A pair of lengthy scoring runs in the second half propelled the Moravia boys basketball team to a 50-39 victory over Newfield in the Section 4 Class C semifinals Tuesday night at Moravia High.
Senior center Chandler Benson scored 16 points and Brett Denman added 15 — on five 3-pointers — to propel the third-ranked Blue Devils (19-1), who beat the 16th-ranked Trojans (16-3) for the second time in 10 days. Moravia captured the IAC Small School title with a 57-37 victory over Newfield on Feb. 15 at Tompkins Cortland Community College.
The Blue Devils, who are seeking their fourth sectional title in the last five years, will take on Elmira Notre Dame at 3:15 p.m. Saturday in the Class C final at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena in Binghamton. The top-seeded Crusaders (18-1) advanced with a 63-46 victory over fourth-seeded Watkins Glen.
Brian Barrett scored 12 points to lead Newfield, which led twice in the first half and held a 26-24 lead early in the third quarter before the home team scored nine straight points to take a seven-point edge.
Moravia took a 39-31 edge into the fourth quarter and extended the advantage to 10 early in the frame, but the Trojans scored five unanswered points — all by Leif Pakkala, including his second 3-pointer of the game — to force Blue Devils coach Todd Mulvaney to call a timeout. His team responded with a game-changing 8-0 run, including 3’s from Jared Lyon (11 points) and Denman to put the game out of reach.
Newfield point guard Chris Byrd, who was ejected from the teams’ IAC title-game meeting and missed the Trojans’ first-round sectional win while serving a one-game suspension, hit a third-quarter 3-pointer for his only points of the night. The Trojans finished the game 15-for-58 from the floor and 3-for-5 from the foul line.
Pakkala and Devin Cooper scored nine points apiece for the Trojans, who were seeking their fifth Section 4 championship. The Trojans won titles in 1986 and ’90 (Class D) and 2004 (Class C) and ’05 (Class D).