copyright the Chronicle March 11, 2015
by David Dudley
BROWNINGTON — The Brownington Parent Teacher Club raised more than $2,000 at the second annual March Madness Basketball Tournament at Brownington Central School (BCS) over the weekend. Boys and girls from schools all around Orleans County took to the courts to show their skills. Of the teams that participated — Brownington, Brighton, Lowell, St. Paul’s, Orleans, NEK Hoops, and Troy — Troy took top honors in both boys and girls divisions.
In the boys final, Troy faced off with Lowell, which squeaked by Brownington in the semifinal by a single point. Mason Svayg scored 20 to give Lowell the edge, including the game-winning free throw with three seconds remaining in the game.
“I was very nervous when I stepped up to the line,” Mason said. “I knew that if I made one, we would likely win. I made the first, but the second just wouldn’t fall.”
That one free throw sent Lowell to the finals to face Troy.
Faced with the difficult task of controlling Lowell’s lengthy front court, consisting of Mason Svayg and Nick Winters, Troy dug into its own bag of tricks. Among them, a potent point guard named Ethan Sarault, strong finisher Joe Young, and the scrappy Kaleb Russin tallied up a huge portion of the game’s scoring.
Troy’s aggressive, hard-nosed defense kept Lowell’s scorers in check most of the game, allowing six points in the entire first half. Troy out hustled its opponents to put 22 points on the board.
Though Troy took a comfortable lead into the half, Lowell returned to the court ready to play.
Mason scored 15 of his 19 points in the second half to give Lowell a big lift. Nick LeBlanc and Nick Winters pitched in, too, with a combined 23 points in the second half to get Lowell back into the game.
With 54.1 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, Mason stole the ball. After being tripped up, he went to the foul line, where he sunk both shots to bring Lowell within six points, 45-39.
When Ethan stole the ball and scored another layup, the game appeared to be out of reach, 47-39. But Lowell dug deep inside themselves, as Nick Winters hit from the perimeter, and Mason scored twice more to narrow the gap to four, 49-45.
But time ran out for Lowell. The second-half push wasn’t enough to come back from the first-half deficit. The Troy boys won the championship match, 49-45.
“We worked hard and had fun,” Ethan said after the game. “I tried to steal every pass I could and take the ball to the basket as hard as I can.”
“It was hard to plan for this,” Troy Coach Jamie Marsh said. “We’ve played Lowell before, so we know that we have to box out their front tall court. Ethan drove them crazy, and Kaleb really stepped it up.”
Likewise, the Troy girls put up an impressive victory against St. Paul’s.
Both Troy teams have a similar approach to defense: Stop the other team at all costs. The Troy girls opened the game with a full-court press that disrupted St. Paul’s offense throughout the game.
Led by McKenna Marsh, Troy forced a large number of turnovers that resulted in steady offensive production.
Jessica Carr, who scored 13 points for Troy, led all scorers. Abbie Baraw picked off a number of passes, and pitched in eight points to give Troy an 18-4 lead at halftime.
In the second half, St. Paul’s returned to the court willing to mix it up. They turned up the hustle and turned the ball over less frequently, giving their offense more opportunities to generate points.
Troy slowed down in the second half, as could be expected. They needed to catch their breath and rest their legs. But even when Troy eased up a bit, it seemed that St. Paul’s couldn’t buy a bucket.
In the end, Troy was too much. They held St. Paul’s to five points in the second half, while putting up 11 for their own cause.
St. Paul’s, though they fought valiantly, fell to Troy 33-9.
“We went in knowing that we could win if we tried,” McKenna said. “We hadn’t played them before, but we wanted to play aggressive defense, and we wanted to get our younger teammates involved.”
It was plain to see that everybody was having a great deal of fun. Hunter Cota hit three separate times over the weekend to win the 50/ 50 pot. And there were a number of younger players from the Lake Region Junior Hoops program on the sidelines rooting for their family and friends.
Scott Burdick, a member of the Parent Teacher Club, who also refereed the event, said that the funds would go towards replacing playground equipment at the Brownington school, and to paint a logo at center court in the gym.
contact David Dudley at [email protected]
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