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Falls boys basketball closes season by winning overtime thriller

by Michael Leonard | Sports Editor Published: February 24, 2017 11:06 PM

Cuyahoga Falls and Twinsburg boys basketball have played some wild games over the years.

However, the Battle of the Tigers that took place Feb. 24 at Coach Tom Jones Court could stand up to any of them.

On Senior Night for Falls, reserve senior Nick Sigferth’s putback layup with 15 seconds left in overtime proved the difference, as the Black Tigers pulled out a 48-44 win in overtime to close out the regular season.

Falls finished the regular season on a three-game win streak, as the Black Tigers take a record of 10-12, 4-10 in the Suburban League National Conference into the postseason.

Sigferth, center Troy Tofil and guards Ka’von Gainer and Nate Vassalotti were honored before the game by Falls.

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The senior quartet accounted for all but 12 of Falls’ points on the night.

Neither team was lighting up the scoreboard early in the contest.

Twinsburg took a 12-9 lead after one quarter, thanks to three-pointers from guards Michael Moore and Mike Cusma.

The two teams then combined for just three field goals in the second quarter. Twinsburg took a 17-15 lead into the half.

Although Tofil finished with another double-double —12 points and 16 rebounds — before fouling out in overtime, Falls coach Kenny Johnson bemoaned the fact his team did not get the ball to its center enough, particularly in the first half.

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Johnson noted the fact forward Dion Davis was saddled with foul trouble for most of the contest shut down much of Falls’ high-low post game.

Johnson’s call to feed the post resonated in the third quarter, as Tofil scored eight of his 12 points in the quarter, keying a 10-4 run to give Falls a 25-21 lead.

Falls maintained the momentum to end the of the third quarter, taking a 31-27 lead after three.

But the momentum swings didn’t start in earnest until the fourth quarter.

After a layup by Falls guard Jaquan Campbell to start the fourth, Twinsburg found its range from distance, while Falls lost its free throw touch.

The result was a 10-1 Twinsburg run, which gave the Tigers a 37-34 lead.

With Davis back in the game, Falls answered with an 8-0 run over is own, keyed by a pair of layups by Gainer.

Falls seemed to things under control when Johnson called timeout with 1:06 left and Falls leads leading 42-37.

But it wasn’t over.

First, Moore hit a 15-foot jumper, followed by a quick foul to Vassalotti, who split his free throws.

Then, Moore banked home a three-pointer to cut the lead to 43-42. Vassalotti was fouled and again his split two free throws.

Not calling time out, Twinsburg attacked with less than 15 seconds left. Despite a hand in his face, Twinsburg guard Leroy Fitzgerald hit a turnaround jumper from the baseline with four seconds left, tying the game at 44-44 and forcing Johnson to call timeout.

Campbell’s three-point attempt at the buzzer was well wide, sending it to overtime.

After such a frenetic fourth quarter, Twinsburg chose to hold the ball in overtime. A two-minute possession ended with Moore getting fouled, but he missed the front end of a one-and-one situation.

Falls also was deliberate its possession, but when Tofil’s shot was off the mark, Sigferth hit the game-winning bucket off a backside rebound with about 15 seconds left.

Twinsburg again attacked down the floor. After missing its initial shot, Moore rebounded and was fouled with 2.9 seconds left.

However, Moore missed both free throws and Falls was awarded possession after a loose ball.

After Davis was fouled on the ensuing inbounds play, he nailed both free throws to ice the game.

Gainer led all scorers with 16 points, while Davis added eight. Moore was the only Twinsburg player in double figures with 13 points.

Falls will open its postseason run by hosting Nordonia March 1 at 7 p.m.


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