The Herkimer High School boys basketball team had a chance to win the Center State Conference Division II title outright for the second time in three years.
Little Falls' Mounties had other ideas.
The Mounties scored the first 15 points, led by 22 midway through the second half, and held off a late charge to beat Herkimer 66-56 in one of Monday night's CSC regular-season finales.
That Little Falls win, coupled with West Canada Valley's 69-48 victory over Dolgeville, means Herkimer (6-2, 13-7) and West Canada Valley (6-2, 18-3) will share the CSC Division II title.
"It was a bad day to have a bad day," said Mark Blask, in his third season as Herkimer's head coach and his third year as the Mayor of Little Falls. "But all of the credit goes to Little Falls. They came out energized and they outworked us. ...
"We're not happy with the result, but overall, sharing the title isn't the worst thing in the world. We'll just have to learn from this and get ready for (the playoffs)."
Section III tournament pairings for boys and girls basketball will be released Wednesday, and Little Falls (3-5, 10-10) helped its cause with the win.
"They're going to be a tough out," Blask said of the Mounties, who got four 3s and 25 points from senior guard Ryan Feane. Mack Failing added 13 points.
Junior James Aiello scored a career-high 18 points and sophomore Mardoni LaGuerre had 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Magicians, who had won seven straight games, including a 54-44 victory over West Canada Valley and a 58-48 win over Little Falls.
Six of those seven straight wins were by no more than 10 points. Little Falls, meanwhile, had lost four straight CSC Division II games by 6, 10, 9 and 5 points before last Friday's 66-24 win over Dolgeville.
West Canada Valley made sure it did its part with a win at Dolgeville on Monday night. Tyler Franklin scored 10 points and Matt Tobin and Cory Collard had eight points each for West Canada Valley.
Two other CSC league champions - Division I Holland Patent and Division IV Oriskany - ended their regular seasons with wins Monday night.
At Holland Patent, Colin Corrigan scored 23 points Josh Ernst had 12 and D.H. Harter added 11 as the Golden Knights (8-0, 16-4) turned back Clinton 69-59. The league title is the first for Holland Patent in 20 years. Matt Hobika led Clinton (5-3, 10-10) with 21 points.
In another CSC Division I game, Hunter Lane's 19 points led Sherburne-Earlville to a 64-42 win over Adirondack.
In CSC Division IV, Oriskany (13-1, 18-2) made it three straight league titles outright with a 74-38 victory over Morrisville-Eaton in its regular-season finale. Ricky Phelps scored 16 points, Aaron Warcup had 13 and John Longeretta added 10 as Oriskany rolled to a 13th consecutive win.
Elsewhere in CSC Division IV, Sean Hunt scored 23 points and Trevor Dow had 20 points and seven steals as Hamilton (12-2, 16-4) ended the regular season with a 62-38 win over Owen D. Young. New York Mills, meanwhile, made 13 3s - Alex Matrassi had 25 points and five 3s and eighth-grader Logan Copperwheat had 22 points and six 3s - in an 81-68 win at Old Forge. Josh Kelly scored 27 points and had six assists for the Eskimos. Hunter Jones and Jacob Rowlands scored 16 points each in Remsen’s 61-38 CSC IV win over Poland.
In CSC Division III, junior guard Jack Lambert scored his 1,000th point, senior center Owen Kennedy broke the school’s single-season rebound record, and Cooperstown (6-1, 17-3) kept its hopes of sharing the league title alive with an 82-51 win over Sauquoit Valley.
The 6-foot-8 Kennedy had 24 points and 19 rebounds – giving him a school-record 331 this season – Lambert scored 14 points, and Calvin Sandler had six assists for the Hawkeyes, who end their regular season at first-place Westmoreland on Tuesday night. Cooperstown, ranked 16th in the Class C state poll, has won four in a row since a 74-71 loss to Westmoreland ended a 12-game winning streak.
Westmoreland (7-0 CSC Division II, 16-3 overall) tuned up for that rematch with a 68-57 nonleague win over Frankfort-Schuyler in a CSC crossover. Luke Fredsell scored 24 points for the Bulldogs. Matt Barton scored 21 points and Adam Haddad had 17 for the Maroon Knights.