Tigers top Newark Valley
Zach Williams and Cody Bennett answered the call, lifting Tioga to a 54-44 IAC victory over the Cardinals.
Bennett poured in a game-high 21 points, a dozen of them coming in the first half as the Tigers worked their way to a 24-18 halftime advantage.
Williams chalked up eight of his 11 in the final quarter, including a key three-pointer with a minute left in the game after NV had trimmed the Tigers’ lead to 49-44.
Tioga never trailed after Bennett hit his second of three treys to give his team a 12- 11 edge early in the second quarter, but Newark Valley hung around like a post-flu cough.
The Tigers’ biggest lead of the opening half was eight, 24-16 after a 5-0 run that included back-to-back baskets by Zwierlein and a free throw from Bennett.
Near the midway point of the game, Reese moved Zwierlein to point guard and Bennett to shooting guard and the coach felt the move paid off.
“It allowed him to set stuff up for Cody a little more and kind of run our offense and it picked us up a lot. I think we ran our offense a lot better once we did that,” said Reese. “Hats off to Zwierlein, who’s usually the guy scoring for us, who was willing to not worry about scoring, but trying to run our offense for us.”
Bennett would add his final trey early in the third to make the score 27-20, but Adrian Race scored 11 of the Cardinals’ next 13 points to offset four more by Bennett and four by Troy Rogers and pull NV within 38-33 before a Zwierlein bucket made it 40-33 entering the final period.
Race started the fourth quarter off with a basket, but a pair of free throws from Williams and a bucket by Bennett gave Tioga a 44-38 lead.
Williams, who had been stone cold from three-point range all game, knocked down a trey with 2:08 remaining and Rogers made it 49-41, but Devlin Farr’s trey with just over a minute to play narrowed the score to 49-44. That’s when Williams canned his second straight trey and sealed the victory for TCS.
“When he gets his feet set he’s a very good shooter,” said Tioga coach Dave Reese, “and all game long he hadn’t been getting his feet set. I have confidence he can make shots — if he gets his feet set. The second one was not part of the plan. That was not supposed to happen, but it went in, so it’s irrelevant at this point.
“We joke in the locker room that it’s Rhino time in the fourth quarter, but he has the majority of his points and the majority of his contribution comes in the fourth quarter. He steps up.”
In addition to the 21 and 11 points Bennett and Williams netted, Rogers contributed 14 markers. He also pulled down nine rebounds against NV’s overpowering big men, Bennett and Tim Smith. The Cardinals’ duo, who combined for 26 points in an earlier win over the Tigers, totaled just nine this time. Zwierlein added eight points for Tioga.
Race paced NV with 17 while Farr scored eight and Dan Graves five.
Tioga (6-4, 7-7) is off until Jan. 31, when the Tigers travel to Waverly to face the once-beaten Wolverines.
Athens 76, North Penn 33
North Penn provided little competition for Athens Thursday night, falling to the Northern Tier League East leaders in a crossover game.
Athens led 24-4 after the first quarter and 44-15 at the half, despite substituting regularly throughout.
Ray McDougan and Adam McCauley led four Wildcats players in double digits with 13 points each. McCauley added three steals and McDougan had two blocks. Mark Wright, who had 11 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists and three blocks, and Luke Wright, who had 10 points and six rebounds, were Athens’ other double-digit scorers.
Craig Moore led Athens on the boards with 12 rebounds and added two blocks; Garrett Clark had six assists and Curt Moore had three steals for Athens, which is 11-1 overall heading into Saturday night’s home test against Danville.
Dan Prouty led North Penn with 13 points.
JV: Athens won the JV contest 50-39. Brandon Fauver led Athens with 15 points and Kurt Walck added 10 points.
Tioga Central 63, Newark Valley 22
Tioga pitched an 11-0 first-period shutout and led 31-2 at the half in rolling to the Interscholastic Athletic Conference win over the Cardinals.
Emily Schweiger had a breakout game with 18 points, eight rebounds and seven steals for the Tigers, and Sierra Beebe added 14 points and nine rebounds for Tioga. Sarah Whitley also broke double digits with 11 points
“Emily broke out and Sierra played well,” said Tioga coach Joe Robinson. “It was nice to see Whitney get to double figures.”
Hannah Manwaring added eight points, five rebounds, four steals and four assists; Natalie Burns had eight boards and three assists; and Callie Patsellis added eight points, seven steals and three assists for the Tigers, who are off until they host Waverly on Jan. 31.