HUNTINGDON, Pa.- The Randolph and Stockton men's basketball teams faced off in the championship game of the Juniata College Comfort Inn Holiday Tournament on Friday afternoon. The WildCats withstood a rally by the Ospreys in the second half and won by the final score of 84-80.
The win evens Randolph's record at 6-6 overall. Stockton drops to 6-4.
The 'Cats sank three consecutive three-point shots to start the game off and led 9-1 less than two minutes into the game. It was a 12-8 contest with 16:26 showing on the clock before the WildCats doubled the lead to go ahead 16-8.
Randolph's lead jumped to 10 points, 25-15, after a three-point bucket by Jerry Goodman (Suffolk, Va./Portsmouth Christian School). Stockton cut its deficit to single digits but the WildCats increased their lead to as much as 13 points, 36-23, with 5:24 remaining in the half. The Ospreys chipped away but the WildCats were still able to maintain a 44-36 advantage at halftime.
The Ospreys came alive in the second half as they opened up making five of their first six three-point attempts to knot the game at 55-55 at the 14:14 mark. A 7-0 run gave the 'Cats a seven-point lead but Stockton was able to keep up as it once again tied the game up at 65-65 with 8:22 remaining.
Goodman's free throw inched the WildCats up to a one point lead but a layup by the Osprey's Steve Ferbee gave Stockton its first lead of the game 67-66. Randolph wrestled the lead back as Sammy Hooper (Richmond, Va./Midlothian) sank a three but Stockton again would tie with 6:14 left.
Randolph was able to get ahead and take back the lead but the Ospreys would be nipping at their heels. The WildCats led 75-74 with 2:33 remaining and were able to hold off Stockton as they outscored the Ospreys 9-6 down the stretch to claim the win.
"I think our style helped us win the game," said head coach Pete Hamilton. "17 assists on 24 made field goals is how we want to play. We attacked on our toes after breaking pressure that led to catch and shoots and free throw attempts."
Hooper led all scorers with 25 points on 6-of-12 shooting and was 4-of-9 from behind the three-point arc. He also grabbed eight rebounds and dished out five assists. He was named the Most Valuable Player. Brian Smith (Dumfries, Va./C.D. Hylton) added 16 points and three assists and was selected to the All-Tournament Team.
Goodman scored 16 points off the bench with all four of his baskets coming via three point field goals. CJ Loving (Madison Heights, Va./Amherst County) was the fourth WildCat to reach double figures with 10 points.
"Our guard play was exceptional against a scrambled defensive system," noted Hamilton. "From Sammy and Brian to guys like Jerry Goodman coming off the bench - we contested shots defensively and kept consistency offensively. Brian got in a tough spot when he picked up his 4th foul with over 12 minutes to go-I think it shows how much of a gamer that guy is when he came back in after sitting a long time and immediately knocked down a corner 3 to put us back up 4."
Randolph was 24-of-44 (54.5%) from the floor and a season-best 13-of-22 (59.1%) from three-point land.
The WildCats take a break for the holidays and return to the floor in the New Year when they travel to North Carolina for an Old Dominion Athletic Conference battle with Guilford on January 2. Game time will be at 7:30 p.m.
"It was an impressive two day stretch of consistency for our guys," said Hamilton. We've got to clean some things up heading back into ODAC play but our confidence and our pace didn't waver and those have been two struggles for us. We're still growing and still learning. I hope this can help us realize what we can be when we do things consistently and together for 40 minutes. Anytime a team can win some hardware it's special. We've got work to do but we will enjoy this one!"