Erie Mason tops Whiteford to take lead in TCC boys basketball
ERIE – Best player on the bench in street clothes?
With their leading scorer and rebounder missing his second straight game with an injury, the Erie Mason Eagles sank nine 3-pointers and put the clamps on a Whiteford offense that came into the game averaging 67 points a game during an eight-game win streak.
That win streak came to a halt as the Eagles beat the Bobcats 49-40 and took sole possession of first place in the Tri-County Conference.
“It was a really big game,” Mason’s Alex Langenderfer said. “We shot the ball well.”
That is an understatement. Langenderfer hit two of the Mason triples, Casey Brown two and Xavier Wise four. At one point, Mason had a string of six straight triples as they built a 16-point lead on the Bobcats in front of a nice Friday night crowd in Erie. What made the win even more impressive was the fact that Carson Brown, Mason’s top scorer and leading 3-point shooter, was out.
“It hurts us when he’s out, but we have other guys that can shoot the ball,” Langenderfer said.
Once the Eagles built the lead, Mason head coach Kevin Skaggs braced for a furious Whiteford comeback by going to a four-corner offense, creating room on the floor for his guards to dribble and drive to the hole. It worked to perfection.
“An old coach, and very good coach, once told me to win with what you have,” the veteran Skaggs said. “We have guards. That’s what we have. That’s what we do.”
Mason’s guards disrupted a Bobcat offense that had been rolling since a post-Christmas tournament. The Bobcats turned the ball over on six of its first nine possessions and didn’t score until 3:29 was left in the first quarter.
The Bobcats came back to tie the game at 8-8 on a bank shot by Hunter DeBarr but Casey Brown drilled a 3-pointer at the first quarter buzzer for a 11-8 Eagle lead. Brown spent the last 28 seconds of the quarter dribbling the clock down until he was set for the perfect shot.
Mason outscored the Bobcats 18-8 in the second quarter, making five more triples, and went into halftime up 29-16.
“Credit Mason,” Whiteford coach Nick Abalos said. “They have really nice guards and they played really good defense on us. They packed it in a little bit and pushed us out to where we aren’t as comfortable.”
Mason still led 41-30 to start the fourth quarter.
Langenderfer and Wyatt Knopp hit back-to-back buckets to open the final period for a 45-30 Mason lead with 5:19 left, forcing Abalos to call a timeout.
Lincoln Joerin and Ryin Ruddy followed with layups to make it 45-34. Shea Ruddy sank a layup to make it 45-36 with 1:39 left and Joerin had a steal and nifty layup to make it 45-38 with 59 seconds left, but Mason did just enough down the stretch to close out the game.
“We’ve played a good schedule, maybe the best since I’ve been here,” Skaggs said. “That prepares us for games like this. I’m proud of how these kids stepped up. We’re still learning a little to play without Carson, but think of how much better we’re going to be when we get him back.”
Langenderfer finished with 15 points, Wise 12 and Casey Brown 10.
“That’s good balance,” Skaggs added.
Erie Mason is now 8-4 overall and 6-0 in the TCC. Whiteford saw its winning streak end and dropped to 5-1 in the TCC and 9-4 overall.
Joerin and DeBarr led the team with 10 points each. Whiteford’s two leading scorers were held to a combined 9 points.
“We want to get to a point where we are playing meaningful games, big games like that and tonight we did,” Abalos said. “We learned some things for next time we play them.”
ERIE MASON: Langenderfer 6 (2) 1-3 15, Casey Brown 3 (2) 2-4 10, Wise 4 (4) 0-1 12, K. Herrera 1 (1) 1-2 4, Iocangeli 1 2-2 4, T. Herrera 1 0-2 2, Knopp 1 0-0 2. Totals 17 (9) 6-14 49.
WHITEFORD: Joerin 5 0-0 10, S. Ruddy 3 0-0 6, R. Ruddy 2 1-2 5, Parker 1 2-3 4, DeBarr 4 (1) 1-1 10, Rasor 1 2-2 4, Waterford 0 1-2 1. Totals 16 (1) 7-9 40.
This article originally appeared on The Monroe News: Erie Mason tops Whiteford to take lead in TCC boys basketball