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OFA explodes away from Canton to finals

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The transition from the regular season to the postseason was not totally seamless but did produce a similar scenario as OFA’s NAC Central Division Championship basketball team used a 38-point third quarter as the launching point to a 85-36 Section 10 Class B semi-final win over Canton on Wednesday night.

Junior Kinnon LaRose tallied 14 of his game-high 24 points in the third quarter where Devils raced away from a 34-13 halftime lead and seniors Matt Piercey and Colin Ross followed with 21 and nine points in the final home games of their stellar careers.

“I have to credit Canton because they played very hard and were able to control the tempo in the first half. But we stepped it up and had an outstanding third quarter. We played great defense and took care of the ball much better than we did in the first half,” said OFA Coach Mark Henry after the 18-1 Devils extended an 18-game winning streak into Saturday’s 4:30 p.m. Section 10 Class B Championship game at SUNY Canton against Potsdam which advanced past Salmon River 61-53.

“Kinnon LaRose did a great job scoring down low and we had guys come off the bench and play well. Al Fisher did some nice things in the post. But moving on we have to work on our rebounding.”

LaRose went 5-6 from the free throw line and delivered four steals and four assists in victory where Piercey, who scored nine points in the first quarter and eight in the third, buried three threes with five assists and five steals and Ross grabbed six rebounds.

Jack Manke tallied seven points, Al Fisher (2 points) grabbed five rebounds and blocked three shots, Jon Rogers led the reserve scoring with six points, and Seth Pinkerton tallied five points.

“We played very hard but OFA is just a talented team which works hard and is unselfish. They have all the components,” said Canton Coach Bill Porter.

“We tried to go zone twice just to change things up and each time they buried a three from the corner.”

Rounding the OFA scoring were: DaKota Brady (4), Tristan Moore (2), Mitchel Barber (1), Conor Hannan (2) and Ryan Adams (2). Evan LaPoint capped an outstanding senior season in the post for the Bears (9-11) scoring 13 points, Dane Ames netted six and Francesco Palumbo, Eugene Hitchman and Scott Wight each added four. Loudon Porter and Tyler Trathan chipped in three and two.

NAC AWARDS: Before the game OFA received its NAC Central banner and the OFA JVs received their banner for sharing the division title with Massena. OFA’s Conor Hannan and Canton’s Francesco Palumbo received their team’s NAC Sportsmanship Awards and the NAC All-Academic Award recipients for both teams were also recognized. OFA’s recipients were: DaKota Brady, Al Fisher, Conor Hannan, Kinnon LaRose, Jack Manke, Tristan Moore, Seth Pinkerton, Jon Rogers, Colin Ross and Justin Ross. Cited for Canton were: Ryan Caldwell, Evan LaPoint, Francesco Palumbo, Tyler Trathan, Bailey White-Taylor and Scott Wight.

Potsdam 61 - Salmon River 53: “We played good defense, anytime you can hold a team to 15 points in the first half, it is a good effort,” said Potsdam Coach Brooks Bigwarfe.

The Sandstoners jumped in front 10-0 as Nick Vacarro netted a pair of 3-pointers and then used their defense to open a 24-16 lead at the half after SR pulled within two at 12-10 at the end of the first quarter. The Shamrocks could not close the gap lower than six points in the second half.

Vaccaro and Daquan Pitts led the Sandstoners with 15 points apiece and Jake Mitchell followed with 13 points.

Domino and Nick Hynes paced the Shamrocks with 17 points apiece and Josh Hynes added 11 points to the season-ending effort.

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