HERKIMER, N.Y. – The Little Falls Mounties played spoilers Monday and prevented Herkimer from claiming an outright league championship by beating the Magicians 66-56 in the regular season finale for both squads.

"It was a bad day to have a bad day," Herkimer coach Mark Blask said.

"All the credit goes to Little Falls. They came out with so much more energy than we had."

The league-leading Magicians (13-7, 6-2 CSC-II) had already clinched a tie for first place in Division II of the Center State Conference and needed either a win Monday or a West Canada Valley loss to claim the title for themselves. West Canada Valley (17-3, 6-2 CSC-II) closed out its 69-48 win in Dolgeville a short time before the score in Herkimer went final.

The results left Herkimer and West Canada Valley as co-champions in a division won the last two years by the departed Cooperstown Hawkeyes.

Little Falls (10-10, 3-5 CSC-II) jumped on Herkimer early, scoring the first 15 points of the game and never trailing in a victory that leveled their record at the .500 mark as attention turns to the Section III playoffs.

"This was a nice win against a great program," said Little Falls coach Brian Dodge whose Mounties were beaten 58-48 at home in an earlier meeting with the Magicians. "We knew they were going to bring it tonight, and I think we played our best game of the season.

"We showed what we’re capable of. We’ve played so many close games against good teams and didn’t pull it out. To come here on the road and get a win, that’s a boost for sectionals."

Blask called his first timeout with the division-leading Magicians trailing 11-0. After the stoppage, Little Falls added two more baskets before Herkimer finally put its first points on the board when James Aiello hit a three-pointer in the final minute of the first quarter.

The margin was 14 points at halftime and Little Falls pushed it to 20 with consecutive three-pointers by Ryan Feane, Mack Failing, and Feane again midway through the third quarter.

The Magicians entered the fourth quarter trailing 47-30 but quickly cut their deficit to single digits. Another three by Aiello got them started on an 11-2 run to open the period, and a three by Mardoni Laguerre made it a 50-44 game with 4:48 left to play.

"We had to play uphill all night," Blask said, "and we got to the fourth quarter and we still had a shot."

Herkimer would get no closer than six points in the fourth quarter, but stayed within striking distance despite a pair of technical fouls that Little Falls converted into points at the free throw line. The Mounties his 15 of their first 18 foul shots in the fourth quarter, including seven of the eight that followed the technicals which were tacked onto fouls that had already been called.

Aiello’s fourth and final three-pointer got the margin under 10 points for the last time with less than one minute to play.

Feane led Little Falls with 25 points, shooting 7-for-8 from the foul line and hitting four threes of his own. Failing added 13 points, Mason Trumbull scored 11, and Pat Reardon had eight.

Aiello scored 18 points to lead Herkimer which got 13 each from Laguerre and James Healy. Jordyn Lanaux, the Magicians’ leading scorer at 22 points per game, was held to a season-low four.

"We played defense, we protected the ball, and everybody knew their role tonight," Dodge said.

Meanwhile, West Canada Valley was taking care of its business across Herkimer County. The Indians only led by nine points at halftime in their game but outscored Dolgeville 18-10 in the third quarter and 40-28 in the second half.

The Indians, division leaders before losing back-to-back games against Herkimer and Frankfort-Schuyler last week, had 10 players score and spread the offensive wealth to close the regular season. Tyler Franklin had a team-high 10 points and hit two of West Canada Valley’s 10 three-pointers. Jacob Smith and Jaeden Beam each scored nine points, Matt Tobin, Steve Morreale and Cory Collard each had eight, Collard with a team-high five rebounds.

"I’m happy for the kids, first and foremost," first-year coach David Smith said. "If I had to pick one word for this team, it would be ‘resilient.’"

The Indians enter the postseason with 17 wins, including their last four in a row. Two of their three losses came during a week when the flu hit the team and took two regular contributors out of action.

Austin Green had 12 points and 10 rebounds for Dolgeville Monday, Brandon Link added nine and 10, and Brenden Fahd scored 11 points.

Section III will seed its playoffs Wednesday.


LITTLE FALLS (10-10, 3-5 CSC-II) – Ryan Feane 7 7-8 25; Cal Barnett 1 3-4 5; Mason Trumbull 4 3-4 11; Kyle Stowell 0 0-0 0; Eddie Rogers 0 0-0 0; Mack Failing 4 4-6 13; Parker Tooley 1 0-2 2; Teddy Schoff 1 0-0 2; Kaden Calafrancesco 0 0-0 0; Pat Reardon 4 0-0 8. Totals: 22 17-24 66.

HERKIMER (13-7, 6-2 CSC-II) – Jordyn Lanaux 2 0-0 6; Billy Stark 2 0-2 4; James Aiello 6 2-3 18; James Healy 4 2-2 13; Matt Gallagher 1 0-0 2; Mardoni Laguerre 5 1-1 13; Dylan Lyle 0 0-0 0; Zach Parmon 0 0-0 0; Hunter Roth 0 0-0 0. Totals: 20 5-8 56.

Little Falls  15  17  15  19 – 66

Herkimer  5  13  12  26 – 56

Three-pointers – Little Falls 5 (Feane 4, Failing 1); Herkimer 11 (Aiello 4, Healy 3, Laguerre 2, Lanaux 2).