POTSDAM - Champions seize the moment.
Because of the way he seized the moment on Friday at SUNY Potsdam, senior guard Pat Cosmo and his teammates will forever be a member of one of OFAs nine Overall Section 10 Boys Basketball Championship teams.
On a night when both the OFA (19-55, 6-27 3-pters) and Massena (20-57, 2-15 3 pters) struggled against shooting woes, Cosmo used his creative slashing abilities to score 21 points on 7-11 shooting, hit 3-4 three-point attempts and four of five free throws in a 21-point effort in sparking the Blue Devils to a 62-54 decision over the Raiders.
He tallied 12 points in the first quarter where OFA opened a 20-12 lead which eventually became the margin of victory and netted nine in the fourth quarter where the 20-23 Devils turned back a concerted Massena rally which cut the difference to four points on long threes by Rhoades Tarbell with 1:02 and 20 seconds remaining.
Pat Cosmo just went off when we needed him. He is one of the main reasons we won the game, said junior guard Matt Piercey who played a very timely role by answering both Tarbell threes with two settling free throws and hit six-of-eight free throws in the fourth quarter in a 10-point, five assist effort. When I went to the line at the end I felt good because all of my teammates were supporting me. It is all about the team.
A team effort, which featured 16 points, seven rebounds and two blocks by Breton LaRose and seven points on 3-5 shooting by Colin Ross, which offset a very active effort by the Massenas inside combination of Zack Rusaw, Xavier Viskovich and Tarbell. Rusaw delivered a high-altitude 22-point, 16-rebound effort on 8-15 shooting. Xavier Viskovich (6 rebounds) tallied 18 points on 6-9 shooting and Tarbell scored eight points with 10 rebounds and three blocks.
We had to play the game inside out tonight. We did a good job at that even though we turned the ball over too much entering it to the post, said Massena Coach Tom Miller. OFA just has so many scoring options. We came out tonight looking to contain the LaRoses and Matt Piercey and Pat Cosmo just took it to us in the first quarter. The first quarter proved to be the difference in the game but we really battled and battled.
OFA Coach Mark Henry credited the intensity of both teams and credited his team for showing its ability to grind it out.
Our shots werent going down so we had to grind out offensively and play tough defense, said Henry shortly after the Devils cut down the net at one rim and Cosmo took the net and WMSA trophy and jogged toward the lockeroom. We did that and Pat Cosmo just stepped up bigtime.
OFAs grind-it-out tendencies and abilities were classically illustrated in third quarter. The Devils missed all of their three-point attempts and yielded five quick points to pretty Viskovich spin moves.
They managed to score only 11 points, anchored by six from Breton LaRose, but limited the Raiders to only nine.
Senior Alex Farrell added two tough inside conversions to the OFA cause, Cavan LaRose buried a three-pointer and Kinnon LaRose (1 point) grabbed eight rebounds as OFA improved to 20-2.
Zevon Viskovich snatched eight rebounds for Massena and scored two points along with Rob Cameron (2 assists) and Joe LaBelle (3 assists).
The Raiders (11-9) will now get set to open the New York State Class A playoffs next Wednesday against the Section 2 champion at Saratoga High School starting at 7:45 p.m.