HOLLIDAYSBURG - To win the 2012 Golden Tiger Roundball Classic Hollidaysburg would have to pull an upset over a bigger, more athletic Transit Tech team out of Brooklyn, NY.
It didn't quite work out for the host team, however.
Hollidaysburg battled from as many eight points down to tie the championship game 30-30 midway through the third quarter, but the Express went on an 11-0 run to roll away with a 55-44 win.
Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec
Hollidaysburg’s Nick Consiglio drives on Brooklyn’s Shywann?Spencer.
"A team with that kind of speed, athleticism and size makes it a little difficult," Hollidaysburg coach Mick Pentoney said. "Putbacks in transition hurt us early. Our guards would be back, but that was like BBs going up against battleships. We're just not accustomed to teams like that."
Six-foot-four Gabriel Agorioge, who was named tournament MVP, led the Express with 15 points and nine rebounds. Phillip Carr, a 6-foot-6 senior, nearly had a double-double off the bench with nine points and 10 rebounds.
"Hollidaysburg's a tough, gritty team," Transit Tech coach Michael Perazzo said. "They were able to stop our perimeter game. Gabe and Phillip did a good job rebounding and putting the ball in the basket."
Transit Tech took a 25-18 lead to halftime when Agorioge sank a jump shot from the free throw line just before the buzzer.
Hollidaysburg came out of the locker room and almost immediately started cutting into the Express lead.
Zach Ottaway, who had a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds, made an 18-foot jump shot, and Eric Miller followed with a 3-pointer, one of four on the night for the senior guard.
Hollidaysburg tied the game later in the quarter when Dom Viduya fed Ottaway inside for a short hook shot. Ottaway was fouled on the play and converted the free throw to make it 30-30.
"Zach Ottaway had a solid, solid game," Pentoney said. "Even though we lost, that's how you learn and build confidence."
Carr quickly answered on Tech's next possession with a three-point play of his own, tipping in a rebound and making the ensuing foul shot.
After Agorioge followed with a layup and Fabian MacDonald made 2-of-3 free throws, Carr closed out the third quarter with a jump shot from the left elbow.
Agorioge's jump shot to open the fourth quarter put the Express up 41-30.
Hollidaysburg pulled to within six points three times in the fourth quarter. First, when Ottaway drained a rainbow shot from the baseline and once again, when Ryan Adams followed an Ottaway miss with a rebound and bucket.
The third came on an Ottaway layup when Brian Urban found him open for a weak side layup off an inbounds play.
From that point, Transit Tech spread the floor and sealed the win with a layup and a trio of free throws.
Transit Tech nearly didn't even advance to the championship game. The Express stormed back from an 18-point third quarter deficit to beat McDowell in overtime Thursday.
"We played a lot better defense in the second half against McDowell," Perazzo said. "Our defense feeds our offense. We're not that strong of a half-court team so we need our defense to generate offense."
Ottaway and Miller were named to the all-tournament team. Transit Tech's Matthew Banton, Bishop McCort's Nemo Trexler and McDowell's Carson Lewis rounded out this year's tournament honors.
TRANSIT TECH (55): Spencer 4 3-3 12, MacDonald 2 5-6 9, White 1 0-1 2, Agorioge 7 1-3 15, Banton 2 0-0 5, Ayarza 1 0-0 2, Carr 3 3-3 9, Frith 0 1-2 1. Totals - 20 13 18 55.
HOLLIDAYSBURG (44): Miller 5 0-0 14, Urban 5 0-1 11, Mason 0 0-1 0, Viduya 0 0-0 0, Ottaway 8 1-1 17, Consiglio 0 0-0 0, Ruggery 0 0-0 0, Holsopple 0 0-0 0, Adams 1 0-0 2. Totals - 19 1-3 44.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Transit Tech 14 11 14 16 - 55
Hollidaysburg 7 11 12 14 - 44
3-point goals: Transit Tech 2 (Spencer, Banton); Hollidaysburg 5 (Miller 4, Urban).
Records: Transit Tech (8-3); Hollidaysburg (2-4).
Officials: Todd Parker, Dave Baronner, Dave Reimer.