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5th Grade Boys Travel Finish Holiday Tourney With Upset Victory

Team effort results in win for Jr Dawgs.

The following was submitted by Mike Dzikowski:

The 5th grade boys, as they have done now the past two seasons, took to the road and entered another Holiday Tournament this past week. As in the past, these tourneys tend to be entered by "A" Teams of larger towns, and "Select" teams that feature teams with already more than 15 games under their belt. But that didn't discourage the Dawgs, who not only have played just 5 games this season, but were seriously short-handed due to the holiday week.

The lopsided losses that these boys have taken over the past year and 3 tournaments may seem to be paying off. (Last year, after playing in these tournaments, they went back into Conference play and went all the way to the Championship.) With only 1 win in 3 tournaments against these "A" or "Select" Teams, this year the Jr Dawgs looked to reverse the trend in the Readington Holiday Tournament (which included teams from PA as well as NJ).

The Jr. Dawgs bounced back from a first game 40-24 loss to Flemington, to lose the next game by only 3 (Dawgs missed a last second shot) to Mendham. But finished the Holiday Tournament by upsetting a top flight 14-1 Select Team in IHM 35-32 with only seven players. (To give you an idea, not only were they bigger, and more talented, this A team beat favorite A Team Chatham and has only lost to an outstanding Wayne PAL Team.)

Seemingly undersized, the Jr Dawg's "stingy" defense kept them in the game from the start. Playing a sagging 2-3 defense with basically 5 guards, Springfield managed to keep the game close at the end of the first quarter by falling behind just 12-9. However, a 14-point run by IHM before half would increase their lead to 26-14.  But that would be all the points IHM would manage as Springfield's defense lead by Cole McTernan (8 points 10 rebs) , Mike Kanarek (8 points, 9 rebs), Anthony Corigliano (3 points, 9 rebs, 5 steals) and Dave Ares (8 points, 5 rebs, 6 steals) would give up just 6 points the entire second half to the high scoring team from Scotch Plains.  

With only 3 minutes remaining in the game, a shocked group of caoches and IHM parents would watch Springfield cut the IHM lead to one when Ares hit 2 fouls shots and hit a driving lay-up on a turn-over. After another Springfield stop, Aiden Forys drove the right side for a layup to give the Dawgs its first lead of the game at 33-32 with just about 1minute left in the game. IHM would miss its final shot and with less than 20 seconds left in the game, on an inbound play from half court, a beautiful pass from AC to a wide open Kanarek for an easy lay up would seal the victory 35-32.  

In what a was a total team effort, Jordan Berkowitz (3 points, 1 reb)  Mark Cunningham (3 rebs, 1 steal )- this one win made the entire tournament worthwhile and the improvement over the course of these 3 games couldn't go un-noticed. IHM would go on to win the entire tournament .

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