MALONE - It was billed as an early-season showdown, and many from around the North Country were on hand to watch the Franklin Academy Huskies do something on the hardwood that they havent done in over a decade – defeat the Potsdam Sandstoners in bosbasketball.
The majority of the Massena basketball team was in attendance while the OFA Blue Devils had their advanced scout team videotaping the game.
The Huskies raced out to an early lead and held off numerous Potsdam attacks en route to the 55-35 NAC Central Division victory.
FA used a tenacious half-court defense to take the taller Sandstoners out of their offensive rhythm.
They have finally bought into the defensive concept, stated FA Head Coach Tim Lamay of his charges play. This was a game the boys really wanted. They went out and did a great job on the defensive end of the floor. We came up with several big stops thoughout the game.
Lamays team got into its defensive grove early on, stopping the Sandstoners on several trips in the opening quarter, forcing four straight turnovers while making a pair of key steals and erased an early 2-0 deficit.
Franklin Academy raced up and down the court with Potsdam during the opening quarter and eventually took a 13-8 lead as Jon Dunlavey drained the first of his three 3-pointers. A Harvey Smith steal put the hosts up 15-8 as the Huskies held a 15-10 advantage after the first eight minutes of action.
The defensive intensity grew even more in the second quarter as the Huskies limited the Sandstoners to just seven points while dropping in a dozen of their own to hold a 10-point lead, 27-17, at the break.
Dunlaveys second trey of the game increased the FA lead to 30-17 midway through the third quarter, but Potsdam wasnt done and deployed a full-court press to cut the deficit back down to nine points, 32-23, forcing Coach Lamay to use a timeout.
The Huskies returned to the court and used a 5-0 spurt which was highlighted by a Connor Dailey 3-pointer, forcing Potsdam Coach Brooks Bigwarfe into another timeout. The two NAC rivals played helter-skelter basketball over the final two and a half minutes of the stanza with the Huskies reclaiming their double-digit lead, 38-26.
FAs defensive pressure didnt subside in the fourth quarter, as the Huskies kept the Sandstoners from reaching double figures for the third straight quarter. Five straight points from Smith pushed the FA lead to 45-30 and a Dunlavey triple put the hosts up by 20 points and sealed the season-opening victory.
Its great to get off to a good start, added the FA coach. We had a good road trip to open the season. This win at home was a real good way to open up league play.
FA had a pair of players reach double figures in scoring, led by Dunlaveys 15 points while Mitchell Gallagher followed with 11 points. Both big men collected nine rebounds as Gallagher and Alex Johnson (2 poitns) rejected a pair of Potsdam shots each. Smith contributed eight points and four steals to the win as Dailey added seven markers including his trey.
Konnor Bigwarfe led Potsdam with 11 points as big man Shawn Clark was limited to just six points, but still managed a pair of breakaway dunks. Owen Mitchell and William Coleman chipped in with six and five points, respectively.
The Huskies play host to OFA on Friday while the Sandstoners will look to bounce back from their season-opening next Monday on the road against Massena.
In other NAC Central boys basketball action from Monday, Canton dropped Salmon River 65-38 and OFA overwhelmed Gouverneur 93-38. West Division matchups saw Edwards-Knox beat Harrisville 57-49, Lisbon handle Clifton-Fine 78-14, Heuvelton drop Hermon-DeKalb 73-55 and Hammond turn back Morristown 42-30.
Canton 65, Salmon River 38: We couldnt buy a bucket in the first half, stated Salmon River Coach Shawn Martin. We a much better second half.
Canton jumped out to a 20-4 lead after the first quarter and never looked back in picking up a 65-38 NAC win in the regular-season opener for both teams.
The Golden Bears increased their lead to 37-10 at the half only to find that the Shamrocks would not give up without a fight and played even with the Canton squad during the second half as both teams scored 28 points over the final 16 minutes.
Josh Hynes led Salmon River (0-1 league, 1-2 overall) with 16 points as Kiio Jacobs followed with 10 points. Hynes and Jacobs both dropped in a 3-pointer for SRC as Dylan Whitehead chipped in with seven points.
Canton had four players reach double figures. Nick Archabald and Brian Wentworth both scored 14 points as Charles Ames and Evan Lapoint added 12 and 10 points, respectively. Wentworth had two 3-pointers as Scott Wight (9 points) tossed in the third Canton bomb.
The Shamrocks return to action on Thursday at Central Division rival Gouverneur.
OFA 93, Gouverneur 38: In Ogdensburg, the Blue Devils raced out to a 31-4 lead by the end of the first quarter en route to notching their third win in four days.
Breton LaRose led OFA with 19 points followed by Matt Piercey with 18, Tyler Knowleton with 11 and Cavan LaRose with 10.
Mark Horne paced Gouverneur with eight points. Troy Games and Dustin Hutton added seven points each in the season opener for the Wildcats.