Solid efforts from Griffins, Spartans

HUGHESVILLE — Sullivan County flourished throughout the game’s final 10 minutes Wednesday, erasing a 14-point third-quarter deficit and stunning Jersey Shore. Less than an hour later Hughesville’s Luke Ergott provided outstanding all-around contributions and sparked a game-changing run as the Spartans defeated Freedom Village.

Looking ahead, each development was absolutely huge. So were the efforts of both Sullivan County and Ergott.

Sullivan dominated the last 10 minutes against Jersey Shore, turning that 14-point deficit into a 47-41 win. Ergott, working his way back from a partially torn patellar tendon injury, ignited Hughesville every time he took the court as the Spartans opened a 19-point second-quarter lead and cruised to a 54-42 win at the Bill Babcock Christmas Classic. The young Griffins (5-2) face Hughesville (3-4) in Thursday’s championship with Jersey Shore meeting Freedom Village in the consolation game.

“We could have used that kind of performance in our past close games but now that we learned from it, we’re going to use this experience in close games from now on,” Sullivan guard Sam Carpenter said after scoring nine points and grabbing four rebounds. “Once we went ahead I could just tell that we were going to pull through and beat them.”

“I’m extremely happy,” Ergott said after playing just his second game this season. “I was leading from the bench, but now I can lead from the floor and I feel like that helps our team a lot more than me doing so from the bench.”

Sullivan stormed out against Jersey Shore (3-3) hitting three quick 3-pointers and building a 9-0 lead less than two minutes into the game. The Griffins still led 17-15 after the first quarter, but endured a near 10-minute scoreless stretch between the second and third quarters as Jersey Shore took control. The Bulldogs dominated inside throughout the game’s first 2 1/2 quarters and went up 36-22 when Junior Armstrong fed Jordan Boob for a layup with two minutes remaining in the third.

The Griffins’ two previous losses came in overtime and double overtime and a young team with just two starters back from last season has been relying heavily on seniors John Saxe and Alex Baumunk. Both players came up big again and ignited a 20-3 fourth-quarter surge. But what stood out more than anything during that fourth quarter was all the other Griffins who hit important shots and made fantastic plays on both ends of the court.

Sullivan cut off Jersey Shore’s inside strength and made it a 3-point game when Carpenter hit the second of his three 3-pointers. Carpenter hit the go-ahead basket, taking a pass from freshman Jalen Thomas and draining a 3-pointer from the right wing that put Sullivan ahead to stay, 42-41 with 1:24 remaining.

“It was Jalen (Thomas) stepping up and making plays on defense and passing it to me there,” Carpenter said. “That was the biggest shot I’ve ever hit.”

Dave Pardoe played super post defense and grabbed four of his five rebounds in the fourth quarter. He also hit three foul shots in the last minute, including the game-clinching ones with 13.5 seconds remaining. Thomas played tremendous defense and Sullivan allowed just one fourth-quarter field goal, including none over the last seven minutes.

It was just the kind of collective performance Sullivan needed as it tries building off last year’s 16-win season.

“The big thing tonight for us was we had guys not named John Saxe and Alex Baumunk step up and make plays for us in the second half and that was huge,” Sullivan coach Glenn Vaughan said. “We have to have that. You can’t be a two-man basketball team and expect to win games against good teams. To have those other guys make plays is really big.”

Saxe gave Jersey Shore fits, scoring a game-high 18 points while adding six assists and six rebounds. Baumunk missed most of the second quarter in foul trouble, but scored 11 points over the last 12 minutes and ignited the fourth-quarter rally when he swished a long 3-pointer. Defenses are especially keying on Saxe, but Sullivan showed how that can backfire as it hit eight 3-pointers. Baumunk and Carpenter drilled three each and Dylan Hottenstein added another.

Nate Ewing had nine points and four assists for Jersey Shore while Jay Dincher added seven points and nine rebounds. The Bulldogs, though, scored only one point over the last seven minutes as Sullivan grew tough inside and shut down the paths to the basket they exploited throughout the first 2 1/2 quarters.

“The first half we did not defend and rebound way capable of, but the second half we turned some of that around so I’m proud of the fact that we didn’t fold the tent down 14. We battled back and got that win.”

