WHITESBORO, NY — The last time the Whitesboro Warriors and the Notre Dame Jugglers met back in December, the Warriors needed every last second to pull out the three-point victory, especially with scoring machines Jaylen Warmack and Treijen Garrett shooting lights-out. In the return match on Friday night, the Warriors were able to throw a monkey wrench into both scoring machines, while their own workhorses shifted into overdrive.
Senior Avery Cook scored 20 points, while classmate Tommy Morreale contributed another 21 in the Warriors’ 81-47 victory over the Jugglers. It was Cook, however, who stole the show for Whitesboro, as his early-and-often rebounds kept the twin scorers of Warmack and Garrett to a combined 18 points. On the other side, senior Derek Lindsay led the Jugglers with 17 points.
“We came out firing tonight,” the St. John’s baseball recruit, Cook said. “Obviously, they’re a much faster team. We wanted to control the game, control the tempo. We just played our own game tonight and came out great.”
“They shot the lights out and played very well defensively,” Notre Dame head coach Ryan Goux said of the team effort by the Warriors. “We haven’t been in the 40s all year. They shot the ball very well, and we couldn’t. They made shots and came out hot.”
At the opening tip, however, the Jugglers looked to gain the upper hand, using their speed against the bigger Whitesboro defense to jump out to a quick 5-0 lead just two minutes into the game. It would be just over two and a half minutes before the baskets began to fall for Whitesboro, on a Tommy Morreale three-point shot. After that shot by the senior, the Warriors came out hot, draining long-range shots from everywhere en route to a 9-0 run to regain the lead, one, as it turned out, they would not relinquish the rest of the way. The main benefactor would be senior Joey Panuccio, who knocked down two of his own to help his Warriors grab a 22-9 lead after just one period. Panuccio would hit another two of the Warriors’ six three-pointers in the quarter to get the first of a season-high 14 points in that quarter.
“We were hitting a lot of threes tonight,” Cook said. “They left Joe and Collin [McAndrew, who had one three-pointer of his own] open, so we just fed them. They took it into their own hands.”
The Jugglers would try to get back on track early in the second, using the inside game of senior Derek Lindsay and the long-range game of Warmack to cut the lead to single digits early in the period. However, Cook and Morreale were not to be outdone on this night, working inside on their own on both sides of the ball to make sure their lead would be maintained.
“We played with a lot of energy. We executed on offense, we executed on defense,” Whitesboro head coach Garrett Herthum said. “Credit to our guys, they worked hard in practice all week. It’s good to limit this team to 47 points when they have so many weapons.”
That defense, led by Cook and Morreale under the basket, limited the Jugglers’ two high scorers to just six points in the second frame. Meanwhile, on the offensive end, the Warriors continued to heat up, with Panuccio and senior Zach Britt grabbed a three-pointer apiece. Cook would contribute four points of his own (the only player with more than one field goal in the period. While the margin was only 18-16 for Whitesboro in the second quarter, it only served to extend their already large lead even further, taking a 40-25 lead into the locker room.
The third quarter was all Cook, as he seemed to be wherever the ball was on both ends of the court. The senior managed to find almost every single rebound, bullying the shorter, more aggressive Jugglers under both ends of the basket. That force allowed him to grab the first six points of the third quarter and eight of a 12-3 run in the first half of the third frame.
“We told our guys this week, we needed to have backcourt balance,” Herthum said. “Don’t give them any open shots, don’t give them any freebies.”
“They’re a big team, they rebound well,” Goux said. “We gave up six to eight points just on rebounds . They just shot well.”
Cook did manage to get a rest late in the third quarter, but with his replacement (senior Lucas Pasquarelli), the Warriors continued to be dominant, this time with what the Jugglers tried to do all game. They used their newfound speed to completely wear out the completely gassed Notre Dame defense, and extended their lead even further, taking a 62-34 lead into the final quarter.
“When they scored, we just wanted to move the ball, not just go for the big three,” Cook said of his team and his dominant third quarter. “Once they started defending the three, a lot of holes opened up for me. I just give the credit to the guys up top.”
The Jugglers lost Warmack for most of the fourth period to what looked like a very scary knee injury, and that certainly did not help the Jugglers. Cook remained in for most of the quarter, continuing to put in a workman’s effort under the basket. He would lead all Whitesboro scorers in the final frame as well, contributing another six points in the fourth. When Cook (as well as the rest of the Warrior starters) came out of the game late to raucous applause from the home side of the gym, the game was well in hand, as the younger players got some much needed experience while the clock ticked toward zero.
With the win, the Warriors knock the Jugglers out of third place in the TVL Colonial division, supplanted by Utica Proctor, whose narrow win over New Hartford puts them a game ahead of Notre Dame. This shake up comes ahead of big games for both teams. The Jugglers will host VVS next Thursday, while Herthum and the Jugglers will face rival New Hartford. All of them, however, are looking up at RFA, who just knocked off Notre Dame on Wednesday and will look to wrap up the Colonial with a win over the Warriors on February 8. If all goes according to plan, the road to the Carrier Dome for either of these teams will go through Rome. However, Herthum is only concerned with one game in particular: next Tuesday’s tilt with New Hartford, and despite the Spartan’s record, he was confident they would come out just as hot as they did on Friday night.
“I told their guys, they would be a tough out in sectionals,” Herthum said of Notre Dame, who are almost a lock to make sectionals, at 10-6. “[But] we always tell our guys, it’s all about the next opponent,” Herthum said. “We can only control our next game, and that’s New Hartford. I know they’ll step up to the challenge.”
For the 14-2 Warriors, there will likely be only one response to that: Challenge Accepted.
Whitesboro Warriors 81, Notre Dame Jugglers 47
Warriors 22 18 22 19 81
Jugglers 9 16 9 13 47
Whitesboro Warriors (81)
Griff Sciortino 1 0-0 3, Joey Panuccio 5 2-0 17, Zach Britt 2 1-2 7, Collin McAndrew 4 3-4 12, Tommy Morreale 9 1-1 21, Lucas Pasquarelli 1 0-0 2, Matt Lee 1 0-0 2, Avery Cook 10 0-0 20. Totals: 33 5-6 81.
Notre Dame Jugglers (47)
Jaylen Warmack 5 1-2 13, Patrick Espinosa 3 0-0 8, Treijen Garrett 2 1-4 5, Derek Lindsay 5 7-7 17, Matt Quinn 1 0-0 2, Kelvin Ofori 1 0-0 2. Totals: 17 9-13 47.
Halftime: Whitesboro 40, Notre Dame 25.
Three-Point Field Goals: Whitesboro 10 (Panuccio 4, Britt 2, Morreale 2, Sciortino, McAndrew), Notre Dame 4 (Warmack 2, Espinosa 2).
Total Fouls: Whitesboro 12, Notre Dame 11
Junior Varsity Score:
Whitesboro 31 27 12 14 84
Notre Dame 12 10 8 5 35