Alex Specht had a double-double and Ben Branigan scored the last four points Saturday to lead host Delhi to a 41-38 boys basketball victory over Downsville in the first round of the Shalkey-Mokay Tournament.
The Bulldogs rallied from a 19-11 halftime deficit to win their season opener and advance to the title game against Hunter-Tannersville at 7 tonight.
Branigan made a field goal off a shuffle-cut to the basket to put Delhi ahead for good, at 39-38. Branigan, a freshman, later drew a foul and made both free throws with 13 seconds left to cap the scoring.
“He hit two big free throws for us,” Delhi coach Warren Kelly said of Branigan, who finished with eight points. “That showed a lot of composure on his part, especially since it was his first varsity game.”
Kelly said the Bulldogs then applied a soft press that helped milk the clock and resulted in a Downsville turnover with 1 second left. The game ended when Delhi successfully inbounded the ball.
Specht finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds for Delhi, which took 17 of its 23 foul shots after halftime.
“We got to the foul line very well in the second half,” said Kelly, whose team made 13 free throws overall. “Our post players were getting rebounds and drawing fouls, and our guards were doing a nice job of taking the ball to the hoop. I was pleased with our defense, too, because we did a lot of trapping and didn’t foul that much. That showed good discipline on our part.”
Justin Baxter scored a game-high 16 points for the Eagles (1-1), who will face Bainbridge-Guilford in the consolation game at 5:30 p.m. today.
Bainbridge-Guilford fell, 49-31, to Hunter-Tannersville in Saturday’s other first-round game.
Delhi 41, Downsville 38
DOWNSVILLE (1-1): Zach Doig 2 0-0 4, Billy Smith 3 0-0 6, Justin Baxter 7 1-1 16, Anthony Shields 1 3-4 5, Dave Doig 3 1-2 7, Chance Byington 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 16 5-7 38.