By Alex Herold Contributing Writer
The Daily Star
---- — ONEONTA — Jordan Gutierrez is making a name for himself at Oneonta High.
On Saturday, his name was on the MVP award for the Anthony C. Drago Tournament as the lanky junior guard scored a game-high 36 points to lead OHS to a 64-55 boys basketball victory over visiting Southern Tier Athletic Conference rival Johnson City.
“Our team has worked hard for this,” said Gutierrez, a first-year varsity player who scored a game-high 22 points in Friday’s first round as the Yellowjackets opened their season with a 59-32 defeat of Seton Catholic Central. “It’s good to win some games.”
Former OHS boys and girls basketball coach Bob Zeh said Sunday night that Gutierrez fell three points shy of the school’s single-game scoring record set by Ron Carey during the 1980-81 season.
While current Oneonta coach Jerry Mackey was pleased with Gutierrez’s performance, he seemed concerned with the lack of offense elsewhere.
“We need more guys to play well,” said Mackey, whose other double-digit scoring performance came in the form of 10 points from sophomore Albert Odero. “It’s great Jordan played so well tonight, but that’s not really a recipe in our league to win too many games.”
Gutierrez opened the scoring 28 seconds into the championship game and Odero made it 4-0 on a layup 17 seconds later.
Johnson City’s Ricky Balles then made 1 of 2 free throws with 5 minutes, 3 seconds left in the opening quarter. His made free throw marked the only point for the Wildcats (1-1, 0-1) until Nick Chilson hit a layup with about a minute and a half to go in the first period.
OHS (2-0, 2-0) went on a 10-0 run in the meantime. Gutierrez hit a jumper, Mike Wolsetnholme converted a layup and Odero made a wing jumper to start the spurt. Gutierrez followed with another jumper and then closed the run with a lay-in off a sharp pass from all-tournament selection Paul Bischoff, giving the Jackets a 14-1 cushion with 1:41 left in the first period.
Chilson’s layup came after a JC timeout, but Gutierrez hit the first of his four three-pointers with 1:01 to go in the quarter to make it 17-3 in favor of OHS. Gutierrez ended the period with 11 points, matching his output in the first quarter of his varsity debut Friday.
The Yellowjackets maintained a double-digit lead until the fourth quarter, when some tentative play on offense allowed Johnson City to sneak back into the game.
OHS, which took a 49-34 lead into the final period, went into clock-management mode after extending its advantage to 59-41. The Jackets had several opportunities to attack open lanes to the basket but often kicked it out to the perimeter in an attempt to dribble time off the clock. The strategy nearly backfired, though, as Johnson City went on a 14-0 run.
All-tournament selection Colin Arvanitakis swished an uncontested shot from the corner for JC’s only three-pointer with 1:30 left as the Wildcats pulled to 59-54. Following an OHS turnover, Arvanitakis returned to the same corner for another three-point try that clanged off the rim, but a foul sent him crashing to the ground and then to the free throw line for three shots with a minute left. He missed the first two before making the third to cap the Wildcats’ run.
Gutierrez put OHS back in control by hitting 1 of 2 free throws for a 60-55 lead. Balles then missed a layup and Oneonta got the rebound, setting up a layup at the other end for Odero with 36.2 seconds to go.
George Foti ended the scoring by making two free throws for his only points with about 20 seconds left as Oneonta essentially secured the Drago title.
“It’s a game we’ll learn from, a game we’ll get better from,” said JC coach Bill Spalik, who received 15 points from all-tournament selection Max Marshall, 12 apiece from Arvanitakis and Balles, and 11 from Quinton Johnson.
Gutierrez, who has nine three-pointers over the first two games of the season, finished Saturday’s game with 13 field goals. He also made 6 of 8 free throws for Oneonta, which hosts Norwich on Wednesday.
Oneonta 64, JC 55
Championship at Oneonta High
JOHNSON CITY (1-1, 0-1): Rick Balles 3 6-7 12, Max Marshall 5 5-8 15, Jake Thompson 1 0-3 2, Dominick Potenzino 0 0-0 0, Colin Arvanitakis 4 3-5 12, Matt Czeither 0 0-0 0, Dominic Nadz 0 1-2 1, Nick Chilson 1 0-3 2, Quinton Johnson 4 3-5 11. TOTALS: 18 18-33 55.
ONEONTA (2-0, 2-0): Jordan Gutierrez 13 6-8 36, Albert Odero 5 0-2 10, Paul Bischoff 3 2-8 8, George Foti 0 2-2 2, Mike Wolstenholme 1 0-0 2, Brock Eichler 2 2-2 6, Ben Southern 0 0-0 0, Kevin Smith 0 0-0 0, Skylar Thompson 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 24 12-22 64.
Johnson City 3 18 13 21 - 55
Oneonta 17 16 16 15 - 64
Three-point field goals: J 1 (Arvanitakis); O 4 (Gutierrez 4).