BEAVER RIVER 68, MOHAWK 65
All Mohawk needed was a little more time Sunday. Not a lot; just a few more seconds.
“I think if we had 30 more second on the clock, we win that game,” coach Luke Judd said following his Mohicans’ 68-65 loss to Beaver River’s Beavers in Section III’s Class C title game at the Carrier Dome.
Mohawk trailed by 10 points at halftime and fell behind by as many as 19 before rallying. The Class C-2 champion Mohicans (20-2) got close enough to take one shot to tie the game at the end. Zack Steiner made one of his two foul shots with 5.1 seconds on the clock and Mohawk, without a timeout, quickly inbounded the ball to Carson Murphy. Murphy raced across the midcourt stripe and put up a shot from in front of the scorer’s table. The ball hit the right side of the rim and caromed away as the horn signaled the end of a game that had seen the teams trade runs from the start.
“I think at halftime we realized we were not going to let it end this way,” said Murphy whose 38 points Sunday were three short of a school record he set as a junior. “We’re better than we showed in the second quarter. In the second half we started playing our game and it almost got us back.”
Mohawk had the game’s first run and led 16-6 after scoring 12 straight points in the first quarter. Murphy, the school’s top career scorer had eight points in that run and added an alley-oop dunk after Beaver River broke the run to put the Mohicans up 18-11 after the opening eight minutes.
Murphy’s dunk energized an already enthusiastic Mohawk crowd. It also got Beaver River’s attention.
“We did not want to let any of them dunk on us,” said Beaver Samuel Widrick, the most valuable player of the Class C sectional tournament. “The one Carson dunked on us in the first quarter, that motivated us. We didn’t want to lose like that.”
It would not prove to be Murphy’s final scholastic dunk but he went without one for a while Sunday. Free throws by Alex Hall drew the Beavers (21-1) closer at the start of the second quarter then Widrick heated up. His first two three-pointers trimmed the Mohawk lead to one point and a stumbling layup by Tarren Farney gave Beaver River a 23-33 lead; Kainan McCarthy had swatted a shot by Hall into the right corner where Farney retrieved the ball and drove along the baseline.
“The second quarter got us again,” said Judd whose Mohicans were beaten 70-59 and outscored 21-10 by the Beavers last year in the semifinals of a single Class C bracket. “Obviously, they shot the ball real well. We had some trouble with their dribble penetration early so we went to a zone. “The zone worked for a couple of possessions then they started raining threes.”
Page 2 of 2 - “Last year they shot the lights out and they beat us,” Murphy added. “We didn’t think they could do it two years in a row.”
As Farney stumbled he flipped the ball up and through the basket to put the Class C-1 champions on top for the first time since the score was 6-4. An 8-0 run put Beaver River up 26-22. The Beavers would then score the final eight points of the first half and take a 37-27 lead into the locker room.
Mohawk’s fortunes did not immediately turn at the start of the second half. Beaver River scored 10 straight points and opened its largest lead at 47-28 on another Widrick three-pointer — his fifth in six attempts — 3:05 into the second half. The Mohicans were finally able to slow the Beavers down and Murphy scored the final eight points of the third quarter to cut their 17-point deficit to nine.
Murphy’s run continued with a three-pointer at the start of the final period and he had 18 straight Mohawk points in one stretch. That streak ended when Paul Joyce drove for a basket and pulled the Mohicans within four points with 1:17 left to play.
“Carson came right at us,” Widrick said. “He really had a great game.”
The Mohicans traded a Steiner layup for two more free throws from Murphy — who went 13-for-18 at the line — then had a chance to cut into the lead when Steiner missed a foul shot of his own. Murphy was fouled on a three-point try and hit all three free throws to get his team within two points at 67-65.
Murphy had eight rebounds, six assists and four blocked shots to go with his 38 points. McCarthy scored 13 points and also blocked four shots; he joined Murphy on the Class C tournament’s all-star team. Joyce had nine points and four assists and Mitchell Werenczak grabbed six rebounds.
Widrick had five of Beaver River’s 10 three-pointers and scored 25 points. Hall and Steiner each scored 12 points and Farney came off the bench to score 10.
Beaver River travels to Binghamton High School Saturday to meet Section IV champion Moravia in a regional playoff game. Moravia defeated Watkins Glen 52-41 Saturday.
BEAVER RIVER BEAVERS 68, MOHAWK MOHICANS 65
BEAVER RIVER (21-1) — Trevor Lehman 1 0-0 2; Tarren Farney 4 0-0 10; Dustin Neddo 0 0-0 0; Adam Schneider 3 0-0 7; Alex Hall 4 4-4 12; Brandon DeLong 0 0-0 0; Zack Steiner 4 2-3 12; Samuel Widrick 9 2-6 25. Totals: 25 8-13 68.
MOHAWK (20-2) — Mike Santillo 1 0-0 3; McKensy Reardon 0 0-0 0; Brandon Brault 0 0-0 0; Paul Joyce 4 0-0 9; Carson Murphy 11 13-18 38; Kainan McCarthy 5 3-4 13; Mitchell Werenczak 1 0-0 2. Totals: 22 16-22
Beaver River 11 26 17 14 — 68
Mohawk 18 9 18 20 — 65
Three-pointers — Beaver River 10 (Widrick 5, Farney 2, Steiner 2, Schneider 1); Mohawk 5 (Murphy 3, Joyce 1, Santillo 1).