ONEONTA _ Edmeston’s boys overcame injuries, a 3-8 start to the season and the 14th seed that accompanied them into the Section Four Class D tournament.
But with big men Brandon Fallon and Nick DeVries watching from the bench the entire second quarter Wednesday, that was one obstacle that proved too tall for the Panthers.
“They’re our two go-to guys in the paint,” Edmeston coach Darren Belden said after his team’s 60-46 Section Four Class D semifinal loss to No. 10 Marathon at Oneonta State’s Dewar Arena. “We stressed all week and even since sectionals started that we have to keep our big guys out of foul trouble or we could be in trouble. We battled, but once those two hit the bench, that was huge.”
And that’s not to say that Edmeston would have advanced had Fallon and DeVries _ a pair of sturdy 6-foot-4 forwards _ played the whole way.
Marathon (9-12) used its motion offense that featured the inside-outside combination of Jeff Contri and Kody Barry with great success. The Olympians also used various zone looks throughout that made it very difficult for the Panthers to score in the paint.
But Marathon’s key run came in the second quarter. The Olympians outscored Edmeston, 15-8, in the second period to take a 33-24 lead into halftime.
Once Barry and Dan Lincoln worked a give-and-go to perfection on the right side of the court that led to an old-school three-point play for Barry 16 seconds into the second half, Marathon had a 36-24 advantage. The Olympians’ lead stayed in double-digits the remainder of the game.
“It was really huge for us to get their big guys out of the game,” said Contri, who scored 20 of his game-high 25 points in the first half. “It gives us confidence because we’re a smaller team. Coach told us when they were out to attack the rim.”