Defensive Presence

McCoy-Led Cardinals Stymie Gators In D1 East

Randolph’s Gabe McCoy takes the ball to the basket as teammate Calvin George (50) looks on during a CCAA Division 1 East game against Allegany-Limestone on Thursday night in Randolph. P-J photos by Tim Frank

RANDOLPH — Offensively challenged throughout the first half Thursday night, Randolph needed strong defense to keep it close in its CCAA Division 1 East matchup with Allegany-Limestone.

Thanks in large part to eighth-grader Gabe McCoy patrolling the paint and blocking six shots, the Cardinals were able to find enough offense to pull away for a 48-38 win late.

“McCoy in the middle is tough. He defends really well at the rim. You almost have to hit some outside shots to stretch them a little bit,” Allegany-Limestone coach Glenn Anderson said. “They did a nice job. We fought and we battled really hard, but in the end you have to score some points.”

“At the defensive end, Gabe in the middle is a presence,” Randolph coach Kevin Hind said. “We rebounded the ball, we matched up really well, we talked and we communicated.”

Sophomore Tyler Hind scored 22 points, including 10 in the second quarter, and junior Andrew Bernard added 11 points and five rebounds as Randolph (7-5, 4-0) took over sole possession of first place in the league.

Randolph’s Kaleb Steward runs the offense during the Cardinals’ CCAA Division 1 East game against Allegany-Limestone on Thursday night in Randolph. P-J photos by Tim Frank

“They did a good job. Ty forced things a little and missed some free throws. When you have a big game, it’s really likely you might come back with a 6 or an 8,” Hind said of his son, who scored a career-high 40 points in his last game. “I reminded him of that and just had to get him to settle down.”

The Cardinals took the lead for good in the final minute of the third quarter, ironically with Hind — their leading scorer — on the bench for a breather.

Senior Isaac Wakefield found classmate Calvin George for a lay-in to give the hosts a 31-29 lead and after a missed 3-pointer on the other end, George hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from the wing to give his team a five-point lead heading into the final eight minutes.

“The play of Calvin George has been a huge difference maker for us. He played so hard at the end of the game, talking and being energized,” Hind said. ” … He got a lot of heat early on in the season, it just fell on his shoulders. … You can just see it in his game right now, he’s gaining a lot of confidence.”

George then extended the lead to seven with a pair of free throws — his seven-point scoring binge were his only points of the game — before the Gators (8-4, 3-2) closed to within three on back-to-back buckets from senior Sean McAfee.

Cardinals sophomore Kaleb Steward then made his only basket of the game, a 3-pointer with contact from the corner that turned into a four-point play and a 40-33 lead after a free throw.

“Ever since Christmas break, Kaleb has shot 400 or 500 shots a day before or after practice. He hasn’t missed a day in two or three weeks for that very shot,” Hind said. “He just needed repetition. … Every time he hits a shot I remind him of those extra half-hours of shooting. It’s really made a difference.”

Bernard, recently back from an injury, grabbed two huge offensive rebounds and scored five points down the stretch to put the game away.

“He’s big, he’s hard to guard and he draws a lot of attention. When he gives you 11 points inside, that’s irreplaceable,” Hind said. “Gabe is doing a lot of things, but going to him on the block isn’t where we’re at right now. We want him blocking shots, playing defense and getting offensive rebounds. With Andrew we’re ready.”

Conner Golley had five points, including a three-point play, as Allegany-Limestone led 9-6 after the opening eight minutes, but Hind answered with his double-digit quarter that included two 3-pointers and gave the Cardinals a short-lived lead late in the second quarter.

“I thought we did a really good job on him for a majority of the game,” Anderson said of his team’s defense on Hind. “He got loose a couple times, but with a great scorer that’s going to happen.”

A 3-pointer from sophomore Michael Wolfgang and a basket from senior Grant Davis gave the lead back to the Gators heading into the locker room for halftime.

“At halftime when they had 19 I told them if they score 38 points we’ll win. If we keep them in the 30s we’ll win,” Hind said. “We pride ourselves on playing really hard and I don’t think we did that in the first quarter. … Allegany-Limestone played us much more physical and we struggled with that.”

Two Bernard buckets and a pair of free throws from Hind gave Randolph a 6-0 run to open the third quarter, but McAfee stopped the run with a 3-pointer to give Allegany-Limestone a three-point lead with 5:22 left in the third quarter.

Hind hit another 3-pointer and McCoy made a basket to give the Cardinals a five-point lead before McAfee’s bucket and sophomore Gus Napoleon’s 3-pointer pulled the Gators even at 29-all with 1:55 left in the third quarter.

Wolfgang led Allegany-Limestone with 10 points and McAfee added 9.

NOTES: Steward had five rebounds and three steals while Hind had five rebounds and four assists for Randolph. … Golley and Casey Curran each grabbed six rebounds while Curran had three assists for the Gators. … Allegany-Limestone was playing without senior Sam Flanders.

ALLEGANY-LIMESTONE (38)

McAfee 4 0 9, Giardini 0 1 1, Davis 2 0 4, GNapoleon 1 0 3, RNapoleon 0 0 0, Golley 3 1 7, Moran 0 0 0, Curran 2 0 4, Wolfgang 4 0 10. Totals 16 2 38.

RANDOLPH (48)

Steward 1 1 4, Hind 7 5 22, Wakefield 0 0 0, Donaldson 0 0 0, Sherman 0 0 0, McCoy 2 0 4, Bernard 4 3 11, George 2 2 7. Totals 16 11 48.

3-point goals–McAfee, GNapoleon, Wolfgang 2, Steward, Hind 3, George.

Allegany-Limestone 9 19 19 9 — 38

Randolph 6 10 18 14 — 48