Vesuvio's made history on Friday night, becoming the first ever sixth-seed to capture the Eastern Schuylkill Recreation Commission (ESRC) summer basketball league championship with a 71-64 victory over previously undefeated Mike Stower Coal & Oil.
Vesuvio's played the underdog role to perfection during playoff week by defeating third-seed R.R. Frey Services (63-60) on Monday night, second-seed and defending league champion Ryan's Oil & Heating (50-48) on Wednesday night, and top overall seed Mike Stower Coal & Oil on Friday.
Trailing by double digits at halftime, Mike Stower Coal & Oil continued to chip away in the second half behind big man Damian Fritz. Fritz scored 19 of his game-high 27 points in the second half and rallied Stower's.
With 3:10 remaining in the game, Stower's point guard Christian Laputka tied the game at 56-56 with a driving layup. However, Vesuvio's Joe Madochick answered back by draining a three-pointer from the left corner to give his team a 59-56 edge. With Vesuvio's clinging to a 63-60 lead, Madochick came up big again with another trey that extended the lead to 66-60. Stower's closed the deficit to four points twice in the closing minute, but each time, Vesuvio's responded with points of its own.
Madochick, who came off the bench, scored 14 of his season-high 20 points in the final ten minutes, including three huge three-pointers. Ibis Saracina added 17 points, while Mike DeMarco and Dan Maguschak chipped in with 14 points apiece. DeMarco also hauled in 12 rebounds for the double-double.
For Mike Stower Coal & Oil (9-1), Fritz scored 27 points on 10 field goals and pulled down 11 rebounds to lead the way. Laputka tallied 14 points while league scoring leader and League MVP Ethan Eichhorst was held to just 10 points as he was in foul trouble for much of the game.
With the win, Vesuvio's (7-4) will represent the ESRC and the Tamaqua-area in this's week's Catasauqua Tournament of Champions held at the Catasauqua Borough Playground. Vesuvio's first round game will be on Monday evening at 7:30 p.m. when they take on the championship team of the Allentown Jewish Community Center Ted Glass League.
Madochick 5-7-8-20, Saracina 7-1-2-17, DeMarco 4-6-11-14, Rivas 0-0-1-0, Maguschak 7-0-0-14, Natt 2-0-0-6. TOTALS: 25-14-22-71.
MIKE STOWER COAL & OIL
Fritz 10-7-10-27, Dion 0-0-0-0, E. Eichhorst 5-0-0-10, Mujovic 3-0-0-9, Laputka 6-1-3-14, A. Eichhorst 0-0-0-0, Sharkey 0-0-0-0, Broyan 1-0-0-2, DeCosmo 1-0-0-2. TOTALS: 26-8-13-64.
Vesuvio's 17 20 8 26 - 71
Stower C&O 16 12 14 22 - 64
Three-Pointers: Vesuvio's - Madochick 3, Saracina 2, Natt 2; Mike Stower Coal & Oil - Mujovic 3, Laputka 1.
Ethan Eichhorst (Mike Stower C&O)
ALL-ESRC FIRST TEAM
Mike DeMarco (Vesuvio's)
Ethan Eichhorst (Mike Stower)
Jeremy Frey (R.R. Frey)
Damian Fritz (Mike Stower)
Dan Maguschak (Vesuvio's)
Joe Schaeffer (Ryan's)
ALL-ESRC SECOND TEAM
Ryan Achenbach (R.R. Frey)
Jim Barron (R.R. Frey)
Mike Conley (DJ 101)
Aaron Mantz (Batter's Box)
Jon Scheuer (Ryan's)
Erick Trabal (Batter's Box)