PPR SPORTS NCCS Beekmantown 011014

P-R PHOTO/GABE DICKENS Northeastern Clinton's Matt LaFave (left) attempts to drive past Beekmantown's Brandon Provost during Thursday's Northern Basketball League boys' game at Beekmantown Central School. The Cougars won 60-39.

Just one boys’ Northern Basketball League team has been able to solve Northeastern Clinton’s tenacious 2-3 zone.

Beekmantown wasn’t able to add its name to that select list Thursday.

The Cougars (9-1, 5-1) forced 21 turnovers, holding the Eagles (3-6, 1-4) to two fourth-quarter points in a 60-39 Division I win.

“We definitely knew we had to extend ourselves on Greg Manney, who’s an unbelievable player,” Northeastern Clinton coach Robb Garrand said. “First and foremost, that was our game plan. I just thought we were really active on our feet and got into our recovery positions well (Thursday).”

Manney, who entered the contest second in league scoring with 17 points per game, was held scoreless in the first half.

“We knew Manney was a phenomenal shooter, and we knew that we had to mark him up,” Austin Tetreault said. “I feel like we did a really good job marking him up and closing it in when they passed it to the middle.”

Tetreault played a significant role in his team’s early success in the first quarter.

The junior guard knocked down two of his game-high three 3-pointers, helping the Cougars to a 17-3 run to close out the opening stanza.

“It’s such a huge confidence booster,” Tetreault said. “When we do well on offense, it’s going to help us come out flying on defense.

“We knew we had to come out flying, especially in the first quarter. In our past three games, we’ve started out slow. It was one thing we preached going in.”

Tetreault finished the ballgame with 13 points on five converted field goals.

With efficient ball movement, Northeastern Clinton was able to get good looks around the perimeter, managing a 16-point lead at halftime.

“The problem that we’ve had this season is never playing that complete game,” Garrand said. “But I thought we did a good job cutting to the lanes with just good movement.

“We will have great success when we have a good balance of inside and out. When our post players draw attention, it gives attention to our guards and vice versa. It was just a well-rounded, unselfish effort (Thursday) evening.”

Giving Garrand that element of balance in the post was Jon Filion, who scored 10 of his game-high 16 points in the second half.

Adam Khater (9) and Joe Murphy (8) also attacked the rim, combing for 17 points in the paint. Rodney Grimshaw and Garrett Begore finished with seven and five points, respectively.

Manney, who appeared to be battling an illness, knocked down one 3-pointer and added six free throws for nine points for Beekmantown.

Brennan Pelkey scored all nine of his points in the opening frame. Ryan Converse’s team also received an eight-point contribution from Alex Price.

In the 21-point victory, Garrand was most pleased with his team’s mental toughness.

“I just think we were mentally prepared for this one,” Garrand said. “We’ve had some really tough practices lately to help with mental focus. It’s not OK just being good. We’re trying to make people great.

“We just have to continue to work hard. The nice thing about this team is you’re going to get contributions from a number of different players. I’m able to look to the bench a lot more than before. I saw a lot of leadership from a lot of players (Thursday).”

Northeastern Clinton 60, Beekmantown 39

Northeastern Clinton (60)

Brown 0-0-0, Lafave 1-0-2, Tetreault 5-0-13, Begore 1-2-5, Khater 4-1-9, Filion 5-6-16, Murphy 3-2-8, Grimshaw 3-0-7. Totals: 22-11-60.

Beekmantown (39)

Manney 1-6-9, Price 3-2-8, Remchuk 2-0-5, Pepper 1-0-2, Danussi 0-1-1, Mitchell 0-0-0, Provost 2-1-5, Pelkey 4-1-9. Totals: 13-11-39.

Northeastern Clinton 21 16 14 9 — 60

Beekmantown 10 11 16 2 — 39

3-point goals: Northeastern Clinton (5) Tetreault 3, Begore, Grimshaw. Beekmantown (2) Manney, Remchuk.

Email Ricky St. Clair:rstclair@pressrepublican.comTwitter: @Ricky_PRSports