By TIM IRVING
Basketball is a game of runs. Thursday night, Penfield and Webster Thomas put that on display.
The Titans made the last run, holding the Patriots scoreless for the final 2:18 of the game to win 55-52 and lock up their first Monroe County Divisional title since 2007.
Thomas also had the first run of the game, Jackson Kulik hit a pair of three-pointers ad the Titans opened an 11-6 lead. Back came Penfield on three-pointers from Brady Schroeder and Aiden Cook to tie the game at 13.
The Titans held for the last shot in the corner and made it count, Ty Williams throwing the alley oop to Kulik and a 15-13 lead.
Williams went end-to-end early in the second and made it a 7-0 run for the Titans before the Patriots took over again. Andrew Faillace ran off four straight points as Penfield went from seven points down to leading by as many as five, taking a 27-24 lead to the break.
“At times, we have a tendency to float around the perimeter instead of attacking with penetration and that’s the reminder at halftime, we have to get to the rim,” Titans coach Griffin Coles said after the game.
Shawn Mason hit a three-pointer to tie the game early in the third and the game tightened up until Matt Karpen came off the bench for the Patriots and went on a personal 6-0 run. R.J. Wilkins drained a long three-pointer and Penfield led 44-38 heading to the fourth.
The Titans closed to within one twice in the fourth quarter but Wilkins wouldn’t give the lead up, following his own shot with 2:18 left for a 52-47 lead.
After a time out, Kulik scored on a lay-up and a two-shot technical foul was called on Patriots. Kulik converted both shots cutting the lead to 52-51.
After a turnover, Thomas called two timeouts and set up a play and although it broke down, Williams stuck a fade away jumper from the baseline with under a minute to play, giving the Titans their first lead since the middle of the third quarter, 53-52.
“We had a set play, they (Penfield) were in their zone and overloaded towards Jackson and Tyler improvised, “ Coles said.
The Thomas man-to-man stepped up and out on Wilkins and prevented the tying three-pointer.
“That was our focus tonight, get stops, play physical. They are a great cutting team, they move very well without the ball,” Coles said of the Patriots.
The victory earned the Titans (9-1) the Monroe County Division 2 title. They’ll either be the second or third seed in Class A1 when the brackets come out on Sunday.
Coles says, “This should give us some confidence going into Sectionals but I tell my teams every single year, everybody’s got the same record when Sectionals start.”
Andrew Faillace (5), Caden Harrington (2), RJ Wilkins (16), Ty Salmon (4), Matt Karpen (8), Brady Schroeder (7), Aiden Cook (10).
Andrew Quinn (8), Shawn Mason (11), Eli Adams (2), Will Richardson (1), Tyler Williams (12), Jackson Kulik (21).