WHITESBORO, NY– It’s certainly an interesting experience when Proctor and Whitesboro meet, no matter what the sport may be. Both student bodies will come out in full force, and more often than not will leave with sore throats and headaches, but will be loud and rowdy right up until the clock hits zero.
You would think this would rattle most sophomores, who haven’t had much varsity experience, if any at all. However, Whitesboro’s Tommy Morreale isn’t most sophomores. Morreale, who actually has varsity experience (he was called up from the junior varsity just before sectionals last year) poured 29 points on Tuesday, 12 of them in the fourth quarter, as Whitesboro took a seesaw battle from the Raiders, winning 59-51.
For Morreale, the noise, which became especially loud during the final frame, was no trouble and his method for blocking it out was easy. “It’s all about being emotionless and keeping your poise,” Morreale said.
From the opening tip, however, it seemed like neither team had much poise. The ball flitted back and forth for most of the first few minutes of the game, but neither team could gain an advantage, as before Proctor’s Todd Manolescu’s tip-in less than four minutes into the game, the Raiders had held a slim 1-0 advantage. The Warriors took even longer, as Rashad Alfahad would get Whitesboro’s first points with over four and a half minutes off the clock. As a matter of fact, Alfahad would be the only scorer for the Warriors in the first seven minutes of the game.
However, the two teams would trade the lead back and forth for most of the rest of the first quarter. The Warriors would pull the lead out to four before the end of the first quarter, but just before the buzzer, junior Anthony Giglio would hit a buzzer-beating three-pointer to cut the lead to one.
The second quarter would start much like the first quarter did: with a three-pointer, this time by sophomore Jahari Brown to put the Raiders up by two. From there Proctor continued its torrid pace, while Whitesboro began to slow down and play more methodically. However, neither team could get the lead to bigger than three, as it was a back-and-forth battle for most of the half. In all, nine players would get on the score sheet in the second frame, but Proctor would earn the halftime advantage, as another buzzer-beater would give the Raiders a 24-22 advantage heading into the locker room.
For Whitesboro head coach Garrett Herthum, however, not only did the score at halftime not worry him, but he was not at all fazed by the close play in the first half. “The score was the way we needed it to be in order to compete overall,” Herthum said. “That’s what we preach…they’re going to go on a run, we’re going to go on a run.”
Coming out of the locker room, the Warriors got their run going. Taking advantage of the Proctor shooters going stone cold (the Raiders went scoreless for the first two minutes of the second half), the Warriors went on a 7-2 run to regain the lead. However, once the Raiders got hot, they would go on a little run of their own, putting together their own 9-2 run to regain the lead for themselves.
However, Alfahad would score four straight points to give the Warriors the lead at the end of the quarter. Nevertheless, when the two teams broke from their huddles, little did they know the best was yet to come.
When the fourth quarter started, the spotlight shone on Morreale, and he did not disappoint. For the first three minutes of the quarter, the sophomore was the only scorer for Whitesboro. From there, the two teams would take very different roads to the victory: the Warriors would try to win it from the free-throw line, while the Raiders would use the three-pointer.
For a while, it worked for both teams. Most of Proctor’s 15 points in the quarter would come from long-range, as senior Orion Anyango would put in three long-range shots by himself to keep the Raiders in it.
Despite that, Whitesboro’s methodical play had finally worn out the Proctor defense, who were forced to foul and make the Warriors win from the free-throw line. Again, Morreale stepped up for Whitesboro, knocking down eight of the nine he had to take. As a matter of fact, no other player, Raider or Warrior had any more than two all game, while Morreale made all but two of his 13 free throws on the night. That would prove to be the difference for the Warriors, as Proctor (1-1, 0-1 TVL Colonial) found themselves going cold from long range near the end to seal the victory for Whitesboro (2-0, 1-0 TVL Colonial).
For Proctor head coach Mark Joseph, the fast play of the Raiders seemed to hurt them near the end, but he was optimistic. “It just seemed like we couldn’t get into a rhythm,” Joseph said. “[But] we’re young…we’re going to have games like this. Credit to Whitesboro…they played great offensively.”
As for Morreale, the Raiders head coach summed up his night succinctly. “He had an outstanding evening,” Joseph said.
Herthum did not mince words about his sophomore, who is playing his first full season on the varsity after being called up last season.
“Morreale played big for us…he plays under control, he plays with poise,” Herthum said. “If anyone is on the varsity, there’s a reason, and that’s the reason why he’s here.”
For Morreale, it was a little bit simpler than that. “It’s a good feeling to play against a team like that,” the sophomore said. “It was a huge win; we played as a team and we worked our tails off tonight.”
It doesn’t get any easier for the Warriors or Morreale, as on Friday, they will travel to Rome to face RFA and their own incredibly loud student section. However, Morreale wasn’t worried. “It’s all about being determined and working hard in practice to get the win on Friday,” Morreale said of Friday night’s game.
That shouldn’t be a problem for Whitesboro. They, as well as their student section, always travel well.
Whitesboro Warriors 59, Proctor Raiders 51
Warriors 11 11 15 22 59
Raiders 10 14 12 15 51
Whitesboro Warriors (59): Rashad Alfahad 4 1-2 9, Josh Harvey 1 2-2 4, Cameron Hunter 3 0-0 6, Tommy Morreale 8 11-13 29, Joe Panuccio 2 0-0 5, Noah Britt 2 2-2 6. Total 20 16-21 59.
Proctor Raiders (51): Anthony Giglio 2 0-0 6, Jacob Phoeurng 1 0-1 3, Jahari Brown 2 0-0 5, Jahzae Simpson 0 1-2 1, Ma’khi Mitchell 0 1-2 1, Todd Manolescu 1 0-0 2, Asa Beyah 1 0-0 2, Lual Lual 1 1-2 3, Landon Johnson 3 1-2 7, Kerim Gedelj 5 1-2 11, John Boyd 3 1-2 10. Total 19 6-13 51.
Three-point field goals: Proctor 7 (Boyd 3, Giglio 2, Phoeurng, Brown), Whitesboro 3 (Morreale 2, Panuccio).
Halftime: Proctor 24, Whitesboro 22.
JV Score: Proctor 66, Whitesboro 27.
Records: Whitesboro: 2-0, 1-0 TVL Colonial. Proctor: 2-1, 0-1 TVL Colonial.