Tioga County Sports Report
CANDOR — With the Section IV playoffs looming, both Candor and S-VE were looking to finish the IAC South Small School season on a positive note. When all was said and done, the Panthers found just what they needed to pull out a 47-43 victory here Tuesday.
S-VE coach Jeremy Kastenhuber didn't even hesitate when asked to pinpoint the reason behind the victory.
"Defense," he exclaimed. "We work every single day on on-ball defense, defensive rotation and rebounding, and we did the best job we've done against a good team all season long."
"They played good defense. They played great," Candor coach Nate Thomas said. "They're a good team. Their record doesn't show it.
"We knew it was going to be a fight. We knew they were going to give us everything they had, with or without Noah (Mack), because that's how they're coached. That's how their coach would play and that's how it makes them play. We respected that and in the first half we did our work and the second half they did a good job on us.
"They made us miss some shots too. They're physical inside. They were able to get us in not-so-great spots and we didn't have the best opportunity because of what they did on defense."
In his second game back from a knee injury, Mack's presence on the court was definitely noticeable. He scored seven points of S-VE's 15 points in the crucial fourth quarter as the Panthers turned back the Indians.
"Noah's energy is unbelievable. His enthusiasm for the game, his passion, it drives everybody else," Kastenhuber said. "Everybody kind of feeds off him and he's definitely brought us to a different level emotionally. The other guys are really buying into what we're doing and that's what's helping us so much."
"They get Noah back, whose one of the best players in our division, and they're a completely different team," Thomas said. "Whatever their record is, it doesn't show how great they are."
Still, S-VE would have to rally in the second half to earn the victory.
The Panthers would climb out of a seven-point halftime hole to grab a 32-29 lead heading into the fourth quarter. And it looked like they might pull away as James Sutherlin scored from close in and Mack converted a traditional 3-point play for a 37-29 lead just over a minute into the period.
Candor wasn't about to go away quietly. Trailing, 38-31, Alex Doucett drained a long 3-pointer with 6:05 on the clock, then scored a minute later on a feed off a Nick Thomas steal to to tie the score at 38. Brayden Ferris sandwiched a bucket in between to aid the seven-point run.
Sutherlin and Matthew Byrne scored a little over a minute apart to give S-VE a 42-38 lead. Following a Nick Thomas free throw, Mack scored a bucket and not long after added a free throw, pushing the Panther advantage to 45-39 with 1:24 to go.
The Indians would hit key free throws, two by Doucett at 1:16 and two by Daniel Thomas with 44-.6 seconds on the clock, cutting the lead to 45-43.
Sutherlin hit a foul shot with 29.4 seconds to play to make it 46-43, then Byrne blocked a shot at the other end with 16.4 seconds to go.
The ball would go out of bounds, but the Indians failed to make good on a 3-point attempt with six seconds remaining in the game. Marcus Brock hit a free throw with 3.2 seconds left to seal the win.
Neither offense came out on fire at the game's onset. Sutherlin scored all four of S-VE's first-quarter points and Daniel Thomas had four of Candor's six — Ferris had the other two.
Doucett scored five points and Daniel Thomas four in the second period while Ferris and Joel Dougherty had one field goal apiece as the Indians grabbed a 19-12 halftime lead. Sutherlin had three points, Matthew Merrick knocked down a trey and Mack added two points for S-VE.
The Panthers started clicking from downtown in the third quarter, canning five threes during a 20-point outburst. Merrick hit his second and third bombs and tallied nine points. Sutherlin contributed a trey and a field goal, and Byrne and Blaine Whitmarsh added one three apiece.
Meanwhile, the defense held the Indians in check with 10 points — five from Nick Thomas, a trey by Doucett and a bucket by Daniel Thomas.
Sutherlin would pace the Panthers with 17 points, to go with five rebounds and three assists; and Merrick posted 12 points and one block. Mack had nine points and five boards; Byrne added five points, eight boards and a block; Whitmarsh had three points and a block; and Brock had one point.
Doucett led Candor with 15 points and three assists; and Daniel Thomas notched 13 points and five rebounds. Ferris had six points, two blocks and three steals; Nick Thomas added five points, seven boards and three steals; Marcus Rypkema had two points, seven rebounds and a block; Dougherty chipped in with two points; and Kolden Foster pulled down seven boards.
S-VE (9-9) closes out the regular season with an IAC crossover game at Moravia Friday.
Candor ends the regular season with 12-7 record.
IN PHOTO 1: S-VE's Blaine Whitmarsh (L) and candor's Nick Thomas. ... PHOTOS 1-13 COURTESY OF DANIEL SUTHERLIN. ... PHOTOS 14-22 BY TIM TAYLOR.
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