Red Storm hoops rally falls short

SARANAC LAKE – The Saranac Lake boys basketball team fell to Plattsburgh, 55-48, on senior night Wednesday despite a strong fourth quarter that nearly saw the squad overcome a 16-point third-quarter deficit.

Down 43-27 late in the third period, the Red Storm went on a 17-2 run to get within one point of the Hornets with 4:34 left in the game. Eleven of those points game from the foul line as the Red Storm missed only two during that stretch.

“We came alive,” Saranac Lake coach Dermott Morgan said. “Our strength is our forwards, so we want to pound the ball down low. We didn’t have much success in the first half. Second half, we started having success. They collapsed down low, that left Kevin Morgan a little bit open, and I think he found some seams and a few of our other guards got started. We got a little run there.”

After T.J. Monroe hit a foul shot to bring his team within one point at 45-44, Plattsburgh responded with a layup from T.J. LaPoint to extend the Hornets’ lead to three.

Saranac Lake point guard Kevin Morgan then stole the ball near his own basket and made a layup to bring his team back within one and get the crowd into the game.

But then Plattsburgh’s Garrett Frady hit perhaps the biggest shot of the game, nailing a 3-pointer to make the score 50-46 in favor of the Hornets with about three minutes left.

“We started to play a little bit complacent on offense, and they kept attacking,” said Hornets coach Chris Hartmann. “They are aggressive. I think most of them are probably football players. You know, they go after the ball. I thought, we hit a couple of lucky shots in the fourth quarter, started to roll a little bit offensively again. I think they wore down a little bit, but the big shot, big 3-pointer by Garrett Frady really was a turning point.”

That shot gave Plattsburgh a boost, and from that point on they went on an 8-2 run and took back control of the game.

The Red Storm racked up 18 points in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Hornets, but they came up just short.

Kellen Munn lead the Red Storm on offense with 17 points while Morgan had 16 and Teddy Yanchitis had 12.

LaPoint led Plattsburgh with 18 points while Frady and Damon LaBorde each had 13 points.

Plattsburgh built up their lead in the second and third quarters after trailing 12-11 to end the first.

Saranac Lake has seven seniors on the team and all played in the game. They include Yanchitis, Morgan, Munn, Monroe, Tom Lester, Harley Stankus and Alex Beaudoin.

“It was a hell of a game. Munn did a job on the boards, Teddy came alive for them in the second half, and Morgan is always tough, but we’ll take it,” Hartmann said.

The loss dropped the Red Storm to 3-11 on the season and evened the regular season series between the two teams. Early this season, Saranac Lake picked up a win on Plattsburgh’s home court.

“We knew it was going to be close,” Dermott Morgan said. “They’re strong going into the playoffs, but I still think if we can put four strong quarters together, we are going to be tough to beat. We are 3-11, but we are the best 3-11 team in the league.”