FONDA - The Fonda-Fultonville Braves nailed 11 shots from downtown in romping past the Tamarac Bengals 76-46 in a Class B sectional tournament play-in game Saturday at Fonda-Fultonville High School.
The 30-point thrashing propelled the 13th seeded Braves into the first round of the tournament where they will face 4-seeded Mekeel Christian.
Fonda-Fultonville (9-10 overall) got off to a slow start, failing to notch their first point of the game until there was 4:17 remaining in the first quarter. Down 4-0, Cam Ives hit a free throw to kick off an 11-4 run that gave the Braves the lead for good. Zach Valachovic splashed twice from downtown during the run - once to tie the game at four and once to give Fonda-Fultonville a 7-6 lead.
Fonda-Fultonville’s Cam Ives (4) puts up a shot over Tamarac’s Nick Zotto (1) during their Section II Class B play in game Saturday night at Fonda-Fultonville High School. (The Leader-Herald/Shaun Anich)
Knocking down shots from distance would become a recurring theme for the Braves. Russ Williams made back-to-back three-point attempts as part of a 13-2 run to begin the second quarter, and Kevin Myers bookended a separate 9-0 run later in the quarter with two threes of his own. Williams hit three more three-pointers later in the contest to finish with a game-high 17 points while Myers added two to his total.
"I don't think it's ever the game plan to score a lot of threes. We were just fortunate they were falling tonight," said Fonda-Fultonville head coach Eric Wilson. "The shots that we took were all in rhythm and we weren't rushing anything."
Nick Zotto had the hot hand for Tamarac (3-15 overall) in the first half. The senior tallied 10 points, but Fonda-Fultonville's steady barrage from downtown gave them a 35-21 lead heading into the halftime break. The Braves were aided by 15 first-half Tamarac turnovers. Fonda-Fultonville gave the ball away just five times in the first 16 minutes and won the turnover battle 22-12 overall.
The Bengals had their best offensive quarter in the third with 14 points. Brandon Barbera scored five for Tamarac, but the Braves' offense exploded to the tune of 27 points in the frame. Myers and Williams each had two threes as seven players poured in points for Fonda-Fultonville.
"We just stepped up the confidence and knocked some shots down," Wilson said. "Once we got rolling we played like I expected us to play."
The Braves began the fourth quarter with their regulars on the court but dug into their bench to finish off the game. Russ Warner showed his versatility in the frame for Fonda-Fultonville. Warner scored five points in the stanza, including a jumper, a layup, and a free throw. Dillon Maxon scored six points in the fourth off the bench for Tamarac, but the Braves cruised down the stretch.
The Braves didn't have long to prepare for Tamarac as the tournament seeds were released on Wednesday.
"I knew Tamarac was a very scrappy team and I knew they had a couple guys that could score the basketball and I knew that they were going to play hard until the end," said Wilson. "It's such a quick turnaround I didn't have a lot of time to get a lot of information on them."
Each team's leading scorer was held in check Saturday. Will Turner registered just two points for Fonda-Fultonville while Anthony Giamei had two for the Bengals. The Braves had five players score in double-figures including Williams (17), Ives (14), Myers (12) and Mace Madore (10). Ives led Fonda-Fultonville with seven boards as the Braves out-rebounded Tamarac 32-20.
The Braves' matchup against the Lions of Mekeel Christian is slated for Tuesday at 7 p.m.
"They're very well coached and they don't really have that one guy you have to shut down. They have a group of guys and anyone can score on you in a given night," Wilson said. "I like to think if we come ready to play and we play with some intensity and the effort that we played with tonight I like our chances."
Fonda-Fultonville 76, Tamarac 46
Fonda-Fultonville 13 22 27 14 - 76
Tamarac 10 11 14 11 - 46
Williams 6-0-17, Ives 5-4-14, Myers 4-0-12, Madore 4-2-10, Valachovic 3-0-8, Calkins 3-0-6, Warner 2-1-5, Turner 1-2-4. Totals 28-9-76.
N. Zotto 7-1-15, Murray 5-1-11, Maxon 1-4-6, Barbera 1-3-5, A. Zotto 1-1-3, Garmley 1-0-2, Giamei 1-0-2, Lemay 0-2-2. Totals 17-12-46.
3-point-goals: Fonda-Fultonville 11 (Williams 5, Myers 4, Valachovic 2); Tamarac - none