WILLIAMSTOWN, MA -- The Ephs (1-0) beat Southern Vermont College (2-1) 97-65 in their season opener today to advance to the championship of the Williams Invitational.
Southern Vermont was the first on the board when Deshawn Hamlet scored a layup in the opening minutes. James Klemm responded with a 3-pointer at the 18:08 mark. Brian Emerson added another three before Klemm hit his second of the game just under 30 seconds later. Klemm shot 4-9 from behind the arc in the game. The three 3's were the beginning of a 15-4 run for the Ephs. Aggressive on the offensive end, the Eph played well defensively as well. Hayden Rooke-Ley, Harlan Dodson, and Nate Robertson all took charges for the Ephs in the first half. Going into the locker room, the Ephs led 48-23.
The Ephs stayed aggressive in the second half. After Emerson opened the half with another three, the Ephs stayed on the offensive throughout the half. Perhaps the highlight for Eph fans was an alley-oop from Klemm to Troy Whittington that ended in a beautiful dunk. Whittington kept the crowd on its feet with two more dunks in the half.
The Mountaineers were led by Derrick Cenciola, who was a presence on both the offensive and defensive ends. His greatest offensive play was sinking a three while falling down. Unfortunately for the Mountaineers, he fouled out. He was tied for the Mountaineers' leading scorer with 14 points; Hamlet, who also fouled out, and Lance Spatling, who quickly took over once Cenciola left, also had 14 points. Ben Naakteborgen led the Mountaineers with 8 rebounds.
For the Ephs, Whittington led the way with 19 points. He also shared the lead in rebounds with nine with Emerson. Emerson added 15 points of his own, and James Wang and Klemm were the other two Ephs in double figures with 14 and 12 points respectively. The Ephs shots 43.6% from the field and 30.6% from beyond the arc. The Ephs hit 13 threes in the game. Said Coach Mike Maker afterwards, "A three is worth more than a two is our philosophy. We like to stretch the defense. Having Troy on the inside [is a weapon for us] because he draws a lot of attention because he is such a great player. [The attention] opens up shots for other guys." All thirteen players played for the Ephs this evening.
Freshmen Rooke-Ley and John Weinheimer both had breakout games in their collegiate debuts. Rooke-Ley went 6-for-8 from the line to finish with six points. Weinheimer added nine points of his own and got the crowd chanting, "He's a freshman" multiple times. Freshman Michael Mayer added three points, and Taylor Epley also played well for the freshman class. Said Coach Maker about his freshmen after the game, "I think [the freshmen] are a talented class. We're going to need them throughout the season. We saw glimpses tonight. They will only get better throughout the season."
Said Coach Maker after the game, "It always feels good to start the season with a victory. I'm most pleased with how hard we played. Everyone made a meaningful contribution. All 13 players played; we have a lot of depth [even though] we are short in numbers. We'll need everyone [throughout the season]."
The Ephs will take on Regis (2-0) in the championship tomorrow at 4:00. Regis played SUNY-Cobleskill (2-1) in the first game. SUNY-Cobleskill will play Southern Vermont in the consolation game at 2:00. Below are more details regarding tonight's first game.
Regis won a nail-biter in the final 13 seconds of the game to come away with the win over SUNY-Cobleskill. Although Regis was leading most of the game, they went down late only to rebound with clutch baskets.
Tarik Payton led the way for Cobleskill in the first half. He had eight points in the half including the team's first six. After Regis went up 4-0 early, he responded with four points of his own. To top off his 6-0 spree, he sunk two free throws with just under 13:00 to play. In the first half for Regis, Derrick Neal and Phil Alibrandi each had seven points. Neal went to the free throw line three times; he shot 3-for-6. Regis led 24-17 at the half.
To start the second half, Cobleskill went on a 7-1 run to pull within one point of Regis. To top off the run, Carl Thomas was fouled; his basket was good and he made the foul shot. He then forced a 5-second call in the defensive end. The momentum changed after Alibrandi took a charge with just over 16:00 to play. The play led to Regis's first basket of the half by Ryan Chambers. Regis had the lead when Jack Jeffres swooshed a three from the right corner for Cobleskill to make it a tie game with 10 minutes to play. The game went back-and-forth, but Cobleskill had the lead going into the final minute. Regis was able to force a shot clock violation to get the ball back with 53.7 seconds to play. Neal was the hero for Regis after he swooshed a shot form the elbow with 13 seconds to play. The final score was 47-46.
Cobleskill shot 31.5% on the game; Regis shot 43.2%. Tarik Payton led the way for Cobleskill with 12 points; Alibrandi led with 15 for Regis. Alibrandi also led with 9 rebounds for Regis. Carl Thomas and Taiquan Newkirk each had six rebounds for Cobleskill. Darrin Kelly had three assists for Regis, and Tyrone Mitchell had 3 for Cobleskill.