November 29, 2021

OHSL Boys Basketball: Trojans conquer jitters, Falcons with 48-33 win

Bob Ellis/staff photographer

Riley McEvoy, left, and Kyle Hess of Homer land atop Nathan Latocha of Fabius-Pompey as they dive for a loose ball which sits underneath Latocha Thursday at SUNY Cortland.

It was a sluggish start to the basketball season for the Homer Central boys, but the Trojans got the job down to earn a non-league victory.

Jacob Rivers scored 12 points and Kyle Hess added 11 points as the Trojans downed Fabius-Pompey 48-33 at SUNY Cortland’s Corey Gymnasium Thursday night.

While it was the season opener for Homer, the visiting Falcons drop to 0-2 on the season.

“We had some first game jitters,” senior guard Rivers said. “It happens to everybody, but we got through it. We are a bigger team and we are a talented team. It’s going to be a good year.”
“It was a win,” Homer coach Sean Malone said. “It wasn’t a great positive start, but we’ll improve. We’ll get better. We may have overlooked them a little because they are a Class C-D school and they lost by their first game by 31 points.

“We really didn’t execute,” he continued. “We’re not a great team against a zone defense. We were able to separate ourselves when they went to man-to-man defense. We started to make some shots then.”

The teams trades baskets in the first quarter as Fabius-Pompey enjoyed a slight 12-11 advantage, the Trojan defense limited the Falcons to five points in the second quarter. Fabius-Pompey scored the last five points of the half after Homer opened the quarter with a 9-0 run.

Alex Recor came off the bench and drained a 3-pointer off a pass from Riley McEvoy to put the Trojans up 14-11. Hess scored on a lay-up while being fouled. The junior swingman completed the play with a free throw. Casey Hayes dropped in a shot while Recor and Justin Wainwright each added a free throw that gave Homer a 20-13 lead with 3:21 left in the half.

The Trojans were scoreless the rest of the half.

Meanwhile, Falcons guard Adrian Vilardi snapped his team’s nearly six minute scoreless drought with a fast-break lay-up and free throw as he was fouled on that play with 2:05 left. Vilardi drove the lane again with 1:13 to go to make the halftime score 20-17 in favor of Homer.
Vilardi finished with a game-high 21 points.

The Trojans used its height advantage in the third quarter to increase their lead. Bryant Quinlan got the Trojans started with on offensive tip-in. Hess got off a jumper in the paint before he later added an offensive put-back. Rivers added a jumper and McEvoy buried a 3-pointer as the lead grew to 31-20.

Fabius-Pompey tried to make a run in the fourth quarter as Vilardi completed a three-point play on a drive to the basket and he scored a lay-up off a steal to pull the Falcons to within 34-27.

McEvoy stopped the mini-run with a driving lay-up and Rivers knocked down a jumper to put Homer back on top 38-27 with 4:37 left in the game. The Trojans held a 10-6 edge to close out the game.

“It was nice to play here,” Fabius-Pompey coach Matt Rohde said of his guys being on the Corey Gym college floor, this also a homecoming of sorts for the Cortland High graduate.

“Unfortunately, it is better for us to play on a smaller court because of our limited numbers. We just don’t have a lot of depth. We are really young and don’t have a lot of experience,” added Rohde.

The level of competition will pick up for Homer Tuesday. The Trojans return to Corey Gymnasium to face non-league foe 7 p.m.

“Caz is a football team on a basketball court,” Malone said. “They are a tough, physical team. We’ll come up with a game plan and hopefully shoot the ball better.”

HOMER JVs began the Rex Ryan era with a 54-24 win over Fabius-Pompey.

The Trojans led 7-4 after the first quarter and 17-12 by halftime before getting a big spark in the third quarter. Andrew Hage poured in 11 of Homer’s 19 points in the quarter as the Trojans opened up a 36-16 cushion. Hage finished the night with a game-high 15 points.

“We had a slow start, but Andrew Hage really picked us up in the third quarter,” Ryan said. “We just got the ball inside more in the second half and Andrew was there.

“This is a nice opportunity for me,” he added of being the new JV coach. “Sean (Malone) has some things he wants to be work on to get the 10th graders ready for varsity, but he has kind of given free rein otherwise.”

Nick Barnes chipped in with eight points for the Trojans. Saifuldeen Waheeb led Fabius-Pompey with eight points.

Homer JVs host Cazenovia Tuesday night with a 5:30 p.m. tip inside Corey Gymnasium.