Ergott has battled throughout his high school career and, despite still being on a minutes-restriction as he comes back from his injury, was a difference-maker throughout the game. The senior forward helped Hughesville erase an early four-point deficit and had a hand in eight straight points in the second quarter as it took a 32-13 lead. Ergott finished with eight points, two assists and two steals while playing good defense and settling down a team that struggled at different times.

“Luke is playing with passion and he’s the only senior I can say right now who is playing with passion because he had the game taken from him,” Hughesville coach Nick Tagliaferri said. “The fact that he plays with a chip on his shoulder and plays with some poise and some mental calmness and some toughness helps us. All the things that we are in need of, he is providing even in a short amount of minutes.”

Hughesville scored the third-quarter’s first 10 points and built a 42-16 lead. The Spartans were sloppy throughout the second half as Freedom Village went on a 14-0 run that made it a 12-point game early in the fourth quarter. Taylor Mason (12 points, 12 rebounds, 3 blocks) scored four quick points and Devon Bushor (9 points, 4 assists) hit a 3-pointer that helped Hughesville push the lead back to 20, but the Spartans were not happy with their overall performance.

They are thrilled, however, that Ergott is back as is he. Ergott shined as last season progressed and was a major reason Hughesville captured the District 4 Class AAA championship. Ergott sees the court well, effectively attacks the basket and has a nice shot. He also can defend post players or guards, giving the Spartans more flexibility.

Ergott tore his patellar tendon last June but was playing again in September when he suffered a setback. That took away Ergott’s preseason and his first five games. He still receives therapy and is working back into basketball shape. But the important thing is he is back. That makes Hughesville a lot more dangerous.

“I feel like I could play more minutes but we have to take it easy and gradually get better,” Ergott said. “It just feels good being out there again.”

“I’m glad he’s been able to work his way back,” Tagliaferri said. “I’m happy to have him back because he’s a real leader on our team.”

Sullivan County 47, Jersey Shore 41

Sullivan County (47)

John Saxe 5 7-11 18, Alex Baumunk 3 2-2 11, Sam Carpenter 3 0-0 9, Dylan Hottenstein 1 0-0 3, Dave Pardoe 0 3-4 3, Justin Metzger 1 0-0 3, Jesse Williams 0 0-0 0, Jalen Thomas 0 0-0 0. Totals 13 12-17 47.

Jersey Shore (41)

Junior Armstrong 3 0-1 6, Nate Ewing 4 0-2 9, Jay Dincher 3 1-2 7, Darren Stetts 1 0-0 2, Hunter Frantz 3 0-0 6, Jordan Boob 2 0-0 4, Tanner Lorson 2 0-0 4, Trevor Gee 1 1-2 3. Totals 19 2-7 41.

Sullivan 17 2 8 20–47

J. Shore 15 11 12 3–41

3-point goals: Sullivan 9 (Baumunk 3, Carpenter 3, Saxe, Hottenstein, Metzger); Jersey Shore 1 (Ewing).

Records: Sullivan County (5-3), Jersey Shore (3-3).

Hughesville 54, Freedom Village 42

Freedom Village (42)

Marcus Oommen 2 0-0 6, Mattyas Eyassu 1 0-0 2, Gensel Joseph 5 0-2 10, Sergei Fryburger 8 1-1 20, Drake Grizenko 1 0-2 2, Jordan Raymore 1 0-0 2. Totals 18 1-5 42.

Hughesville (54)

Taylor Mason 6 0-0 12, Matt Myers 2 4-5 8, Devon Bushor 4 0-0 9, Logan Woolcock 0 2-2 2, Luke Ergott 4 0-1 8, Patrick Rogers 2 1-2 5, Devon Braden 1 0-2 2, Isaiah Savage 1 0-0 3, Clayton Poust 1 0-0 3, Justus Leighow 0 2-2 2. Totals 21 9-14 54.

Freedom Village 10 6 12 14–42

Hughesville 11 21 10 12–54

3-point goals: Freedom Vilage 5 (Fryburger 3, Oommen 2); Hughesville 1 (Bushor, Savage, Poust).

Records: Hughesville (3-4).