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.