By Rob Centorani
The Daily Star
---- — ONEONTA – Thirty-six minutes of helter-skelter basketball ended with Southern Cayuga’s boys earning a 61-56 Section Four Class D semifinal victory in overtime against top-seeded Edmeston on Thursday at Oneonta State.
In a game played at break-neck pace from opening tip to final buzzer, the fifth-seeded Chiefs closed on an 11-0 run to earn a spot opposite of Davenport in the Class D final at 8:15 p.m. Saturday back at O-State.
Senior Tom Miller scored the final six points of overtime, including a layup with 50 seconds left that gave the Chiefs the lead for keeps at 57-56.
“Mature teams, they keep their poise, they keep their heads,” said Miller, who finished with 18 points. “When it’s a high-pressure environment, you have to do it one possession at a time. We took good shots in overtime and we got back into it.
“I didn’t play so hot, but I love the environment,” he continued. “I love these pressure-filled environments. It’s what you work for when you play high school basketball.”
Second-seeded Davenport (19-1) advanced with a 46-37 victory over No. 6 South Kortright in the second game of Thursday’s doubleheader.
The Panthers (18-2) were without head coach Darren Belden on Thursday. Belden’s son Brad said his father was hospitalized Thursday morning and diagnosed with pneumonia.
“He decided he couldn’t come around 3 p.m.,” said Brad Belden, who coached his first varsity game Thursday.
It’s likely one he won’t forget anytime soon.
These teams went at it. Aside from a 1-2-2 zone Edmeston opened with for about half of the first quarter, both teams played man-to-man defense and pressured often. The teams attacked off of makes and misses – a pace that led Edmeston to attempt 90 shots on this night, 24 more than Southern Cayuga.
“They played with more heart than I could have imagined,” SC coach Justin Frisbie said of his 10-8 squad, a misleading as record as the Chiefs play in the Interscholastic Athletic Conference and regularly play class B and C schools. “They’ve been so committed to finishing this thing out. They never stopped believing.”
It went back-and-forth all night with neither squad leading by more than eight points.
SC led, 10-2, early and again took an eight-point lead when 6-foot-6 center Justin Schneider, who scored a game-high 19 points, scored on short left-handed shot 15 seconds into the fourth quarter.
But Edmeston held the Chiefs scoreless for the next six minutes, continuously forcing steals or missed shots.
It’s not as if Edmeston went wild during SC’s scoring drought, but senior guard Logan Vibbard did score five points during that span as the Panthers pulled to 45-42. Vibbard, a tireless guard who scored 18 points, hit a free throw with 6:49 left, scored on a putback with four minutes remaining and hit a transition layup with 3:20 to go to make it a three-point game.
Reserve guard Jack Stebbins doubled SC’s lead by hitting a three-pointer with 1:45 left in regulation.
That set up a wild conclusion to regulation. Edmeston hit its only three-pointers six seconds apart to tie the score. First, Linton Wainright received an inbound pass from the baseline and swished a three-pointer from right the circle. Then Vibbard stole the ensuing inbound pass and made a three-pointer from the top of the key to tie it at 48 with one minute left.
When Miller was called for traveling with 42.9 seconds left, Edmeston had possession. Vibbard drove to the basket with 20 seconds left, but couldn’t get a runner to go on the right side of the lane. Vibbard grabbed the miss and Edmeston called timeout with 15.6 seconds remaining. After Logan Clark nearly stole the ball from Vibbard, Edmeston called another timeout with 6.6 left.
The ensuing inbound went to Vibbard, who was guarded closely by Clark. Vibbard drew contact as he looked for a shot, but there was no call. Vibbard’s three-point attempt from the left missed badly.
“We needed three stops at the end of regulation and got them,” Frisbie said.
To start overtime, Vibbard and Ben Malone traded putbacks in the first 25 seconds. The Panthers then went on a 6-0 spurt.
Brandon Fallon started it with a three-point play. He rebounded a miss by Vibbard, made the shot and was fouled. His free throw with 3:28 to go made it 53-50. Kyle King then got a friendly roll on a pull-up jumper in the lane to extend Edmeston’s lead to five with three minutes left.
After Stebbins missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 2:41 left, Clayton Lyon made 1 of 2 free throws with 2:34 to go to make it 56-50.
“It’s tough, especially being up six in overtime,” Belden said of he loss. “We were down for three-quarters of the game and forced overtime, and had still had a chance to win. That’s what these guys do.”
Clark quickly halved the Chiefs’ deficit, receiving a kick-out pass before hitting a three-pointer with 2:20 to go.
Schneider then scored inside after receiving an entry pass from Miller to make it 56-55 with 1:25 showing on the clock.
Vibbard then made a strong drive to the basket but couldn’t get the layup to fall with one minute left. SC pushed it up quickly. Miller made a quick cut down the lane, received a pass and hit a layup with 50 seconds left to give SC 57-56 lead.
“I didn’t have a good shooting day, but the one thing I thought I did well was moving without the ball,” said Miller, who finished 6-for-22 from the floor. “When I saw it was on the wing, I just cut to the basket.”
King missed a baseline three-pointer on Edmeston’s next possession and Miller rebounded. He was fouled with 34.6 seconds left and hit one free throw to make it 58-56.
Edmeston again came up empty on its ensuing possession and again fouled Miller, who again went 1 of 2 from the line to make it a three-point spread, with 21.3 seconds left.
Vibbard had a good look to tie with 13 seconds left, but his pull-up three-point attempt missed badly to the left and Miller again rebounded. This time, he hit both free throws to end it.
“In overtime, they got up six and we just say, one bucket at a time,” Frisbie said. “We just say one good possession at a time and that’s what we did.”
Southern Cayuga 61, Edmeston 56
SECTION FOUR CLASS D
Semifinal at Oneonta State
5-SOUTHERN CAYUGA (10-8): Tom Miller 6-22 5-8 18, Steve Farkas 0-1 0-0 0, Logan Clark 3-11 3-6 10, Ben Malone 4-10 0-1 9, Jack Stebbins 2-4 0-1 5, Justin Schneider 7-16 4-5 19. TOTALS: 22-66 12-21 61.
1-EMDESTON (18-2): Linton Wainright 4-22 0-0 9, Logan Vibbard 7-29 3-6 18, Brandon Fallon 3-11 1-1 7, Kyle King 3-10 1-3 7, Clayton Lyon 2-7 1-2 5, Lucas Miller 1-1 2-2 4, Nick DeVries 3-10 0-0 6. TOTALS: 23-90 8-13 56.
Southern Cayuga15 16 12 5 13 – 61
Edmeston14 15 8 11 8 – 56
Three-point field goals: S 5 (Miller, Clark, Malone, Stebbins, Schneider); E 2 (Wainright, Vibbard).
Rob Centorani can be reached at email@example.com or 607-432-1000, ext. 209.