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Tight division races highlight DG hoops action

The action was fast and furious at the Dwarf Giraffe gymnasium, as several of the top contenders in each division squared off in what were exciting and competitive games that weren’t decided until the final buzzer.

Minor Division

In a tight, competitive contest that saw the lead change hands throughout the game, Cosmo Maintenance defeated Duffner&Voight, 45-43. Cosmo jumped out to an early lead on the strength of the smooth outside shooting of Michael Berndt and inside baskets from Andrew Lehr, only to see Duffner battle back to go in front. Duffner opened a five-point lead in the third quarter on several baskets from Elliot Nasser, but Cosmo regrouped to regain the advantage. A fourth-quarter steal and bucket by Jose Barcena and a clutch basket and free throw from Joe Lumley iced the win for Cosmo. Cosmo’s offense was led by Jose Barcena (19), Michael Berndt (11), Andrew Lehr (8) and Joseph Lumley (7). Duffner received strong performances from Mena Yacoub (21), Elliot Nasser (15) and Jason Brandes (6).

In a very close, exciting game, Franklin’s Printing defeated powerhouse Cosmo Maintenance, 38-34. Down 30-21 entering the fourth quarter, Franklin Printing outscored Cosmo Maintenance, 17-4, led by clutch shooting and great defense by Mike Giaccio and Max Meltzer with 11 points each, Mike Wiederhol and Lucas Lay each with six, and Angelo Castallanos with four points. Collapsing defense by Tommy Schreiber and the whole Franklin’s Printing team contributed to the win. Cosmo Maintenance was led by the trio of Jose Barcena, 16 points, Andrew Lehr, eight points and Mike Berndt, seven points.

“Those three are a handful,” said the coach of Franklin’s Printing, “But our defense really stepped it up in the fourth quarter.”

Franklin’s Printing defeated Golden Auto Body, 33-21. Franklin’s Printing was led by Max Meltzer, who had his best all-around game while scoring 14 points. Lucas Lay was a monster off the boards, grabbing 27 rebounds and adding 11 blocked shots and scoring six points. The playmaking of Mike Giaccio — six points — and Mike Wiederhol — five points — and strong defense by Tommy Schreiber and Anthony Romanelli — two points — was the difference. Joey Anderkravich led Golden Auto Body with nine points with strong play out of Joey Depperman and Mike Kern, each with two points.

Franklin’s Printing defeated Pizza Chef in a hard-ought battle, 37-29. The stifling defense was led by Mike Giaccio, who held Pizza Chef’s leading scorer, Erhan Sencer, to eight points. Late in the game with the score 33-29, Mike Wiederhol hit four clutch free throws to seal the win. Max Meltzer had a team high 11 points. Lucas Lay once again dominated the boards and blocked 10 shots, but came two points short of his first triple-double. Defense and hustle by Anthony Romanelli (2), Angelo Castellanos (2), and Tommy Schreiber helped in the victory. Pizza Chef was led by Glen Barker with 13, Peter Dipietrantonios with nine points and Erhan Sencer with eight.

In a defensive battle, Bashnagel Bros. Roofing defeated Cherry Valley Deli, 39-34. Bashnagel was led to victory by high scorer Edward Johnston with 27 points. Point guard Adam Breidbart handed out seven assists, center Paul Roedel had a team high of 11 rebounds and Sean Gilmartin added eight rebounds. Scott Seminerio played aggressive defense and created numerous turnovers, while super-sub Filippo Gattoni added six steals. The victory was a total team effort. Cherry Valley Deli was led by the strong play of Justin Finkelman, Joe Licul and Joe Burke.

Bantam Division

Varsi Deli shot the lights out at the DG gym as they overcame Big Apple BBQ in a thriller, 29-28. A great team defensive effort was the difference in the game, as Varsi was led by the hot shooting of Chris Kekovski with 11 points, Patrick Berndt with nine points and Louis Kabatnik and Kenny Lehr with six and three, respectively. The game hung in the balance throughout the fourth period until Chris Kekovski’s clutch foul shoot gave his team the lead and Varsi’s defense came up big on Big Apple’s last two possessions. Big Apple was led by the fine all-around play of Nick Katakalides and Joseph Kurtz.

Varsi Deli continued their fine play with a win over Metro Interior Contracting, 21-16. It was a close game for most of the first half until Varsi found their shooting range in the third period and were able to pull out to a seven-point lead. Chris Kekovski with seven points, Kenny Lehr with six and Louis Kabatnik with four led the offense, while Patrick Berndt contributed two points and several fine assists. Manuel Barcena had two points and, along with Billy Brady, contributed several important rebounds and played solid inside defense. Metro was led by Aris Santis, Logan Frankel and Joseph Schade.

Jam played Stitches in an exciting game, coming from behind in the second quarter to win 26-25. Excellent offensive play from Chris Franceschini, Joey Depperman and Frank Obidienzo and great defense from Anthony Gismundi, Eddie Nasser, Derek Capponi, Frankie Vellucci and Nick Psoras contributed to the win.

Stitches defeated VFW Post #4784, as center Mike Higgins had a career high 10 blocks and nine rebounds. Giancarlo Santillo had 17 points, while hitting 6-of-7 free throws. Jesse Hammel had two steals and played great all-around defense.

In a well-played game by both teams, Big Apple BBQ overcame Carvel late in the game to win 22-21. Nicky Katakalides led Big Apple with 14, seven coming in the last period. Joey Kurtz put up six, while Steven McGory chipped in two. Carvel’s offense was led by Chris Garthright with eight points, Danny Santeufemia with six points, Steven Efkarpides with five and Anthony Merkele chipping in two. Team defense was led by Kevin Conklin, Dustin Lee, Max Popper and Andrew Silvestri.

Carvel followed this effort with an exciting win over Nappa & Sonoma Steakhouse, 22-21. Chris Garthright led the offense for Carvel with 12 points and hit the winning shot. Danny Santeufemia and Kevin Conklin both poured in four points, while Andrew Silvestri hit his first two points. Defense was led by Danny Santeufemia and Anthony Merkele with two steals each. Nappa’s offense was led by the tag team of Derek Lamacchia and Steven Mare, both with six. Chris Marzano and Andrew Hong teamed up for four apiece. Andrew McClean teamed up with his brother Mark McClean on defense and rebounding.

Novice Division

The DG Nets won their fourth straight game, posting a 20-4 win over the DG Knicks. Outstanding play was provided by Jenna Schiffman, Mathew Mora, Travis Lippert, John Doyle and Blake Brown.

The DG Lakers continue to play strongly, winning four of their last six games. The team has been led by the high scoring of Jordan Chateau and Anthony Scarallo. Strong contributions have also been received from John Sideris, Catherine and Andrea Prunella, Constantine Pougiouklides and Evangelos Tsiklides.

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