ST. JOHNSVILLE - After the St. Johnsville boys basketball team rallied to defeat Dolgeville in the final game of the annual Coach Cutspec tournament, Saints coach Jason Brundage smiled as he looked at a picture of the late coach Bill Cutspec posted in his office.
"After he passed away [Dec. 2004] some of the players at that time put it on the med kit and then after the season put it up there and I have never taken it down," Brundage said. "I am proud of the kids for winning it. It means a lot to them and I know it means a lot to me. The tournament means a lot to me and my coaching staff because of who it is for. To win it as the Saint Johnsville Saints means a lot. Next year we don't know what the teams will be called."
Dolgeville (0-12 overall) came out shooting in the first quarter. With Bryce Dineen hitting eight points in the opening minutes to stake the Blue Devils to a quick lead.
Dolgeville’s Shane Jaquay (33) looks for an outlet while under pressure from St. Johnsville’s Ricky Jasewicz (23) after grabbing a defensive rebound Saturday at St. Johnsville High School. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)
St. Johnsville (6-5 overall) battled back with Alex Hart connecting for nine first-quarter points to put the score at 20-19 in favor of Dolgeville at the end of the opening period.
The Saints tied the game at 24 on Kyle Smith's 3-pointer, but the Blue Devils regained control of the lead on back-to-back baskets by Alex Johnson and Brandon Lewindowski. Dineen and Johnson traded 3-pointers with St. Johnsville's Dylan Klock and Jon Viccarelli before Smith closed out the first-half scoring with his free throw to put the halftime score at 34-31 in favor of the Blue Devils.
"I just think we made some shots tonight that we have not been making the last couple of weeks," Dolgeville coach Darren Brown said of the Blue Devils first-half performance. "They made some adjustments to take away some of our shooters but I think the pace of the game in the first period just led to a lot of points."
St. Johnsville took its first lead of the game early in the third period on baskets by Ricky Jasewicz and Klock, but the Blue Devils did not fade away. They battled back to tie or take the lead five times in the period to send the game into the final eight minutes of play tied at 43.
St. Johnsville broke away to a five-point advantage, 50-45, with 4:31 left to play, but the Blue Devils answered with seven straight points from Shane Jaquay to tie the game at 52 with 2:03 left on the clock.
Vicciarelli stepped up for the Saints, connecting on a field goal and a 3-pointer to again open the lead to five, 57-52. Brandon Campione scored the Saints final points of the game with a pair of free throws with 9.7 seconds left, while Jaquay closed out a nine point fourth-quarter performance with a basket with one second on the clock to put the final score at 59-54.
"They took him [Jaquay] away in the low post early but he got the offensive rebounds for us," Brown said. "We ended up with a couple of good looks at the basket that just didn't go but he cleaned them up nicely for us tonight. We took what they gave us tonight. It was nice to have a gamelong battle."
Jaquay finished with a double-double of 16 points and 16 rebounds, while Dineen contributed 13 points to the Blue Devils' scoring.
Vicciarelli led a trio of Saints in double-digits with 17 points, while Hart finished with 15 and Klock added 10.
"Give Dolgeville credit for a team to come in here winless and play the way they did. They shot the lights out in the first half," Brundage said. "We dug ourselves a big hole because we looked at the records and not the effort. Offensively, we did not have it in the first half but we gave ourselves a chance by being down only three. We definitely calmed down in the second half and got the shots we wanted."
Hart was named the tournament MVP, while Klock and Vicciarelli were named to the all-tournament team along with Dineen.
Coach Cutspec Tournament
St. Johnsville 59, Dolgeville 54
Dolgeville20 14 9 11 - 54
St. Johnsville19 12 12 16 - 59
B. Dineen 5-0-13, J. Dineen 2-0-4, Drumm 3-0-7, Jaquay 7-2-16, Johnson 3-1-8, Lewindowski 3-0-6. Totals: 23-3-54.
Campione 0-3-3, Hart 7-1-15, Jasewicz 3-1-8, Klock 3-3-10, Smith 2-1-6, Vicciarelli 7-0-17. Totals: 22-9-59.
3-point goals: Dolgeville 5 (B. Dineen 3, Drumm, Johnson); St. Johnsville 6 (Vicciarelli 3, Smith, Jasewicz, Klock).