ORISKANY, NY – In what has become a budding rivalry in Central New York, the anticipation for a game between New York Mills and Oriskany is almost too much to take.
Just ask Redskins senior Ricky Phelps, who, despite having games in New Hartford over the past weekend, was still pumped up for the Marauders on Tuesday.
“The days when you play New York Mills seem to crawl by,” Phelps said. “so when the day comes, you’re ready.”
Phelps was certainly ready for the Marauders at Keith Davis Gymnasium on Tuesday. However, the Marauders were slightly less ready for him. The senior came three assists shy of a triple-double on the night, picking up seven of them along with 28 points and ten rebounds as Oriskany pounded New York Mills, 79-49. With the win, the Redskins move to 3-0 on the young 2017-18 season.
“I thought we came out the way we needed to tonight. We were looking forward to this…we wanted to make a statement.” Oriskany head coach Chris Mahoney said. “We didn’t come out the way we needed to in the second half, but you have to remember that these are 16, 17 year old kids. We’ll work on it.”
Indeed, the Redskins did get off to the start they needed and wanted against their cross-town rival, going on a 14-0 run to start the game. In that time, the Marauders went over six and a half minutes without a basket, helped along by the performance by Oriskany on offensive and defensive rebounds. The much taller Redskins overpowered the Maruaders on both backboards, grabbing 48 rebounds and turning most of them into points.
“We want to defend, run, rebound, and execute,” Mahoney said. “Some of the guys didn’t have the performance they wanted, but our bench stepped up for us.”
Luckily for New York Mills, the Marauders were able to pull back in the late stages of the first quarter. Helped along by key three-pointers by senior Nick Briggs-Ellenberger and junior Alex Matrassi, the Marauders were able to pare the lead down to less than ten. New York Mills was able to outscore the Redskins 11-8 to end the quarter. Unfortunately, that only managed to cut the lead down to 22-11 at the buzzer.
“We played terrible tonight,” New York Mills head coach Mike Meyers said. “We weren’t focused…we settled for too many long shots [and] we tried to play catch-up the whole game. If we don’t pick up our intensity, it’ll be a long year.”
Unfortunately, the 11-point lead seemed to dampen the spirits on the Marauders’ bench to start the second quarter. The Redskins, on the other hand, opted for more of the same. This time, they came out on a 6-0 run, garnered on three-point shots from the Warcup brothers: senior Mycal and junior Aaron both put up one to bring the lead to almost 20 just a minute into the second quarter.
On the other side, the Marauders could not get anything going, trying to rely on the three-pointer just as much as the Redskins to try to close the gap. Unlike Oriskany, however, New York Mills’ shots fell painfully short, and the taller, more physical Redskins (none of their starters were listed under six feet, while starter Aaron Warcup is the tallest at 6’4”) were able to take advantage, using their speed to open up an even bigger lead. By the time the buzzer sounded to close the first half, Oriskany had bounded out to a 44-18 lead, and from there, they never looked back.
“Last year, they beat us on our home court,” Phelps said. “That wasn’t an option tonight. We came out and we picked them apart.”
When the two teams came out to start the third quarter, however, the Redskins may have put the game on cruise control a little early, as the Marauders began to chip away ever so slightly on the lead. Led by senior guard Justin Ellsworth, New York Mills was able to take advantage of several fast breaks and three-point plays the hard way to bring the lead under 20. Ellsworth was the main cog of the Marauders third-quarter run, scoring 13 of his 24 points on the night on the run and 13 of his team’s 20 points in the quarter.
“You have to give [Ellsworth] a lot of credit,” Phelps said. “He worked hard tonight.”
Unfortunately, the Ellsworth run, while keeping New York Mills in the game, was short lived. Junior Carl Graziadei took the wind out of the Marauders’ sails with a three-point shot at the buzzer brought the lead back to over 20.
“I was happy with our start,” Mahoney said, “but I wasn’t happy with our frame of mind [in the third quarter. That’s good, we need things to work on. We always want to get better…it’s December. We want to keep it going into February and March.”
In the fourth quarter, Oriskany returned to March form, almost completely shutting down Ellsworth and helping Phelps pad his stats. That helped Mahoney get a look at that vaunted bench, which helped put the game away with a late run that all but put the game in the win column for the Redskins. In all, all but one player scored at least one point for Oriskany on the night, and all but two had field goals as well.
“Moving forward, our bench is going to create a lot of competition for our starters,:” Mahoney said. “Our bench really stepped it up tonight.”
Meyers was a little bit more pessimistic about his Marauders, who started off their 2017-18 season on a rather sour note.
“When they’re playing with a 20-point cushion, they might have let their guard down a bit, but we had no answer tonight,” Meyers said. “All 13 of us, players and coaches, need to work harder. Our effort has to be better…every facet of the game, we got outplayed and outmatched. We just have to forget about this and move on to our game on Friday [against Morrisville-Eaton].”
“Tonight was a building block for us,” Phelps said of his and his team’s performance on Tuesday. “We showed what we could do tonight.”
Oriskany Redskins 79, New York Mills Marauders 49
Redskins 22 22 17 17 79
Marauders 11 7 20 11 49
Oriskany Redskins (79)
Colton Davis 1 0-0 2, Matt Enos 1 0-0 3, Carl Graziadei 2 0-0 5, Christion Hines 3 1-1 7, Devon Lacy 1 0-0 2, Ricky Phelps 10 3-5 28, Cal Pianka 2 0-0 5, Brandon Reid 0 1-3 1, Aaron Warcup 4 0-0 9, Mykal Warcup 2 2-4 7, Donovan Williams 5 0-0 10. Totals: 31 7-13 79.
New York Mills Marauders (49)
Justin Ellsworth 7 10-15 24, Mark Rybka 1 0-0 2, Nick Briggs-Ellenberger 3 0-1 8, Logan Copperwheat 0 2-2 2, Alex Matrassi 3 0-0 8, Dante DiOrio 1 1-2 3, Derek Baur 1 0-0 2. Totals: 16 13-20 49.
Three-point Field Goals: Oriskany 10 (Phelps 5, Enos, Graziadei, Pianka, A. Warcup, M. Warcup), New York Mills 4 (Briggs-Ellenberger 2, Matrassi 2).
Halftime: Oriskany 44, New York Mills 18.
Junior Varsity: Oriskany 64, New York Mills 28.