Tioga County Sports Report
SPENCER - It may seem a little like deja vu. For the second consecutive night, Candor set its sights on avenging a lopsided loss to an IAC South Small School opponent.
On Monday it was Newfield and on Tuesday it was S-VE. The division co-leaders, both of which had defeated the Indians by 20-plus points in the first go-round in December, had to beat back a Candor squad determined to make a game of it. Coming off heartbreaking 59-55 loss to the Trojans, the Indians came storming back in the second half against S-VE before the Panthers would prevail, 61-56.
"We played really well in the first half, especially on the defensive end," Kastenhuber said. "Offensively, I thought we lacked a little bit, but we still had a 15-point lead.
"I've got to give hats off to the kids from Candor. They just shot unbelievably well. It wasn't that we weren't trying to stop them. They just shot the ball really, really well and got themselves right back in the game, and pushed us to the limit tonight."
"If we didn't spot them the first half, but again, they did the things they needed to do in the first half," said Candor head coach Nate Thomas. "That's what good teams do. They came out, they scored easy buckets, they got offensive rebounds. We let them be comfortable and they made themselves comfortable, so hats off to them in the first half. The second half, our coaches talked and we're like, listen, we've got to put our guns in the game and we did, and they fought back in the game.
"It was awesome. That's what basketball should be. It should be teams compete for 32 minutes and you never know what's going to happen."
In the beginning, S-VE showed everyone in the gym its talent as Nathan and Noah Mack guided the Panthers to a 15-point halftime bulge. However, Candor wasn't about to go down without a battle, raining down 3-pointers in the third quarter to climb back into the contest.
Alex Doucett knocked down a trio of treys while Daniel Thomas, Shawn Watson and Kolden Foster drained one apiece, as Candor outscored S-VE, 21-11, and suddenly it was only a 5-point difference with one quarter remaining to play.
James Sutherlin opened the fourth with a three 32 seconds in. Following a Nick Thomas free throw, Sutherlin snagged the rebound on the second attempt and hit an open Ben VanGalder, who dished off to Nathan Mack to make it 47-38. Candor countered with another Doucett trey, but a free throw from Nathan Mack and a VanGalder pass to Sutherlin for a bucket pushed the S-VE advantage to 50-41.
With a little over five minutes to go, Watson knocked down a three, but VanGalder responded with key back-to-back field goals, giving the Panthers a 54-44 cushion with 3:49 on the clock. A Daniel Thomas bucket and another Watson trey cut the lead to 54-49 with 2:26 left, but Noah Mack extended it to 56-49 moments later.
Nick Thomas and Sutherlin traded 3-pointers, then a Nick Thomas steal and layup made it 59-54 with 1:03 on the clock. The teams traded field goals in the final minute, then Noah Mack sealed the win when he knocked the ball free with nine seconds remaining and it bounced to Wilson Cooper.
Candor got the ball back with 1.1 seconds left, but there would be no miracle finish.
The Panthers looked like they would run away with the game early Nathan Mack matched the Indians' 7-point output in the first quarter. Traditional field goals by Sutherlin, Cooper and Noah Mack, and a trey from Brian Gillette gave S-VE a16-7 advantage heading into period No. 2.
Noah Mack went 6-for-7 at the free throw line in the second quarter and added a basket while Sutherlin contributed two buckets to build the cushion to 31-16 at the break.
S-VE would place three players in double digits with two of them registering double-doubles. Noah Mack scored a game-high 18 points, and had 13 rebounds and three assists. He was also 5-for-6 at the line. Nathan Mack finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds, and also had four steals and a block.
Sutherlin put up 16 points, accounting for two of the Panthers' four treys, and grabbed four steals. VanGalder had six points and eight boards, Cooper had four points and a block, and Gillette added three points.
"I thought it was a great balanced effort," Kastenhuber said. "James hit some big shots. Noah hit some big shots. Nate.
"Ben VanGalder was great down the stretch in the fourth quarter. He made some huge plays, tipping the ball out, making some good passes. He has a really high basketball IQ, so he's good to have out there in those situations where it's really tense. He keeps things calm."
Doucett led Candor with 12 points, all on 3-pointers, and handed out three assists. Nick Thomas contributed 11 points and dished out four assists. Watson and Foster scored nine points apiece with all of Watson's points coming from beyond the arc. Watson added four assists and Foster blocked two shots.
Daniel Thomas chipped in with seven points, making two threes, and had five steals. Caleb Vaow, Brandon Hoyt, Kevin Cotton and Brayden Ferris added two points each, and Vaow also had three steals.
S-VE will host IAC North Small School champ Moravia Friday in a duel of 14-2 teams. Candor (9-11) has completed the regular season.
IN PHOTO 1: S-VE's Noah Mack (13) and Candor's Alex Doucett. ... PHOTOS 1-16 COURTESY OF DANIEL SUTHERLIN. PHOTOS 17-24 BY TIM TAYLOR.