Elk Lake dominates county tournament
BY HEIDI ZENEFSKI
Elk Lake battled Montrose and outscored Susquehanna to claim champion title in the 8th Annual Susquehanna County Christmas Basketball Tournament, Dec. 27-28.
In Friday’s first round of play, the Warriors took on the Montrose Meteors with the first three quarters marked by a hard-fought battle.
The first quarter ended with Elk Lake up by one, 17-16, but that was as close as the Meteors would get to Coach John Warnero’s Warriors.
Each successive quarter had the Warriors pulling away and by half time the score was 28-25 with Elk Lake on the upside.
Coach Sean Madden’s Meteors briefly held a lead in the third quarter, but it was short lived as Elk Lake’s Matt Woolcock scored the go ahead basket and Warriors increased their lead by five points at the end of the period.
Foul trouble hurt the Meteors in the fourth quarter which allowed the Warriors to score 12 foul shots, seven in a row by Elk Lake’s Tanner Reyan.
Montrose had no answer for Reyan’s speed, agility and skill who led the game by scoring 22 points. Woolcock helped out by scoring 17.
Montrose’s Cameron Dean led the Meteors with 19 points, but it just wasn’t enough to stop the Warriors who earned the win with a final score of 59-48.
The second game of the night had the Susquehanna Sabers, coached by Lawrence Tompkins squaring off against the Blue Ridge Raiders, coached by Matthew Button.
At the end of the first quarter the Sabers led 14-7 and never looked back.
Both teams have young rosters with only one senior playing for each team.
Brad Palmatier is the sole senior on the Raider roster and Christian Miller is the senior on the Susquehanna team. Both players demonstrated leadership skills on the court throughout the game.
At half time the score was 28-19 in favor of the Sabers and the third quarter brought more of the same with a score of 40-31.
The fourth quarter was rough for the Raiders who faced adversity with three players fouling out in the last two minutes of the game, leaving an already short roster with even less options from the bench. The Raiders fought through and didn’t let the Sabers lead get any larger.
The final score left Susquehanna with the win, 56-47.
Austin Darrow led the Raiders with 16 points; while Miller and sophomore sensation Luke Falletta each scored 15 for the Sabers.
The Consolation game on Saturday featured Montrose and Blue Ridge. The game started out slow with Blue Ridge taking five minutes to score their first basket.
Montrose senior Brenton Warner played great defense getting three steals in the first quarter.
The first quarter ended with a 13-6 score in favor of the Meteors.
The Raiders picked up their pace in the second quarter and gained quite a bit of ground, outscoring Montrose 10-6 to bring the game within three points at the half with a score of 19-16.
After half time Montrose showed that they were there to play by scoring as many points in the third quarter as they had in the entire first half bringing the score up to 38-21.
The fourth quarter of the game was more evenly paced with Blue Ridge keeping up and scoring 11 points to Montrose’s 12 points.
Blue Ridge freshman Jarred Mills used his speed to frustrate many of the Meteors’ plays with fast hands, quick feet, and great defense.
With two minutes left, the Montrose Varsity players came out of the game and the Junior Varsity team stepped up to finish out the game for the Meteors.
Sophomore Andrew Bickford was the sole scorer of the JV team scoring two points on foul shots to end the game with Montrose defeating Blue Ridge, 50-32.
Cameron Dean was once again the high scorer for the Meteors with 14 points; while Austin Darrow led the Raiders with eight points.
The Championship game took place Saturday between Susquehanna and Elk Lake.
Once again, there was no stopping Elk Lake’s Reyan who scored 23 points in the game.
The Sabers lost one of their starters due to an injury sustained in the previous game. According to a Susquehanna assistant coach, Brandon Soden may be out for the season with a torn quad. His presence and skill on the court was greatly missed by his team and each one of them had to step up to try to fill in for him.
Elk Lake played with a fast, aggressive pace, scoring 22 points including three 3-pointers from senior Tyler Arnold in the first quarter to Susquehanna’s four points.
The second quarter was more of the same leaving a half time score of 40-13 in favor of the Warriors. The third quarter seemed much like a 3-point competition with nine 3-point shots being made between the two teams.
Susquehanna’s Josh Wheeler made three 3 point shots while his teammate, Luke Falletta, added two more to the stat sheet.
On the other side of the court, Elk Lake’s Matt Woolcock scored four more 3-pointers for a total of five for him during the game.
Susquehanna outscored the Warriors 25-24 in the third quarter, but the scoreboard still favored Elk Lake 64-38.
With five minutes left in the game, the Warriors began subbing in players, leaving junior Wyatt Warner on the court to lead the team.
Sophomore Hunter Watkins scored 6 points and Bailey Newhart put in a lay-up to earn the Warriors the tournament championship for the third year in a row with a final score of 82-47.
High scorers for the Sabers were Josh Wheeler with 11 points and Luke Falletta with 10.
Each coach chose a player from his team to be on the All-Tournament Team. The players chosen were: Austin Darrow (BR), Luke Falletta (SUSQ), Erik Burgh (Mont.) and Matt Woolcock (EL). The tournament MVP was Elk Lake’s Tanner Reyan.