January 20, 2022

Groton grinds out victory

Indian boys squad earns tough win over Olympians

Katie Vartanian/contributing photographer

Groton’s Mason Slade (20) looks to shoot over Marathon’s Conor Holland. Slade scored eight points in the Indians 48-44 victory

GROTON —The Groton boys basketball team trailed by seven points with 5:30 left in the fourth quarter but put together a gritty and energetic performance to close out the game to defeat visiting Marathon 48-44 Wednesday night.

“The energy makes a huge difference,” Groton head coach Ken Updike said. “I thought we were much better defensively and communicated really well. I also thought we executed very well. We put it on the board: effort, attitude and execution. Today, I thought we did all of that.”

Right after Marathon took a seven point lead, Groton’s Kanye Israel got an easy layup followed by a jumper from Mason Slade with his foot on the line just a couple possessions later to cut the lead to three with four minutes left.

The score stayed there until the 2:20 mark, when Kanye Israel made a putback layup to make it 42-41.

Right out of a timeout with 1:34 left, Slade stole the ball and got the fast break layup to give Groton the lead.

Marathon’s Braeden Morrison immediately responded with a drive and tough layup to give the Olympians a one-point lead.

A foul was called on Morrison after Conor Holland missed a jumper to send the Indians’ Ben DeMatteo to the line with 47.3 left.

DeMatteo made the first end of a one-and-one and missed the second, but an offensive rebound from Austin Hunt kept the possession with the Indians with the game tied at 44.

Groton used a timeout and immediately after, a tough foul was called on the Olympians’ Kaiden Cornell that sent Thomas Pinkowski to the line with a chance to give the Indians a lead. Pinkowski hit the first end of the one-and-one and the lead was one with 34.8 left.

Hunt was instantly fouled after a Marathon turnover and sent to the line, where he sank both free throws to give Groton a 47-44 lead with 18.7 seconds remaining.

Holland missed a tough, contested 3-pointer that would have tied the game and the ball was rebounded by the Indians’ Omari Riley-Israel who iced the game by hitting one of two from the charity stripe.

It was a balanced effort for the Indians in the win.

Kanye Israel led the way with 10 points. Slade added eight points, Omari Riley-Israel and Hunt each had seven while DeMatteo (5), Owen Crispell (4), Pinkowski (3), Gaige Goodsell (2) and Kolin Manning (2) rounded things out.

For Marathon, Holland had a big night with 32 points, but the Olympians struggled to find production elsewhere. Morrison finished with 10 points and Drew Rozewski added in two.

It was a good bounce back victory for Groton who had not seen the court in two weeks before Tuesday, when it fell to Dryden. That loss was tough for the Indians, but with a bounce back victory against Marathon, it is full speed ahead for them.

“We didn’t get to play a game for two weeks and we had guys really bummed out last week and it almost ruined some practices because we wanted to play a game,” Updike said. “We were flat yesterday. The energy makes all the difference. If I could find out what potion we just stirred tonight, we’ll take it into Friday.”

Groton is in action at 7:15 p.m. Friday as they host Spencer-Van Etten. Marathon plays Friday as well at 7:30 p.m. on the road against Odessa-Montour.

Marathon and Groton meet again at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 18, at Marathon.


Kate Baylor had 12 first-half points for Moravia as the Blue Devils jumped out to a 32-9 lead. Jordan Smith pitched in 10 points and six steals, while Allison Kehoe stuffed the stat sheet with seven points, five rebounds, three steals and three assists.


Keely Worlock led DeRuyter with six kills, three digs and nine aces as the Rockets beat MPH 23-25, 25-20, 25-9, 25-15.

Olivia Lidell added in 15 assists, a kill, two digs and five aces. Madelyn Pforter and Emma Denkenberger both notched five kills, while Denkenberger also had five aces. Abrian Whitt had four digs and three aces, Amaya Rounsaville had seven digs and an ace, Neveah Woods had three kills and Brianna Hannafan had two kills and a block for the Rockets.


Madison at DeRuyter, 7 p.m.

Tully at Weedsport, 7 p.m.

Cortland/Homer at Skaneateles, 6:30 p.m.

Pulaski at Tully, 7 p.m.

Cazenovia at Homer, 6 p.m.
Moravia at Groton, 6 p.m.
Dryden at Whitney Point, 6 p.m.

Cortland at Oswego, 3:30 p.m.
Chittenango at Homer, 3:30 p.m.
Marathon at Candor, 4 p.m.