The Dragons broke a fourth-quarter tie to win their first game of the season.
Playing at Christl Arena at West Point on Dec. 22, Cornwall and O’Neill were tied 37-37 with three minutes left in the final period.
The Dragons seized the lead when Zack Swaby jarred a ball loose and fed Will Fredericks, who was racing to the basket. A minute later Joe Lynch scored from behind the arc to give his teammates a five-point advantage.
It was a big basket. The Dragons have not scored on many long-range shots this year — and the big arena can play tricks with players’ depth perception. Many shots that appear to be on target come down in front of the hoop.
Cornwall added five points down the stretch for a 47-37 win. Dragon Coach Tom Howe was impressed with his team’s defensive effort. Earlier in the month, O’Neill had scored 75 points in an overtime loss to Goshen. This time, the Highland Falls school was limited to half that total.
“We’ve improved over our last few games,” the coach acknowledged. “The big difference against O’Neill is that we played well early, and never got behind. In other games, we’d start slow, work hard to catch up and then run out of gas.”
That was the case in a 39-44 loss to Chester, a small school that owned a victory over Port Jervis before defeating the Dragons.
Despite a 1-5 record, the Dragons have stayed close to their opponents, allowing just 53 points per game. Cornwall has had several players contribute to the offense, with Swaby leading the attack with a per game average of 11 points. Fredericks, a sophomore, is next with 9.8.
The victory on Dec. 22 came in the second half of a Cornwall-O’Neill doubleheader. The girls teams took the floor first.
After playing several games on the road, the Dragons were due to host the Glen McGinnis Holiday Tournament on Dec. 27-28 — opening against Fallsburg, while Walton and Washingtonville play the other game. The host school won the tournament in 2014, and was the runner-up to Washingtonville last year when the gym was officially named for Coach McGinnis.
On opening night of the tournament, spectators were due to see a banner that celebrates Coach Howe’s Hall of Fame Induction and his more than 400 wins with Cornwall teams. The banner will be added to those on the gym wall.
2 GAMES — Points: Alemany 20, Swaby 20, Fosstveit 14, Fredericks 14, Kirk 5, Lynch 5, Carton 4, Geddes 4. Threes: Fosstveit, Lynch. Free throws: Alemany 4-5, Carton 2-2, Lynch 2-2, Swaby 2-3.