The varsity boys basketball team made the short trip up Far Hills Avenue this afternoon to compete in the annual Premier Health Flyin’ to the Hoop basketball showcase. Due to the threat of bad weather, the Elks opponent was changed last night as was their game time. With a new game time of 4:45, the Elks were now matched against Oak Ridge High School from Orlando, Florida. Oak Ridge came into the game at 12-3 and ranked sixth in the Max Preps Florida State Poll.
In the first quarter, the two teams traded baskets up to the final minute. At that point, senior Jason Sneed cut back door and received a beautiful pass from fellow senior Matt Pearce which led to a nice dunk and a 10-9 Elks lead. The defense would hold on the Pioneers’ next possession and the Elks would score again to take a three-point lead, 12-9, at the end of the first quarter. In the second quarter, the two teams again played to a stalemate. The Pioneers outscored the Elks, 12-11, to trim the lead to two, 23-21, as the two teams headed to their respective locker rooms at halftime.
In the second half, the Elks expanded their lead to three, 29-26, with 4:58 left in the third quarter. They then amped up their defensive pressure and hit timely baskets to close the quarter on a 9-0 run to take a 12-point lead, 38-26, to the fourth quarter. If anyone thought the Pioneers were just going to go away, they were sorely mistaken. They opened the fourth quarter with a quick, 8-0, run to cut the lead to four, 38-34, with 6:27 left in the game. Over the next 3:20, the Elks outscored the Pioneers, 9-7, to expand their lead to six, 47-41, with 3:07 left in the game. They would stretch the lead to nine, 55-46, with 1:19 left before the Pioneers made one final push to pull within seven, 57-50, with 1:02 left. The Elks would hit their free throws the rest of the way and continue their stingy defense en route to an 11-point win, 63-52.
Senior Ryan Marchal had an incredible game and led the Elks with 22 points. He was joined in double figures by Jason Sneed with 17 and Matt Pearce with 10.
Now 8-5 overall and winners of four straight, the Elks are back in action on Tuesday night when they travel south to take on the Fairfield Indians. The freshman black game tips at 4:30, the JV at 6:00 and the varsity at 7:30.