For a second straight year, the Southwestern boys basketball team (3-4) took home the title from its own Tabone Christmas Classic Tournament, pushing past Chautauqua Lake (3-4) ,55-49, on Sunday, Dec. 22 at Jamestown Community College.
The championship game was a rough and tumble fight to the very end. After starting the final quarter of the night down by a point, Southwestern put together a gutsy comeback, thanks to seven points from Patrick Mogenhan.
Mogenhan's 11 points, three assists and three rebounds earned him the tournament's most valuable player award, while teammate Nathan Schrope was named to the Tabone all-tournament team after producing seven rebounds, two steals and four points in the victory.
Southwestern’s Riley Rybicki, left, drives past Chautauqua Lake’s Carter Davidson during Sunday’s championship game of the Tabone Christmas Classic at Jamestown Community College. The Trojans won, 55-49.
Ian Clute of Chautauqua Lake was also granted an all-tournament honor in a 22-point effort that included five blocks and eight boards.
"We didn't bring our A-game tonight," noted Thunderbirds coach Mike Putney. "I think we were a little tired after the overtime game last night, but that's not an excuse."
The Thunderbirds' Kyle Mayer earned the tournament's defensive player award in the loss, and got his team started out on the right foot.
"You know Chautauqua Lake is a very physical team," Southwestern coach Andrew Krenzer said. "I was very concerned about that. We have some young guys, and they handled things well tonight."
The Trojans faced adversity early as Chautauqua Lake opened up an 8-2 advantage thanks to a pair of steals from Mayer. Carter Davidson was the beneficiary of Mayer's takeaways, hitting an early trey and a fast-break layup.
Jack Carlson stepped up early on defensively to help Southwestern out of the hole, recording consecutive rebounds midway through the opening period and finished with nine boards on the night.
Ben Burk nailed a short jumper from the wing to shrink the Thunderbirds early lead to 14-10 after one quarter of play.
The Trojans did a good job of carrying their momentum into the second period.
The game was tied after Carlson grabbed another big rebound and pulled off a dynamic spin move in the post for an easy deuce.
After losing their lead, the Thunderbirds suffered from a momentary lapse in concentration as Brendan Kennedy found himself all alone on a long pass from the backcourt and converted on an uncontested layup.
"We didn't box out well and gave up a lot of second-chance points," noted Putney. "We just need to work harder and play better."
It looked like the Trojans would carry a six-point lead into halftime after David Applegarth made a basket in the post for Chautauqua Lake with five seconds remaining, but Burk had other ideas.
With no time remaining Burk heaved a running jumper from near half-court that fell in off the glass to give Southwestern a 27-20 lead.
After an unlikely basket to end the half, Clute got to work in the third quarter.
The 6-foot-4 senior powered his way to a pair of easy baskets early on , and continued to impose his will on into the final period.
"I never consider Ian a big man. It's funny, he plays more like a guard," Putney said. "But he is phenomenal anywhere we put him."
Clute put up nine of the Thunderbirds 13 points in the fourth quarter on a variety of talented inside moves, but the Trojans had too many options on offense.
Kyle Moran chipped in a basket with four minutes to play in the game, and a late steal by Mike Sandbloom sealed the deal for Southwestern.
"One of the biggest things we have been talking about is confidence," Krenzer said after the win. "If you feel like good things are going to happen, then they will. That is the attitude that we have been taking."