Marauders fall in OT, 65-58

BUFFALO — Dunkirk (4-4) could not hold onto a six-point lead with 35 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter Friday afternoon at Villa Maria College, as the Marauders fell to Rochester’s School of the Arts, 65-58, in overtime at the I-90 Holiday Showcase.

“Being young and really inexperienced at the varsity level, we try to work on those late-game situations,” Dunkirk head coach Jack O’Brien said. “But until it’s in real time, there’s nothing like it. We have to learn how to close out games, we just weren’t able to (Friday).”

SOTA held a 12-10 lead after the first quarter, but a 16-13 edge in the second helped Dunkirk to a 26-25 lead at halftime.

“We battled the whole game,” O’Brien said. “It was close the whole game and it just went back and forth.”

Dunkirk fell behind 39-38 heading into the fourth quarter, but seven points by Shamon Stewart helped Dunkirk regain the lead. However, the Marauders were unable to hold on as Mecca Anderson scored four of his game-high 29 points in the last 35 seconds of regulation to help send the game to overtime, where SOTA outscored the Marauders, 12-5, to earn the win.

“We started off well,” O’Brien noted. “But maybe we got a little too high on ourselves — or maybe reality set in — but we play a tough non-league schedule for a reason. And in the end, maybe we benefit more from losing this one than we would’ve if we had won it.

“We need to learn that every possession counts,” O’Brien added. “But for a young team, hopefully this is a good lesson and hopefully they do take something from it.”

Stewart, who missed his entire junior year due to injury, scored 16 points, hauled down eight rebounds and dished out five assists in his first game of the season, earning the Character Award, which was handed out to the member of each team that best displayed leadership and sportsmanship.

“He’s really stuck by us as part of our basketball family,” O’Brien said of Stewart. “He was out his entire junior year, but he stuck it out and has been able to get out on the court. It’s certainly nice to have a guy like him back out on the floor.”

Tyreese Kristan Johnson chipped in 14 points and a team-high 16 rebounds in the loss while Noah Sobilo had eight points and Darnell Butts six points.

“He did a really good job of getting down low and controlling the boards,” O’Brien said of Kristan-Johnson.

Besides Anderson’s 29 points, Ian Jordan chipped in 16 points while Justin Brumfield had 12 points in the win.

Dunkirk is back in action on Wednesday when it hosts arch rival Fredonia at 7:30 p.m.