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SECTION IV UNIFIED BASKETBALL: OWEGO RECLAIMS TITLE (2024-06-05)

Tioga County Sports Report
OWEGO — The Owego Unified basketball team won its second Section IV Division I championship in three years Wednesday, pulling away from Norwich for a 58-40 victory.

Paige Ellis and Damien Allen combined on a 10-2 surge which turned a two-point lead at the end of the first quarter into a 22-12 advantage midway through the second quarter.

Following the mandatory substitutions, and with an 8-point lead, Ethan Kilmer and Trevor Decker combined on another 10-2 River Hawk run to give the home team a 32-16 cushion at halftime.

Allen connected for two baskets, and Sydney Shoen added another to make it 38-20 in the first few minutes of the third period.

Following substitutions, Zeke Hart scored and Thomas Spencer tacked on two more buckets for the Purple Tornado, while Owego’s Skylar Cornett had one, making it a 40-26 contest.

Cornett would score again, followed by Mtthew Recu to push the River Hawks' lead to 44-26 late in the quarter.

With time winding down in the third, Norwich wasn’t done attempting to rally. Seth Gessling brought a cheer from the fans with a reverse layup, then nailed another shot with 1.7 seconds on the clock to make it 44-30 heading into the final eight minutes of action.

Ellis scored Owego’s first three baskets of the quarter to give her team a 50-34 advantage heading into the final three minutes of play and secure the victory.

The show was just beginning, however, as Ayden Mott and Decker knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers to push the Owego lead to 56-34.

The Tornado’s Ryan Smith came back with a three of his own, then Ethan Kilmer scored the River Hawks’ final basket of the game.

With time still remaining on the clock, Smith, who also provided some line dancing thrills at intermission, wowed the crowd with a half-court trey to close out the scoring.

Owego completed the season with a 6-1 record. The River Hawks were champions in 2022 and finished as the runners-up in 2023.

Team members include Olivia Crapser, Sydney Shoen, Lexi Gunther, Ashlyn Dalton, Paige Ellis, Paige Ellis, Cadia Fain, Bobby Struble, Ethan Kilmer, Matthew Recu, Adam Arhbal, Skylar Cornett, Stephen Gilmore, Kylie Grippen, Chase Harman, Matthew Samuelson, Ryan Barnes, Matthew Springsteen, Jaydin Brainard-Tracy, Damien Allen, Zach Bensley, Ayden Mott, Trevor Decker and Graysen “Coach G” Ripic. The head coach is Perry Silvestri and the assistant coach is Lindsay Field.

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PHOTOS BY TIM TAYLOR.

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