Jack Hearn runs out of the ice cold water during the 4th annual Polar Bear Plunge at Yaman Park in March 2014 to benefit the United Way of Cortland County.[/caption]Tucker O’Donnell made the move to varsity basketball this season and through hard work as found himself in the starting rotation.
A defensive spark, the junior swingman found his offensive scoring touch Wednesday night by scoring 17 points to lead Homer Central to a 52-33 OHSL Freedom National Division basketball victory over Mexico at SUNY Cortland’s Corey Gymnasium. The Trojans improve to 3-1 atop the division, enjoying a one-half game lead over Jamesville-DeWitt, and are 7-3 overall. Homer is also an honorable mention in the latest New York State Class B poll. Mexico falls to 0-4, 3-6 overall.
“It was good to get the production tonight,” O’Donnell said. “My teammates spread the ball very well and we all shared the ball. We just fed the hot guy. Riley (McEvoy) got things going for us. We hit the boards well and we are playing good basketball right now.”
“We really made the change against Marcellus and got Tucker into a starting spot,” Homer coach Sean Malone said. “He is energy defensively, he stays positive the whole game. His offense is slow, but sure. We don’t expect 17 points out of him, but he was in the zone. He found his spot and brought us some life in the third quarter. He is a defensive leader and that has helped his offense and our team’s offense.”
Jacob Rivers got the first two Trojan points in the opening minute before McEvoy helped Homer get off to a quick start with nine of his 12 points in the first quarter. O’Donnell hit a couple of 3-pointers as the Trojans took a 22-4 lead at the end of the quarter with an opening 7-0 run followed by at 15-0 run after the first Mexico point. Homer maintained its edge in the second quarter and enjoyed a 32-11 cushion by halftime.
Mexico made a bit of a room in the third quarter as Homer was a little sluggish coming out of the locker room. Dylan DeLong buried three treys and Dakota Deasy began to heat up. The Tigers cut the Homer lead to 35-26 before O’Donnell hit for three from the top of the key with at the buzzer to end of the third quarter with the Trojans in front by 12 points.
Homer opened the fourth quarter with a 10-2 run to pushed its advantage to 48-28. Casey Hayes hit two free throws to start the run before O’Donnell claimed his fourth 3-pointer of the night. O’Donnell added a free throw, Kyle Hess got a bucket and O’Donnell followed his own miss with an offensive putback for the 20-point lead with 4:48 left in the contest.
Bryant Quinlan and Joey Tummino each had one basket to complete the Trojans scoring. McEvoy finished with 12 points for the Trojans.
DeLong collected 13 points for Mexico. Deasy added 11 points before fouling out with 5:55 left.
Homer will head to Fowler Friday for more OHSL Freedom Division action. JV play begins at 5:30 p.m. with the varsity game to follow at 7 p.m.
HOMER JVs led at halftime only to see Mexico take the charge in the second half and pull away. The Tiger JVs scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to post the 54-41 victory. Homer drops to 2-8 on the season.
The two teams were tied 16-16 after the first quarter as Homer opened up a 28-22 advantage by halftime. Mexico gain some momentum in the third quarter to grab a 33-31 advantage and rolled in the fourth quarter.
Ryan Ernestine scored 23 point to lead the Tigers with the help of seven 3-pointers. Marcus Turo added 13 points.
Nick Barnes paced Homer with 14 points. Malik Redding chipped in with 12 points.