Fittingly Friday night’s game between the visiting Panthers of Hoosick Falls, and their hosts, the Warriors of Stillwater, needed an extra session to determine it’s outcome. The two squads needed every second of regulation and a four minute overtime, and when the final horn sounded Hoosick Falls came away with the well-earned 59-57 victory, handing the Warriors their first league loss of the season.
Most, in the nice crowd on hand anticipated a close contest and the two teams didn’t disappoint, with five ties and 11 lead changes throughout the 36 minutes of action.
Stillwater started quickly with a trio of inside scores, and a pair of triples, one each from Jared D’Aloia, and Nate Thrane, the second coming at the 3:50 mark giving the Warriors a 12-6 lead.
An Alex Mendex three, his second of the quarter, and four points from Kellen Skott trimmed the lead to 14-13, before a Mitchel Wayand 3-ball for Stillwater ended the period staking the Warriors to a 17-13 advantage.
Six quick points from Mendez on a three from the top, and a steal, score, and one gave the Falls the 19-17 lead 90 seconds into the second stanza.
The Warriors answered with seven straight on a pair of Zack Travis scores, and a Wayand floater and one to give the lead back to Stillwater at 24-19 midway through the quarter.
The Falls closed the quarter on an 8-5 spurt, using a Mendez triple, an old fashion three by McCart, and a Remington Hickey deuce to trim the cushion to 29-27 at the half.
The Panthers out scored Stillwater 18-10 in the third behind six points from Skott, and five points from both Hickey and McCart, to take the 45-39 lead heading to the final period.
Stillwater scored the first five points of the quarter the last coming on a Jayme Benoit free throw at the 3:25 mark pulling the Warriors to within one at 45-44.
A Skott free throw with 1:51 left pushed the Falls lead to 48-44, but a Wayand bomb coming off a Stillwater timeout made it 48-47 with :54 remaining.
After a Mendez free throw with :29 left gave the Panthers a two point cushion at 49-47, D’Aloia came off a screen on the right elbow and buried a jumper with :08 to go, sending this one to overtime.
Five Wayand free throws, sandwiched around a Mendez 3-ball put Stillwater in front 54-52 with 2:23 left in the extra session.
McCart tied things at 54 on an inside bucket off a nice find from Hickey, and with :30 left Mendez found Skott on the backside for a lay-in and the 56-54 Falls lead.
Mendez hit two clutch free throws with :14 remaining, but Stillwater refused to go away as D’Aloia bottomed a deep triple from the top with :08 left cutting it to 58-57 and a Stillwater timeout.
Mendez was fouled on the inbounds and sank one of two from the line giving the Warriors one last chance, but a D’Aloia three was off the mark, and the Falls walked off with the hard fought “W”.
The Panthers saw only four players score on the night, but Mendez with 24, Skott 13, Hickey 12 and McCart with 10 was just enough to get it done for Hoosick Falls, who with the win move to 9-2 in league play trailing Stillwater by a single game.
For the Warriors, Wayand with 19 points, Travis and D’Aloia with 13 each led the 10-1 Stillwater squad who despite the loss remain atop the Wasaren standings with three games left to play.