AUBURN — The Cortland Purple Tigers were one basket away from making the Auburn Maroons pay dearly for their missed opportunities in Monday evening’s boys basketball game.
Despite five straight missed Auburn free throws with a minute to go, the Purple Tigers couldn’t quite push themselves over the top in a 55-53 loss at Auburn High.
After a back-and-forth first half that saw the Purple Tigers go into halftime up 27-23, the Maroons used a 7-0 run in the first two minutes of the third quarter to reclaim the lead, which they would never relinquish.
Facing a 55-47 deficit with about a minute left, the Purple Tigers’ only option to stay in the game was to foul the Maroons. And they had the luxury of having three team fouls to give before Auburn would be in the double bonus.
The Purple Tigers scored layups after three consecutive Maroon misses on 1-and-1s to cut the deficit to two points with about 20 seconds left.
At one point, they also forced the Maroons to take two timeouts just to inbound the ball from underneath their own hoop.
Cortland’s 10th personal foul of the half sent the Maroons back to the line for two more free throws, both of which hit the side iron.
But the Maroon defense clamped down just enough to prevent the Purple Tigers from getting a shot off on the last possession, with a key deflection in the low post forcing both teams to scramble for the ball. By the time Cortland could pick up the loose ball and get a shot off, the final buzzer sounded.
Noah Armstrong led the Purple Tigers with 21 points, while Max Gambitta and Colter Gohs added 12 points each. Troy Churney Jr. and DeSean Strachan led the Maroons with 17 points each.
Moravia 73 Groton 63 The Indians (4-2) lost their second straight game despite strong performances from James Lucey (17 points), Kalib Manning (15 points) and Owen Crispell (12 points).
Groton’s next game is Thursday at Dryden.
Moravia 51, Groton 31
The Groton Indians’ schedule has been packed the past week to the point where they have not had a practice for several days.
The Blue Devils took full advantage of that by handing Groton a 20-point loss Monday.
Moravia’s Kate Baylor led all scorers with 18 points.
She was backed up by Allison Kehoe (15 points) and Sophia Amos (seven points), all of whom outscored Groton’s co-leading scorers, Emma Dematteo, Maddie Perkins and Morgan Gunn (six points each).
“We struggled to gain momentum early,” Indians coach Justin Albro said. “Getting poor shots and out rebounded down low proved to be our downfall throughout the first half. We regrouped and fought hard in the second half but it was not enough. We will be happy to finally have a practice back in the gym after a tough three-game stretch without a practice.”
Groton’s next games are a home-and-home with Dryden Thursday and Friday.