Alex Park, Staff Writer
This past weekend was overflowing with emotion if you were a member of the Oneonta State Basketball team. The seniors, Frankie Kelly and Zach Mager from the men’s team, along with Sarah Longto from the women’s squad were celebrated on Saturday as Senior Night festivities occurred during pregame. There was also an emotional tribute to former men’s basketball player Terrance Parker, who tragically passed away last September.
Playoff berths were also on the line for both teams.
The men’s team opened up the action this past weekend as they took on Fredonia State. It was a back and forth affair, something that many were not expecting, as Fredonia entered the contest with a 1-15 conference record.
Oneonta entered the second half with a seven-point lead, eventually pushing the lead to as far as nine. Fredonia sparked a run of their own, grabbing a four-point lead after a jumper made by Luke Hennessy.
With their entire season in the balance, Oneonta was forced to make a play with a minute left. After a layup made by Mager tied the game at 82, the captain then stole the ball to put Oneonta in a position to win. His co-captain, Kelly, took it from there.
An ankle-breaking crossover sent the Fredonia defender to the floor and Kelly drove to his left, knocking down the go-ahead-bucket with 2.8 seconds left on the clock. A steal by Lawrence Coleman sealed the victory for the Red Dragons.
The next day, the men would need the same heroics from Kelly.
In a win and you’re in situation, Kelly was staring at a similar situation. With the game tied, Kelly displayed the same crossover from the previous night, finishing the play with a left-handed layup to give Oneonta the lead for good with less than 30 seconds to play.
After a couple trips to the line, the men walked away with a dramatic victory over the Buffalo State Bengals. Kelly became the hero once again, displaying ice in his veins that some dream to have.
The men had clinched a berth in the SUNYAC playoffs.
Oneonta’s women didn’t let either game end in dramatic fashion. In their first contest against Fredonia State, the Red Dragons notched a wire-to-wire victory, dominating the Blue Devils by 52 points. The final score was 88-36.
The Red Dragons pressured the Blue Devils all night, holding them to a 26.5 shooting percentage throughout the game. Cara Adams and Caysea Cohen led the way with 18 and 15 points respectively.
Then on Saturday the women defeated Buffalo State 61-44 behind the leadership of Sarah Longto.
With a near triple-double, Longto (13 rebounds, 11 blocks, eight points) led the way for the Red Dragons. The Buffalo State Bengals repeatedly attacked the basket and Longto was there to meet them every single time.
Oneonta entered the second half with only a three-point lead, but never relinquished it as team defense stifled the Bengals for the rest of the game. The Bengals only hit 17 shots out of 71 attempts.
Caysea Cohen led the team with 18 points. Lyteshia Price and Cara Adams contributed 12 and 10 points respectively.
It was a fitting end to the regular season for the Red Dragons as they fought hard and stayed resilient even in the toughest of times. These Red Dragons are playoff-bound.