Green Tech boys’ basketball drops in third quarter, surpasses Middletown

ALBANY — There were some aspects related to the first half of Thursday’s game, Green Tech boys’ basketball coach, DJ Jones, that DJ Jones had to be happy about against Middletown. Even though his team had a 16-minute lead of action, Jones could essentially have walked into the locker room and told his team to stop playing with their food.

“I said to them during halftime, ‘We got off to a quick start and then got comfortable and moved away from our game plan. Come out in the third quarter, organize, run our stuff, trust it and join the defense and we’ll be fine,” Jones said.

The Eagles came out and delivered on every front in the third quarter, forcing seven turnovers and limiting the Middies to shooting 2-for-11 with the second basket buzzing. Green Tech also ran the half course offense well, producing scoring opportunities for senior trio Dayshaun Walton, Zaveon Little and Victor Pharr. Together, they scored all points during a decisive 20-4 rise that gave them a 21-point lead as the Eagles shot to a 74-58 victory.

“Every team that plays against us is eager to beat us, and we are eager to win,” said Little. “This is a really good win.”

Green Tech (8-0), the only Section II big-school team to be ranked number 14 in the Class AA poll this week, turned a 40-35 cushion at halftime into a 60-39 spread with still 1:52 in the third quarter after a stunning drive and conversion by the 6-foot-6 Walton, who led the Eagles with 27 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists.

Jones thought Walton did exceptionally well during the third quarter, controlling the pace on both sides of the floor. He helped set up several quality chances for Little who delivered an all-around quality showing himself with 21 points, 19 rebounds and four assists.

“He’s a great player who can perform both offensively and defensively,” Walton said of Little. “He knows what he’s doing and knows where his spots are on the field.”

Not only did Little check the glass for the Eagles, but his defensive presence in the paint was key, as Middletown made just 5 of 27 shots after the break.

“I focus on rebounds and defense in every game,” said Little.

Little scored twice on baskets where he grabbed an offensive backboard and used the dribble to break up before standing up for a jumper in the lane. He added three three-pointers.

“Zaveon is just a great all-round guy,” Jones said. “These guys have all grown together because they are always together on and off the pitch. The camaraderie is there from day 1. They are selfless. They do everything together.”

Walton attacked the edge of the dribble and either scored himself on the shot and after committing a foul, or distributed the ball to teammates for open looks. Pharr, who contributed 13 points and nine rebounds, was the benefactor of some of Walton’s quality feeds.

“Victor is our main defensive stopper and his attack will be a result of those efforts,” Jones said.

The Middies (6-3) are undefeated against opponents outside of Section II. They are now 0-3 against Class AA teams from the region as they dropped games against Shenendehowa and Christian Brothers Academy last month.

Middletown took advantage of eight turnovers from Green Tech in the fourth quarter to keep the final score respectable.

“In the fourth quarter, we loosened up a bit and we were comfortable with the lead,” Jones said.

“We have a lot of little things that we have to work on to get better and better,” Little said.

“As the games keep coming, we have to get better and better. It all starts in practice,” said Walton.

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