Facing a five-point halftime deficit, Moravia turned its defensive intensity up to a championship level Friday night and rallied for a 55-51 victory against Odessa-Montour in the Interscholastic Athletic Conference Small School boys basketball title game at Tompkins Cortland Community College.
The Blue Devils (16-2) used their full-court pressure to force O-M into seven turnovers in the third quarter and outscored the Indians 20-10 in the period to take control before holding on in the final minute.
“That’s exactly what we talked about (at halftime) was the way we were playing defensively in the first half,” Moravia coach Todd Mulvaney said. “We’re capable of playing better than we showed in the first half. The biggest message we sent to our guys was that we needed to dig in and get stops, eliminate the penetration.”
Those defensive stops helped Moravia after a first half dominated by 6-foot-5 O-M senior center Tom Peckham, who blocked seven shots in 16 minutes.
Moravia hit four 3-pointers in the third quarter to grab a 45-40 lead, minimizing Peckham’s presence with its outside shooting.
“He did a great job of dictating the paint early in the game. He was doing a good job of protecting the rim,” Mulvaney said. “I think we dwelled on the negative a little too much. We were missing some shots we were used to hitting and it stuck in their head. We said, ‘You’ve just got to move on.'”
Four players scored in double figures for Moravia, led by 14 points from Chase Walker. Chandler Benson and Dylan Powers scored 12 points each. Jared Lyon scored 10 points.
Morgan Shutter led South Division champion O-M (13-5) with 18 points, including 10 in the second quarter to help the Indians take a 30-25 halftime lead.
Small School Girls
* Tioga 50, Groton 20: The Tigers’ first four baskets were 3-pointers, and they would add two more in a 30-point championship victory over the Indians at Tompkins Cortland Community College.
Tioga (15-4) scored 23 unanswered points from early in the first quarter till the last couple of minutes of the second to turn a 4-2 deficit into a 25-4 lead, and never looked back.
Senior Callie Patsellis led Tioga with 16 points, including four of her team’s six 3’s. Classmate Hannah Manwaring added 14 points.
Groton (12-5) senior Steffanie Preston led the Indians with six points.