The open men’s basketball team beat Western last night in a rousing second-half comeback led by 30 points, eight boards and eight assists from Tony Taylor, the former Stepinac star. The game ended around 10, earning Hudson Valley a shot at its first gold since 2006 just 12 hours later. But because of a tiebreaker used to determine second place after round-robin play, Hudson Valley’s opponent was the same: Western, but this time at 10 a.m.
Hudson Valley led early but could not sustain it, trailing all second half and watching its comeback fall short, 86-82.
Taylor, the George Washington starting point guard, played well again, finishing with 20 points. He simply didn’t have much offensive help outside of Nyack’s Mike McNair, who scored a team-high 21. None of the team’s other three starters played a high-impact game, including Mookie Jones. The Peekskill product scored just nine points, and only two in the second half.
Hudson Valley trailed by as many as 12 with under 10 minutes to play against Western, a team loaded with local Division I, II and III talent, including two players from Buffalo and the Downey brothers, Kyle and Kevin, who play at Siena and Canisius respectively.
Taylor and McNair led a comeback late in the game that cut Hudson Valley’s deficit to three, 82-79. McNair was blocked on a bad shot with under a minute left, but he stole the ball after Western rebounded and made a layup with 37.8.
Jones forced a tie up on the inbound, giving Hudson Valley possession. But the Syracuse sophomore then rushed a tough 3-pointer with about 30 seconds to play. One Western breakaway dunk later, Hudson Valley was finished.
Kyle Downey led Western with 21 points. Big men David Barnett of Buffalo (16 points) and Joesph Rebisz of Roberts Wesleyan (18) gave an undersized Hudson Valley team trouble in the paint. Hudson Valley played a good portion of the second half with Rishawn Johnson of White Plains, who was saddled with four fouls early in the second half. Still, Western simply had better depth, which may have played a factor with such a quick turnaround.
I’ll have more later on the scholastic team, which is playing right now for its first gold since 1995.