In spite of Joe Stortini’s scoring and a helpful dose of Tatorade, the Red Hook Raiders dropped the Mid-Hudson Athletic League semifinal to MHAL Division II champs Marlboro, 67-65.
Red Hook showed good ball movement in the first few minutes, kicking the ball around the perimeter and scanning for open shots. Joe Stortini drained all three free throws on a three point foul to put Red Hook up, 9-4.
Marlboro couldn’t find its stroke in the first few minutes and looked uncertain on every field goal outside the paint. Marlboro would come back late, though, and was on top 12-11 to end the quarter.
Second string junior Brendan Tator came off the bench and opened the second with three consecutive field goals. No one else on Red Hook had the hot hand; the Raiders couldn’t drop anything and were alternately weak around the hoop on offense and muscled around the rim on the defensive end.
Red Hook looked more efficient toward the end of the period, scoring on some clutch baskets from George Sjutpan and Joe Stortini, but Marlboro sank a three to close the quarter and put the Dukes up 34-29.
Sjutpan came out of halftime flying, draining three field goals – but they were all answered by Marlboro on offense. Red Hook, feeling pushed, threw up some weak shots and couldn’t put down anything serious until a Stortini three pointer with one minute on the clock to make it 52-38 and a concurrent trey from Mike Rogers to make it 52-41. Brendan Tator would strike again, scoring on a crowd-pleasing baseline reverse layup and draining a fifteen-footer, giving Red Hook momentum and cutting the Marlboro lead to 7 going into the fourth.
The Raiders and the Dukes traded blows in the final quarter. Marlboro fouled Stortini on a fast break with 5:37 left. Stortini made both free throws to cut the Marlboro lead to one.
Marlboro regained momentum on a few easy baskets and a technical called on Ray Wright, although they would brick both free throws. A huge assist from Tator to Rogers made it 66-63 late in the fourth.
Red Hook, however, couldn’t buy a basket in the final minute and a half. The loss was made official after a lengthy dispute between Red Hook’s bench and the scoring table over a supposed non-call with milliseconds left on the clock.
Stortini led all scorers with 22 points, while Marlboro’s Austin Beck led his team with 15.