ST. JOHNSVILLE - The Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville Wolves boys' basketball team picked up its first win of the season in dominating fashion Thursday, out-hustling and out-muscling the Dolgeville Blue Devils 60-35.
Led by Johnny Vicciarelli and Kevin Blair, the Wolves (1-1) showed off their proficiency with the deep ball as well as their tenacity around the rim.
Dylan Klock was able to find a rhythm from behind the arc in the first quarter for OESJ. Klock nailed back-to-back three-pointers to put the Wolves up 7-5 midway through the quarter. Brandon Lewandowski scored five points in the quarter for Dolgeville (0-2), who won the quarter 8-7.
Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville’s Johnny Vicciarelli, right, looks to drive past Dolgeville’s Brandon Lewandowski during Thursday’s game at Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville High School. (The Leader-Herald/Shaun Anich)
The Wolves missed seven of eight free throws in the first quarter, but saw a reversal of fortune in the second frame. OESJ made seven of eight free throws in the quarter and started it on a 12-2 run. Vicciarelli made his first three-pointer of the game to give OESJ a 17-10 advantage. Blair scored six points in the quarter including a second-chance layup and two free throws to give OESJ their biggest lead of the game at 26-15.
The Wolves' full-court press wreaked havoc all game. Dolgeville's struggles inbounding the ball limited them offensively as the game wore on.
"It can be better. It has to get better," said OESJ head coach Jason Brundage. "It looked good tonight but that's a work in progress. Over the years, we've had a pretty good press and these guys are slowly starting to comprehend it."
The third quarter was the worst of the game for the Blue Devils. They scored four points and did not convert a field goal. Klock found Blair for an easy layup to kick off the scoring for OESJ and start an 8-0 run before Dolgeville's Jason Kretser made a free throw.
Vicciarelli made two more three-pointers in the half, including one at the buzzer to give the Wolves a 46-23 lead. Vicciarelli led the Wolves with 16 points.
"He worked hard in the summer this year," said Brundage. "Johnny was all-league as a freshman and then he didn't come around much the next summer and he didn't have as good a year as we expected last year. This summer he came around and put the time in and it's showing off so far."
Lewandowski and Alex Johnson combined for three three-pointers and 12 points in the final quarter for Dolgeville but OESJ cruised to the 25-point victory. Lewandowski poured in a game-high 18 points.
Blair posted a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds. The 6'4'' sophomore eased into the game after a quiet start.
"Kevin Blair stepped up today and he played like a man," said Brundage. "The guys did a pretty good job of finding him. He came out in that third quarter and started dominating the boards and that got us a little more of a cushion."
The Wolves made twice as many field goals as Dolgeville and sank eight from behind the three-point-line. Vicciarelli had five of them.
The game was the first game of the annual Bill Cutspec Tournament. Middleburgh will take on Schoharie today at 7:30 p.m., with OESJ facing the winner Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Dolgeville will face the loser in the consolation game at 6 p.m.
Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville 60, Dolgeville 35
Dolgeville8 11 4 12 - 35
Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville7 21 18 14 - 60
Vicciarelli 5-1-16, Klock 3-1-9, J. D'Antonio 3-1-8, Smith 0-4-4, Hart 2-1-5, Blair 5-2-12, Johnson 1-0-2, Mayton 1-1-3, N. D'Antonio 0-1-1. Totals 20-12-60.
Lewandowski 6-2-18, A. Johnson 1-6-9, Smith 1-0-2, R. Johnson 1-0-3, Blakeslee 1-0-2, Kretser 0-2-2. Totals 10-10-35.
3-point-goals: Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville 8 (Vicciarelli 5, Klock 2, J. D'Antonio); Dolgeville 5 (Lewandowski 3, A. Johnson, R. Johnson)