Friday, February 13, 2009

Hoosic Valley stuns Tamarac on senior night

Hoosic Valley head coach Dan Calhoun told me one story after another before the Indians started practice on Thursday, as I hung around, digging for a feature story. It's been an up-and-down year for the Indians, who won Wasaren League and Section II Class B titles in 2007-08. But the one story that really caught my ear was about senior Steve Kocienski, who Calhoun lauded as his "super sub." Kocienski worked his tail off in the offseason but Calhoun saw the value in him as the team's sixth man, as he can fill in from any position from 1-5.

When Hoosic Valley's Alex McNeice twinged his knee in pregame warmups on Friday night, Kocienski got the rare call in the starting lineup, and boy, did it pay off for the Indians.

In the last Wasaren League game of the senior's career, Kocienski held Tamarac's Steve Hunt to 13 points and led the Indians to a dramatic come-from-behind 56-53 victory over the Bengals in front of a packed house at Tamarac High School.

Kocienski (right) guards Hunt during Friday's game at Tamarac High. Kocienski finished with nine points and five rebounds in a victory that evened the Indians' Wasaren League record at 7-7. (All photos by Mike McMahon - The Record).

Hoosic Valley's Kyle Pallozzi guards Tamarac's Josh Johnson during Friday's game. Pallozzi connected on a pair of three-pointers in the fourth quarter, including the go-ahead game-winner with 23.6 seconds remaining. He finished with a team-high 14 points.

Alux Kugler elevates for a shot over Tamarac's Brent Matazinsky in Friday's Wasaren League finale for both teams. Kugler, along with Kocienski and Zach McNall, who grabbed six rebounds, all walked off the court as victors in the final Wasaren League game of their careers. The Section II Class CC playoffs are next on the schedule.

Tamarac's Tyler Shaw hit a fourth quarter buzzer-beater in a 56-51 overtime victory for the Bengals in Schaghticoke on Jan. 16. Calhoun was not looking forward to another overtime game had the Bengals hit a last-second prayer again.

"Don’t do this to me again," he laughed. "We were playing a little shorthanded and running out of gas. Playing overtime might have been very difficult for us."

Although they've had their share of close games the past few years, the players never get used to the adrenaline rush a buzzer-beating finish provides.

"You don’t like them because anything can happen, but it’s fun," Pallozzi said. "That’s why I love playing basketball, right there."

Check out the full story, as well as the full high school roundup and boxscores, as well as a Mohonasen-Averill Park girls hoops game story in Saturday's edition of The Record.
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NOTES: Brent Matazinsky announced in the senior night ceremonies that he will be attending Hobart College to play football this fall. Tamarac teammate Phil Arnold will be heading to Utica College and will also play football. Congratulations to those two players, who had a fine year on the gridiron in 2008.

Tamarac, as always, did a wonderful job with the pregame senior day ceremony. Head coach Eric Medved had a little bit to say about each of the 10 seniors, as well as the senior cheerleaders. The fifth or sixth grade players in Brunswick also got to run around on the court at halftime, much to the delight of the crowd. Although the final score didn't pan out for them on Friday night, the folks at Tamarac sure know how to put on a good show in their cozy little gym.

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21 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was at the Tamarac/Hoosick Valley game Friday night and what a game it was. The Senior Night ceremony was done with class and it was a great way to honor all the Senior athletes. Even though Tamarac was up for most of the game, it was when Hunt and Matazinsky were taken out of the game for the first 3 1/2 minutes of the 4th quarter when Hoosick Valley came back and their was no return for Tamarac. Hunt was batteling the flu and had over 100 temp and Matazynski had 4 fouls on him at that point. If those two players were at their best things would have turned out differently for sure. But all in all it was a great game!

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