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Watervliet ends OFA dream season

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POTSDAM - After watching OFA strike for 16 points in the first 4:27 of the third quarter, and take a 48-40 lead, everyone in the Watervliet camp knew that the Cannoneers needed a strong start to the fourth quarter to advance in Saturday’s New York State Class B quarter-final game at SUNY Potsdam.

Senior Tyler McLeod also knew that he had the capability to step forward and lead his team back to the NYS Final Four where Watervliet dropped a one-point decision to Bishop Ludden in last year’s state championship game.

His confidence manifested itself immediately as he scored off a diagonal drive to erase a 50-49 OFA lead. He scored 11 points in four minutes and went on to score 15 of his 30 points in the Cannoneers’ 24-8 fourth quarter run to a 73-58 win.

“They had been laying off me a lot in the game so I hit some jumpers. Then with the help of my teammates I was able to find some space to get to the basket. It was a big team effort,” said the powerful 6’ 3” Division I prospect who broke a 51-51 with a three-pointer and then scored on a series of power drives and floating shots in the lane.

A three-pointer by poised freshman sniper Ty’Jon Gilmore upped the lead to 64-52 with 3:32 to play. Watervliet then answered the seventh and eighth three-pointer by OFA sophomore Kinnon LaRose, who went 8-10 from beyond the arch in a magnificent 34-point effort, to secure the victory.

“We played a strong game and we didn’t have many turnovers (5) but we just couldn’t stop Tyler McLeod in the fourth quarter,” said OFA Coach Mark Henry after the contest where his team cut a 10-point deficit to one in the second quarter as a prelude to their third quarter burst. “Watervliet is an outstanding team and they played really well.”

Watervliet Coach Orlando DiBacco felt the same type of frustration in the course of the game before his team put together a dominant fourth quarter.

“OFA was very difficult to defend and for Kinnon LaRose to shoot the way he did was just amazing for a sophomore,” said DiBacco.

“We were able to come up with a defense that got us some stops. Some of our young guys made big plays but I think the difference was that we have seniors who played in a state championship game. They really gave us great leadership.”

Jordan Gleason, the other half of 16-8 Watervliet’s Division I prospect backcourt, tallied 17 points with eight in the third quarter while Gilmore netted four threes in a 20-point effort where he contributed 10 to a 23-13 first quarter lead.

McLeod and Gleason also combined for 12 and 10 rebounds.

The Devils’ first half turnabout was sparked by a high altitude block by Breton LaRose and 11 combined points by Kinnon (6) and Cavan LaRose in the second quarter. Kinnon LaRose (12) and Pat Cosmo (8) combined for 20 points in third quarter.

Cosmo netted seven of nine free throws scoring 13 points, Cavan LaRose added five points and Breton LaRose tallied four points on five shots, grabbed eight rebounds and passed out four assists. Colin Ross netted two points and Matt Piercey passed out three assists. “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If I could coach a team like this every year I would coach for 40 years,” said Coach Henry after 21-2 OFA saw an 18-game win streak end.

“We had five great seniors (Breton LaRose, Cavan LaRose, Pat Cosmo, Tyler Knowlton, Alex Farrell) and they led us to a great season.”

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