PITTSFORD, N.Y. – Ryan Schmadel (Oriskany) made two free throws with 1.2 seconds left in overtime as Cortland defeated host St. John Fisher, 80-78, in the championship game of the Cardinals' Woodcliff Hotel & Spa Tournament.
Justin Cooper (Pine Plains/Stissing Mountain) led Cortland (8-2) with 20 points, 16 rebounds and four assists and his former high school teammate, Zach Lydon (Elizaville/Stissing Mountain), also turned in a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Cooper and Lydon were two of five Red Dragon double figure scorers. Nicky Bonura (Mount Kisco/Fox Lane) tallied 15 points, Kenny Charles (Huntington) scored 14 points – including four in a crucial trip down the floor late in overtime – and hauled in six rebounds, and Schmadel finished with 10 points.
St. John Fisher (5-3) was paced by Ryan Henderson with 18 points and Sammy Robinson with 17 points. James Leone had 10 points and 13 rebounds and Matt Asenjo scored 10 points. Robinson also finished with six rebounds and two blocks, while Henderson and Asenjo grabbed five rebounds each.
The game featured 13 ties and nine lead changes. Cortland led 41-34 at halftime and 51-41 less than four minutes into the second half, but Fisher eventually tied the game at 53-53 on a Asenjo 3-pointer with 13:03 left.
The Cardinals' largest lead after halftime was six points on two occasions, the last at 64-58 with 8:42 remaining. Cortland responded with a 10-0 run, capped by a Brendan Fitzpatrick (Plainview/Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK) 3-pointer and a Cooper layup, to take a 68-64 lead with 6:49 left.
Two Henderson foul shots with 3:44 left in regulation tied the game at 72 and neither team scored the rest of the half. Fitzpatrick knocked away a lobbed entry pass into the lane with less than five seconds left. Cortland raced into the frontcourt by Bonura's off-balance 3-pointer missed the mark.
Cortland took the lead just over a minute into overtime on a Bonura layup, but Fisher came back with two Leone put-back dunks to go up by two, and Henderson hit two free throws at the 1:26 mark to extend the Cardinals' lead to four.
Charles was fouled with 1:16 left and hit the first of two free throws. He missed the second but Cooper fought for the rebound on the floor and called timeout. Charles then buried a 3-pointer from the right corner with 1:05 left to tie the score at 78-78.
Fisher missed a point-blank layup attempt with 38 seconds left. On Cortland's ensuing trip down the floor Bonura missed a trey and Fisher grabbed the rebound with less than seven seconds left. They sent a long pass upcourt that was stolen by Schmadel, who was fouled in the backcourt to lead to the winning free throws. Fisher was unable to get a shot off following two timeouts and an inbounds pass in the backcourt.
Cortland returns to action with a non-league game at Cabrini College in Pennsylvania on Friday, Jan. 4 at 7 p.m.