11, H. Bomboy 4 0-0 9, A. Anderson 3 0-1 9, N. Preston 2 1-1 5, K. Valvano 1 1-2 3, M. Mowry 1 0-0 2, K. Vanderfeltz 0 1-2 1, J. Gustin 0 0-0 0. Totals: 16 4-9 40.
Lackawanna Trail-Z. Stec 4 2-6 10, J. Rzucidlo 3 1-2 8, N. Berrios 2 0-1 6, Z. Cost 1 4-6 6, J. Gilroy 2 0-0 6, L. Walker 2 1-1 5, R. Helbing 1 2-6 4. Totals: 15 10-22 45.
3-point goals: A. Anderson (EL) 3, H. Bomboy (EL), J. Gilroy (LT) 2,
N. Berrios (LT) 2, J. Rzucidlo (LT).