The #3 Mohawk Valley Hawks traveled to play at #2 Herkimer last night and came up just short on capping off a great second half comeback, 73-70. There were not many whistles early on as it was fast-paced end to end action for the first part of the game. After it settled down, Herkimer controlled the tempo for the remaining part of the first half. Every time that Mohawk Valley started to mount a little momentum, Herkimer would answer with a basket of their own and held a 38-31 halftime lead.
Early on in the second half, Herkimer extended the lead to 10 points, but that didn't worry Coach St. Croix and the Hawks. They began to pound the ball down low to Raekwon Holliman who had 15 of his game high 23 points in the second half. Jonathan Dean also came up big adding 18 points of his own including two 3-pointers. Both Holliman and Dean grabbed big rebounds that were instrumental in Mohawk Valley battling back and taking the lead late in the game. Dean grabbed a rebound and put it in the hoop, then the Hawks stole a pass up court and Eddie Mehmetaj hit a floater in the lane to push the Mohawk Valley lead to 67-62 with four minutes left in the game. Herkimer came out of the timeout and hit a 3-pointer and cut the Hawks lead to two points. Some late free throws were the deciding factor as Herkimer made both free throws with under 10 seconds left to push their lead to 73-70. Jordanny Cuevas-Marte's 3-point attempt to tie the game and force overtime at the buzzer hit the back of the rim and bounced out. Of the effort Coach St. Croix said, "I am very proud of our team's effort. They were not shaken when we were down by 10, they know basketball is a game of runs and that ours was coming at some point. They battled for 40 minutes and it just didn't go our way tonight, we played a very good Herkimer team and maybe we will see them again down the road."
The loss drops the #3 Mohawk Valley Hawks to 17-2 on the season with their next game being on the road Saturday at SUNY Adirondack. With the win, Herkimer moves to 17-1 and will host Clinton CC on Saturday.