Pittsford Sutherland holds off late Brockport rally

Owen Flisnik (Pittsford Sutherland) and Esten Schalge (Brockport) battle for a rebound. (PHOTO: JOHN LIKANJE)

By JOHN LIKANJE

PITTSFORD, N.Y. – Ben DiGiovanni scored seven of his 13 points in the fourth quarter as the Pittsford Sutherland Knights held off the Brockport Blue Devils, 63-53, for their third win to open the season.

The senior guard knocked down four free throws in the last 26 seconds to secure the victory after the Blue Devils went on an 8-0 run to make the score 59-53 with just over a minute remaining.

“Just like practice,” DiGiovanni said on hitting the game-clinching foul shots. “We’re on this court every day, so just hit them right there. My teammates have my back always. Just got to hit it for them and finish the game.”

Six players scored during a 17-2 run spanning the third and fourth quarters for a commanding 51-33 advantage with 5:47 left in the contest.

“All the young guys made some big plays and being able to get us up 18 with four, five minutes left,” Knights head coach John Nally said. “We kind of needed that cushion.”

Jalyn Moorehead swished a free throw line jumper while Garrett Glanton and Will Klenk finished a layup apiece to add to the lead.

“We were just reversing the ball and playing off each other,” DiGiovanni explained. “We were getting too much isolation. Once we played together and started getting stops on the defensive end, we were getting out in transition and just able to keep going.”

DiGiovanni and Moorehead both connected from long range. DiGiovanni and Patrick Smelt capped off the run with a layup apiece.

“We had held them to about seven points in the half until pretty late into the fourth quarter,” Nally stated as his squad forced nine missed field goals and six turnovers during the run. “Mostly, I thought everything we did predicated on really good defense.”

“Guys were working hard. Staying in their stance. They were talking. I thought we communicated really well in the second half. We were able to switch some of the screen action, keep them out of the lane and just get good, solid contest to make them miss shots.”

DiGiovanni grabbed eight boards and made 6-of-10 foul shots.

“We were just controlling the tempo,” the senior guard said. “They were getting up, so we just had to slow it down. Play our game and we were just able to execute and run our plays right.”

Glanton knocked down a pair of three-pointers en route to 10 points. Moorehead and Smelt scored nine points apiece. Smelt connected from long range twice and Moorehead once. Owen Flisnik netted seven points and hauled down seven rebounds.

Klenk and Jake Priesser had six points each. Priesser collected four boards as well. Drew Kull (3) rounded out the scoring.

“We had some really good minutes from some young guys early on,” Nally said as eight players scored for the Knights. “Second and third quarter, we had some guys step up.”

For Brockport, Samuel Velletri produced all 18 of his points in the first and fourth quarters – nine in each stanza. The senior forward collected three rebounds, three steals and two assists as well.

Esten Schalge scored 10 of his 12 points through the first 16 minutes of game action. The senior guard corralled six boards and handed out three assists. Shamar Lee netted all 10 of his points in the second half, including eight in the fourth quarter.

Troy Leibert scored eight points and hauled down eight rebounds. Ryan Judd (3) and Owen Gardner (2) rounded out the scoring for the Blue Devils.

Pittsford Sutherland travels to Batavia next Wednesday and Brockport hosts Spencerport next Tuesday. Both games are scheduled to tip off at 7:15 p.m.

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