January 22, 2009 | 19 views
Spartans get better of Falcons
The Spartans found some middle ground against the Falcons and used a trapping defense from the opening tip to set the tone in an impressive 56-48 victory in front of a boisterous standing-room only crowd at South. Junior Ryan Kenny scored 21 points and junior Tyrone Conyers added eight points, six rebounds and three blocks for North, which scored the game's first seven points and never trailed.
"We had this game penciled down since the beginning of the season," Spartans coach Fabian Jara said. "We've played a lot on the road and I think it helped us keep our composure whenever they made a run. It was an important win and we're looking forward to all the games at our house."
The outcome gave North and South identical 4-2 records midway through the conference schedule. The Falcons, who faced a 16-3 hole after a Kenny three-pointer early in the second quarter, were led by junior Obinna Nwaigwe's 20 points. "We let a golden opportunity slip through our hands," South coach Dom Fontana said after his team's first loss since Dec. 30. "We didn't match their intensity out of the gate. The first quarter proved to be our undoing. We adjusted and battled, but the three or four times we had a chance to get over the hump we either missed a shot or had a defensive breakdown."
Senior Juan Moya (nine points) brought the Falcons within four with a running jumper at the buzzer to end the first half, and they closed the gap to one three times during a frantic third quarter that saw North senior Eric Lavin score six of his eight points. The Spartans then opened the fourth on an 8-2 run to stretch its lead to 11.
"This win should push our confidence to another level," Jara said. "I've been confident in the kids all along, and I think the fact they came in here and took the game from start to finish was huge."
The Spartans (6-6 overall) are home to Friends Academy on Friday at 8 p.m., and the Falcons (6-5) are back in action on Saturday when Clarke visits for a noon tip-off.
Rematch a few weeks away
The Spartans, who play four of their last five conference games at home, host the Falcons in the regular-season finale on Monday, Feb. 9 at 8 p.m. There's a chance one of the two Conference ABC-IV playoff berths will be on the line, which would only add to the intensity level. "It's possible we'll both get in the playoffs," Fontana said. "But if something happens where only one of us can get in and it comes down to that final game, I can't imagine what it'll be like."
Comments about this story? TBellissimo@liherald.com or (516) 569-4000 ext. 204.