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Somers Keeps Going Strong in 49-39 Victory over Valhalla

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By Rich MonettiPublished 2 months ago 3 min read

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On Thursday January 25, Somers faced Valhalla at home, and despite leading 25-22 at the half, the effort didn’t please the Tuskers. “We went into halftime a little disappointed with how we played,” said Coach James Loughran. But intermission didn’t really have the team overanalyzing, and left the Tuskers addressing their shortcomings, according to center Mac Sullivan.

“We weren’t playing well, so we decided to play better,” the senior kept it simple, and the end result was a 49-39 victory.

Still, Sullivan got out of the gate quick. Nate Cohen hit the big man in the low post, and the double team was too late.

Then the little guys showed what they had. Antonis Paloungos’ penetration freed up Rob Foisset for a layup, and Brady Leitner exploded through a narrow pass to regain the lead for Somers.

They weren’t done either. After Paloungos took a pass ahead right to the rim, Leitner head faked in the low post for two off the glass, and Somers took a 10-4 lead when the guard led the break to put Andrew Violante on the line for two.

Violante followed with a strong drive of his own, and Paloungos closed the quarter. The guard drove baseline, and followed his own miss for a three point play.

12-9 in favor of Somers, the second was a back and forth. Julian Amoroso took the inbound off the glass, and Valhalla was in position to take their first lead. Amoroso stutter stepped his way through the Tusker interior defense and then scored another layup after Brendon O’Neil’s steal got him ahead on the fast break.

Down one now, Somers regained the lead with help of their other guard. Cohen’s lateral move across the paint kept him going that way on his fall away jumper and then he switched gears on a reverse layup to make it an 18-17 game.

A little separation was next. Cohen hit Phil Santore in the corner, and his three gave Somers a four point lead at 2:20.

But the Vikings were not impressed. Amoroso scored a put back to get within two, and Mikaele Martinez drained a triple to give Valhalla a 22-21 lead with 48 seconds remaining.

So Cohen closed the quarter. His put back attempt resulted in two from the line, and with Violante’s defensive rebound getting Cohen running, the senior beat the buzzer from just outside the paint.

Up 25-22, the second half began just like the first. Cohen on the bounce and inside to Sullivan, the center dropped another two, and signaled his reemergence after an early season injury. “It’s been a tremendous get back, because now, it allows us to do a lot of things offensively that we haven’t seen before,” said Loughran.

Of course, Leitner has noticed how Sullivan facilitates his work in the backcourt. The unmistakable presence, said the point guard, “A big man setting picks in the paint makes a lot of difference.”

But Sullivan again refused to complicate things. “Our guards have been doing it all year. So it’s not really me. I grab some rebounds and get a couple of buckets,” he assured modestly.

A 29-24 lead on the way, Sullivan was on point with the assessment. He ripped the rebound on the defensive end and turned Leitner’s miss into a put back on the offensive glass.

That said, Sullivan coyly hedged his bets for a timely three pointer down the road. “We’re saving that for a big spot,” the senior was all tongue and cheek.

But if there was any doubt, Loughran posted up the center with a little deadpan of his own. “Yeah, that’s not happening,” joked the coach.

Either way, Sullivan got a breather, which didn’t have Jacob Hauser missing a beat. He swooped in to steal the offensive rebound, bounce passed to Violante on the cut, and his miss had Cohen on the ready again.

Off glass with the put back, Somers went up seven at 5:04, but Valhalla wasn’t quite ready to capitulate. Paloungos juked his way to the rim, and after Violante dropped another three, the guard's kick out to Foisset netted a matching triple.

That was pretty much it, though, and Cohen filed the paperwork in triplicate. A layup high off the glass, a corner three and a jumper at the foul line gave Somers a 42-30 lead to close the quarter.

Good for one more, Cohen’s defensive board and coast to coast layup made it a 14 point game, and the rebound from the first half sat well with the coach. “I’m definitely impressed with the way we came out of the locker room,” Loughran concluded.


About the Creator

Rich Monetti

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