SINCLAIRVILLE - The Cassadaga Valley Cougars rallied from as many as 17 points to take down Oracle Charter, 63-59, Monday to win the Cassadaga Valley Holiday Tournament.
Trailing, 36-25 at halftime, the Cougars outscored Oracle Charter, 38-23 in the second half, including a 22-12 third-quarter run.
Free throws benefited Cassadaga Valley as it was 20-of-29 from the charity stripe while Oracle Charter was just 4-for-12. Randy Dalaba was 7-for-8, including 5-of-6 in the second half.
OBSERVER?Photo by Lisa Monacelli
Cassadaga Valley’s Chase Jones scores on a breakaway layup during the championship game of the Cassadaga Valley Holiday basketball tournament.
Chase Jones proved to be the spark the home team needed as he scored 13 points off the bench.
"He was a huge spark for us," Cassadaga Valley coach Rich Clifford said. "We weren't getting a lot of scoring from our guards, so he helped us out. That's what we are looking for from our bench. We have had games where our bench hasn't scored at all. This was a huge game for him tonight."
Tournament MVP Cody Johnson continued his hot streak as he poured in a game-high 26 points. He had 12 points in the third quarter and 18 in the second half. He is now averaging 23.75 points per game in his last four outings.
"He just has excellent post moves," Clifford said. "He is scoring inside. He is just a solid inside player. He has worked really hard on his game. He is our leading scorer."
Defensively, the Cougars played a 2-3 zone defense against the more athletic Oracle Charter squad.
"We play man-to-man defense against everyone we see," Clifford said. "When we play a team that is faster, we play 2-3 zone and want to take away the inside. We wanted to make them hit from the outside and not give them second shots."
The defense held the visitors to minimal fast-break points.
"We took away that and made them work for their baskets," Clifford said. "I couldn't be any prouder. They battled and never quit."
Mike Lancaster added 12 points for the winners while he and Lancaster combined for nine assists.
Oracle Charter was led by Kennten White's 21 points.
In the consolation game, Global Concepts downed Cattaraugus-Little Valley, 56-44.
Notes: The all-tournament team included Fred Searles (Global Concepts), Colt Agnew (Cattaraugus-Little Valley), Levon Dickson (Oracle), White (Oracle) and Mike Lancaster (Cassadaga Valley).
"I'm really proud of our comeback," Clifford noted. "It looked like we were dead. We started scoring points and it was an outstanding comeback. Luckily they got cold and we got hot. It was a huge win for us.
The Cougars travel to Sherman on Thursday.