Hunter-Tannersville boys basketball coach Chris Glennon shouldn't have to work too hard to get his team revved up for tonight's Delaware League championship game at SUNY Delhi.
Roxbury already did most of the work for him.
H-T's only loss in 19 games this season came Dec. 5, when the Rockets earned a 49-45 road win in the Delaware League. At 8 tonight, the teams will go head-to-head for the first time since then in a crossover that will follow the girls championship game between state-ranked Davenport and South Kortright.
"We were out of control in that first quarter," said Glennon, whose team made 15 of its season-high 25 turnovers in the first eight minutes of its Dec. 5 home opener. "They doubled our shots."
H-T's miscues helped Roxbury take a 17-2 lead in a game the Wildcats were a little too pumped up to play, Glennon said.
"We need to be in control of our emotions," said Glennon, whose team has won 15 consecutive games since and ended Davenport's three-year run as Upper Delaware Division champions. "That was our home opener and they had a nice, subtle pressure that kind of wears on you."
The Wildcats, though, have senior Greg Mudge.
Hunter-Tannersville's all-time leading scorer, Mudge is a shade under his area-best 26.5 points per game last season with roughly 24 per outing this winter. He also averages six assists, five steals and five rebounds, which means Roxbury coach Tom Faraci likely will focus a lot more on H-T's 5-foot-10 standout guard than any of the other Wildcats.
"His numbers kind of speak for themselves," Faraci said of Mudge. "It's going to be what he gets and what you give the other players. There's quite a dilemma. You don't know what kind of night he's going to have."
Guard Zach Clark and forward Derek Legg have benefited the most from the extra attention Mudge commands. Clark averages nine points and five rebounds and Legg is at eight and seven, respectively. The Wildcats also get five points and seven rebounds per game from forward Josh Megnin. Guard Ryan Megnin (5 ppg), forward Josh Endy (3 ppg) and guard Vinny Rizzo (2 ppg) have more or less platooned in the fifth starting position this winter.
"Greg's recognition of gaps in a box-and-one and passing toward teammates has led to our success this year," Glennon said. "My entire team has understood the theory of beating a box-and-one."
Delaware Mountain Division winner Roxbury (17-2) will take a 16-game winning streak into tonight's final.
The Rockets look to counter with Ryan Skipper and DaVaun Morgan. Skipper, a 5-11 junior guard, scored 14 points and hit two three-pointers in the victory over H-T, which allowed 13 points to 6-1 sophomore guard Morgan.
"We need to get back in transition on defense because Morgan had 10 of his 13 points off deflections and steals, and Skipper had eight of his 14 points in the fourth quarter," Glennon said. "Both players had fast breaks off errors that fueled their mini-runs."
Seniors Lucas Brewer, Steven Hubbard and Andrew Camillone round out the Rockets' starting five. Guard Brewer is Roxbury's most accurate shooter, and the 6-1 Hubbard and 6-0 Camillone _ both forwards _ bring moderate size to the Rockets' lineup.
Roxbury, which is going for its first DL title since 1993, lost its second and third games of the season. South Kortright beat Roxbury, 64-54, in the championship game of the SK Thanksgiving Tournament on Nov. 24. Three days later, the Rockets dropped its Delaware League opener, 71-59, at Stamford.
"It's a showcase," said Glennon, whose program last won the crossover in 1999. "I told the kids we'll dress the part and you're on stage. You're a showcase for the entire Delaware League."