Would the real Spartans of Maine-Endwell please stand?
Two nights after chopping up the joint at Ithaca, M-E’s boys sprang back with a 47-31 Southern Tier Athletic Conference basketball victory over Binghamton, their second over the Patriots in a couple weeks.
Defense was the theme of the night for the Spartans (6-3), who took the lead for good in the seventh minute of play and extended the advantage to as many as 16 points before halftime.
Kyle Gallagher scored 15 points, Jake Sinicki 11 and Alec Wisniewski nine despite foul-induced bench time for M-E, which limited Binghamton to a combined 11 points in the first and last quarters. The Patriots have scraped together 67 points in 64 minutes against M-E this winter.
“We throw a lot at them, with the 3-2 zone, the 1-3-1 and our man-to-man. We’re all over them,” said 6-foot-5 Sinicki, who along with 6-5 Gallagher and 6-2 tough guy Wisniewski defended the interior especially well.
The lead was M-E’s for good on the strength of double-duty Play of the Game turned in by Sinicki late in the first quarter. First he ventured to the perimeter to block a shot, then zipped to the other end to finish in transition, absorb a hack and tack on a free throw for an 8-5 advantage.
Sinicki fed Brandon Wanchisen in transition for a bucket that closed the quarter with the Spartans ahead by 11-5, and the Patriots had gone 7½ minutes without a field goal.
Binghamton’s Anthony Weakland penetrated for a goal to open second-quarter scoring, but it would be nearly four minutes until the hosts mustered another. Meanwhile, M-E went and took over the contest.
Sinicki stroked a 3-point goal from the wing after a crafty bit of ball-handling through Patriotic congestion, Drew Gallagher converted two free throws and Kyle Gallagher powered into the lane for a jump shot that created the first two-figure margin, 18-7, 2:11 into the second quarter.
Kyle then knocked in a catch-and-release 3-pointer from the top of the arc and, after a brief respite to have a finger dislocation tended to, hit two free throws and then a 3-pointer from the corner near Binghamton’s bench. The latter made it 26-12 two minutes before halftime, and Sinicki rose to tip in a penetrating miss by Adam Gallagher for a 28-12 difference 14 seconds before the break.
Binghamton hung around through a less-than-picturesque third quarter that brought five consecutive points from Salen Turkovic, and it was 36-25 to open the fourth — and time for the hosts’ third substantial dry spell of the night.
The Pats’ initial fourth-quarter points came on a put-back by Nick Snyder with 2:46 to play. Preceding that, M-E strung nine points beginning with Kyle Gallagher’s third 3-point goal of the game. That was sent home from the left wing and made it 39-25.
Wisniewski followed by cutting along the baseline, receiving a pass and converting, then he intercepted a pass and ventured three-quarters of the surface for a goal. For a third straight conversion, “Wiz” established position on the low post and was not to be denied a strike that spread the gap to 45-25 with 3:41 remaining.
Austin Smith capped the winners’ scoring from tight range in the final minute, a conversion well-received by the first five on the bench nearby.
Turkovic and Mario Cherry scored seven points apiece to share top honors for Binghamton.
It was a second consecutive 47-point outing for M-E, though this one far more satisfying than Wednesday’s eight-point setback at Ithaca.
As for the Spartans’ superiority against Binghamton in the two meetings, coach Bill Ocker said: “I think both times that we’ve played them we’ve had some good practices going into the games, and coming off scenarios when we were maybe were less-than-happy with or performance previous. The kids really, really got after it.”
Immediately preceding the Spartans’ 56-36 win over Binghamton to open the STOP-DWI Holiday Classic was an unsatisfactory showing in a five-point win over Vestal.
As for further incentive, Sinicki said: “Us seniors, we’re sick of losing.”