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The Jefferson Falcons snapped a 3-game losing streak Thursday night, with a hard battled 57-55 win over the Wallkill Valley Rangers, in a game which would need more than just 32 minutes as it went to double OT. The win brought the Falcons up to a solid 9-6 record, as the Rangers fell back to 12-5.

The double headed back-court of seniors Joe Batelli and Stefan Tisma led the stat sheet for the Falcons, as Tisma tallied 20, and Batelli finished the night with 17. As for Wallkill, they were led by senior Shane Geene who put together a 19-point effort, and junior Shawn Faulk who added 15.

The first quarter got out to the start the Falcons needed after coming out sluggish in their last 3 games. However, the quarter would end all Wallkill as they finished the first with a 8-0 run, capped off with a vicious dunk by Geene.

The second quarter had a similar storyline, as the Falcons just couldn’t keep pace with the Rangers. However, a barrage of threes from Tisma and Batelli kept the Falcons around as they went into the halftime locker rooms with 7 point deficit.

The second half began the high scoring. The Falcons scored 14 in the quarter (just 5 less than they scored all of the first half), 8 of which came from Tisma who continues his great shooting on the season. Overall the quarter still wasn’t enough to take the lead away from Wallkill as they still leaded by 4 heading into the final quarter.

Wallkill held the lead for most of the quarter and looked as if they were going to come away with the win. However, the Falcons continuously stepped up on defense highlighted by Batelli, Paul Monaco, and Matthew Johnson. Ultimately, the Rangers were still leading by two with just one minute remaining in the game.

With just 40 seconds left in the quarter, a missed shot from the Falcons led the gymnasium to believe that the Falcons would continue their losing streak. Monaco had different ideas though, as he fought for the ball and caused a jump ball to retain possession and get one last chance for J-town. That’s when Johnson hit the biggest shot of his high school career, tying the game at 47, with just 20 seconds left.

However, Wallkill still had plenty of time. After a timeout, the Rangers drew up a perfect play to get Shawn Falk an open shot at the buzzer, but the shot was turned away by Johnson, sending the nailbiter into overtime.

One overtime still was not enough to decide this game as both teams scored just 4 points in the extra time, sending the game to a second overtime at 51-51.

The second overtime was a roller coaster ride. First the Falcons grabbed a 1 point lead with a Johnson free throw. Geene would come back with a quick bucket of his own to put the Rangers back in front by 1. With just 2 minutes to go, Tisma grabbed a great offensive rebound and got a putback layup to get the Falcons the lead back. On the other end, Geene refused to be stopped, he nailed another layup for the lead yet again. After Falcons missed opportunities, the loss seemed inevitable for the struggling Falcons. However, life was not lost yet as Tisma caused a turnover on a Rangers inbound play to get the Falcons one last chance.

Jefferson would not miss this opportunity, as Batelli hit a last second three-pointer from way beyond the arc to secure the 57-55 win for the Falcons.

“It felt awesome, Wallkill is a great team. The coaches drew the play up for me and it felt just amazing seeing it fall for the win,” said Batelli on the buzzer beater. “We had a lot of long talks, and now we’re back, now we just gotta keep rolling,” said Batelli on snapping the losing streak.

“It felt amazing, as soon as he shot it I knew it was falling. Everyone’s reactions were crazy and our team feeds off that energy really well, we got to close that tough game out and it felt awesome,” said senior Pat Burns, on the bench and crowds reaction to the final shot. “Our whole bench was pumped up. The starters were telling me to calm down a little, but, I had to keep going because again, we feed off that energy and it was just amazing tonight.”

“It feels amazing, the other 4 starters are great scorers, which I struggle with a little bit. So, I do what I can in other areas and just go get them the ball,” said Monaco on his hustle plays down the stretch. “At the end of the day we got the win I don’t really care what I do that’s all that matters to me,” said Monaco, on the love he gets for being the hustle guy.

Wallkill Valley looks to jump back in the win column was they get a visit Lenape Valley on Saturday. As for the Falcons, they square up against Kinnelon Saturday, looking to stay hot.

Box Score

Wallkill Valley 15 11 11 19 (4) (4) 55
Jefferson 6 13 14 14 (4) (6) 57


Wallkill Valley
Zane Crum 2 0 1 2 0 0 5 0
Shawn Falk 4 6 1 4 6 0 15 0
Shane Geene 6 1 2 6 3 2 17 1
Reyes Madera 3 1 0 7 4 2 9 0
Ryan Nugent 0 2 0 5 1 0 6 2
Mason White 0 1 0 5 3 2 3 0

Joe Batelli 4 3 0 0 0 0 17 0
Richie Botti 1 1 0 0 0 0 5 0
David Hanna 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Matt Johnson 5 0 3 0 0 0 13 0
Paul Monaco 0 0 2 0 0 0 2 0
Stefan Tisma 3 4 2 0 0 0 20 0
Sean Whalen 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Johnny Knox is an intern at Morris Sussex Sports specializing in sports journalism. He's also a junior at Jefferson HS where he is also a varsity baseball player.

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