ONEONTA — On March 2, 2019, the Marathon Central boys’ basketball team played in the Section 4 Class D Tournament championship game.
In that game, Owen Hoyt scored 19 points to help the Olympians to a 66-57 win and a sectional title over Edmeston.
Tuesday night, Marathon returned to State University College at Oneonta in the Section 4 Class D semifinals. Hoyt delivered another 19-point performance to help the top-seeded Olympians (18-3 overall) to a 53-32 rout of fourth-seed Richfield Springs (20-3) to advance to Saturday’s championship game back at Dewar Arena against second-seed South Kortright (20-2), a 59-35 winner over sixth-seed Hunter-Tannersville (15-8) in the second game of the twinbill.
“There’s something about playoff basketball that makes everybody turn it up,” Hoyt said. “I’ve been trying to do that lately. I’ve just tried to be aggressive and going for it as the season’s gone on. I do like it here (Oneonta), it’s a great venue to be in and I’m happy to be back here for still another game.”
“Owen did well,” Marathon coach Jim Holland said. “I actually yelled at him at the end of the third quarter because he was settling for the threes (3-point shots) and he only made one. I told him to pop it into the paint and hit some jump shots because he is a good shooter. I really think he does like to shoot up here.
“Owen is valuable because when Diego (Castellot) starts driving and gets the kicks, and they are drawing onto Andrew (Tillotson) with that triangle-and-two defense, guys like Owen and Conor (Holland) stepped up big in the third and fourth quarters.”
Being the defending Section 4 Class D champion all season long is one thing. Now to finally defend that title in another championship game makes it mean even more.
“It feels great to do that,” Hoyt said. “These two teams (South Kortright and Hunter-Tannersville) on the court now are great teams. We are going to have to step it up to another level to beat them.”
“I know we have the bullseye on our back,” Coach Holland said. “We’ll do a little scouting tonight and see what we can come up with. I was pleased with a our seven-man rotation tonight. All the guys stepped up and did a great job.”
With Hoyt leading the way, Tillotson finished with 11 points and Holland added nine points. Castellot and Kenyon DePuy each netted six points to round out the starting five’s production while Braeden Morrison (2 points) and Joey Hulbert came off the bench to complete the rotation. Everyone saw action before the final horn sounded.
Tillotson got an easy layup right off the opening tip and Richfield Springs countered with a lay-in by Austin Bowman. It appeared it was going to be that kind of game as both teams forced some turnovers, but the Indians went ice cold shooting the ball. Two free throws by Castellot started a 12-0 run over the next six and a half minutes that saw the Olympians built a 14-2 cushion before Dylan Hosford hit a 3-pointer with 30 seconds left in the quarter for Richfield Springs.
Hoyt hit two free throws, Castellot adding a driving layup and two more free throws, plus Conor Holland banged home two jumpers in the run.
The Olympians began the second quarter with a 9-0 run as the lead grew to 25-5 and it was play out the string the rest of the way. Tillotson began this run with a 3-pointer from the left wing. Hoyt hit two jumpers and DePuy worked the paint for a deuce.
The Indians got a trey from Hosford the end the run, but Hoyt answered with a 3-pointer of his own. Hoyt would score nine points in the quarter and finish with 11 points in the half as Marathon led 30-11.
The Olympians continued to control the ow of the game throughout the second half. A Morrison lay-in and two Hoyt free throws helped Marathon lead 45-20 after three quarters.
Richfield Springs did have a little better effort in the fourth quarter, but Coach Holland had emptied the bench so Damian Randall, Trent Ensign, Evan Larrabee, Gabriel Teeter and Markus Bray all saw some action in the final eight minutes.
Hosford had 15 points to lead the Richfield Springs scoring list. Jacob Bennett added eight points.
Experience pays off and these Marathon seniors have that between all the high pressure games in soccer and basketball the past four years. They look to keep those positive vibes rolling.
“The pressure is still there,” Hoyt said. “We all feel it, but we are accustomed to it. We just know we have to step up our game because we never know when are going to have the chance again.”