OESJ rolls to 47-25 win over Clippers
GLENS FALLS — It may sound old, but defense truly does win championships. For Oppenheim-Ephratah-St Johnsville Wolfpack, defense did just that in their 47-25 victory over the Germantown Clippers for the Section 2 Class D championship last night at the Cool Insuring Arena.
After a low-scoring and tightly-contested first half, Oppenheim-Ephratah-St Johnsville cranked up the defensive intensity, holding the Clippers to only nine second-half points. Of those nine points, there was only two made baskets and three points came in the fourth quarter.
“I tried to take the focus off of our lack of offense and wanted to keep the concentration on the defensive end because that ultimately is going to win you games,” said Oppenheim-Ephratah-St Johnsville head coach Jason Brundage. “At halftime, I pointed out that they had 16 points, then I told them if we can hold them to under 30, and we can get close to 50, then we’ll win.”
Leading the way offensively for the Wolfpack was the guard and forward combo of Jack Brundage and Tyler Leon. In the third quarter, Brundage contributed seven points while Leon would add an additional eight points.
It was the ability to switch from being a scorer to a facilitator from Brundage that was the difference in the fourth quarter. Brundage was held scoreless in the final quarter but was responsible for assisting on multiple baskets including two consecutive 3-pointers from teammate Jaedyn Logan Dillenbeck to make the score 43-25.
After the victory, Brundage would be named to the Class D All-Tournament team. He finished the game with seven points and 10 assists and averaged 8.3 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 5.6 assists per game in the three playoff victories.
“He’s been doing it for three years,” said coach Brundage. “He’s a returning MVP in this league for a reason.”
Leon finished with a game-high in points and rebounds with 20 points and 15 rebounds. and was named as the Class D Tournament MVP following the game. Leon would average 15.0 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 1.3 assists in the playoffs.
“He [Leon] shows up for every practice and every game with a lunchbox,” said coach Brundage. “He is a lunchbox type of player.”
The Wolfpack were boosted by an 8-0 scoring run to begin the game with assistance from fellow big man Travis LaFountain who scored four points in the quarter and end with eight total.
Germantown responded with a strong second quarter as they would win the quarter 11-9 and use a 9-2 run to draw the score to 18-16 just seconds before the end of the first half.
“I told them that we were right in this,” said Germantown head coach Derek Conte. “We had to make sure we kept rebounding and playing good team defense and then we would be fine.”
In that second quarter, the Clippers big man Bryan Bathrick began to get going as he scored seven of his team-high nine points to end the half. Bathrick would also be named to the Class D All-Tournament team as he ended the tournament with averages of 14.6 points and 8.6 rebounds.
“We talked about getting him the ball where he can score and be effective,” said Conte. “In the second half, we went way from it.”
Joining Bathrick on the Class D All-Tournament team was teammate Andrew Kellenbenz who scored seven points in the defeat while averaging 6.3 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 2.6 assists.
For Germantown, they end their season one win away from a sectional title but finish with an impressive 16-6 record.
“We want the kids to keep their heads up,” said Conte. “It’s a life lesson because sometimes you will get beat and you just have to fight through it.”
Oppenheim-Ephratah-St Johnsville will look to extend their season even further as they travel to Hudson Valley Community College in Troy to take on the Wells Indians next Saturday at 2:45 p.m. in the regional finals.
“This program I’ve been with, won in 2007, and we have been to the finals a bunch of times,” said coach Brundage. “Every kid that has been a part of this program is special and they all buy in to what we try and do along with our coaching staff, I have a great staff and we are the oldest coaching staffs in section two, but we are one of the best.”
Section II Class D Championship
Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville 47, Germantown 25
Germantown 5 11 6 3 — 25
OESJ 10 9 16 12 — 47
A. Kellenbenz 2-2-7, Eaton 2-2-6, Myar 1-0-3, Bathrick 3-2-9. Totals: 8-6-25.
Brundage 2-4-9, Logan-Dillenbeck 2-1-7, Mosher 1-0-3, LaFountain 3-2-8, Leon 10-0-20. Totals: 18-7-47.
3-point goals: Germantown 3 (Andrew Kellenbenz, Dylan Myar, Bryan Bathrick); OESJ 4 (Jayden Logan-Dillenbeck 2, Jack Brundage, Zack Mosher).