Fulton at Ithaca – – Boys Basketball – – The Bleacher Denizen – – December 20, 2021 – – by Chuck Krafft

Tonight, instead of waiting for Jolly Old St. Nicholas to do his thing on Christmas day, the Fulton Pirate basketball teams are visiting the Ithaca Yellowjackets for four basketball games.

Of course, that introduction had nothing to do with this posting – – – I KNOW not one of you has heard as much Christmas music as you want to hear so far this season! (OK, that is possibly classic wishful thinking, but I’m posting this link anyway!)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15alGV17hKI

Both Fulton and Ithaca’s JV and Varsity Girls as well as the JV and Varsity Boys played this afternoon.

I arrived at about halftime at the Girls Varsity game. It was a tight battle as only two points separated the Ithaca and Fulton teams at halftime. In the third quarter, Ithaca pulled out to a 35-23 lead and went on to win by a final score of 57-29.

Alyssa Lambert led the Fulton scoring with 9 points. Madison Bensinger supported her teammate with 6 points. Morgan Kowalesky and Grace Fitzpatrick each added 4 points. Avery Walden tossed in 3 points. Emily Stinson scored 2 points and Shelby Staley tallied 1 point.

Delaney Seaman had 30 points to lead to Yellowjacket Girls. Olyvia Saxton joined her teammate in double figures with 12 points. Natasha Nowakowski added 4 points. Brynn Bootsma, Myah Maurer, Janna Cantu, Madison Carman and Lauren Humphrey each scored 2 points. Ivy Davenport had 1 point.

The Ithaca Yellowjackets enter this game with a 3-1 record.

Ithaca Coach Josh Rayburn shared this information about his Yellowjacket boys team. Gibson Marr runs the point; he has all the ball handling and passing skills you expect from a point guard; he also excels at slashing to the basket to score. Shawn Parker is a tough perimeter defender who can slash to the basket. Brendan Wood is a fine three point shooter. Jesse Sorsen is the man in the middle for Ithaca; he is strong on the boards and a fine post defender. Dalton Seaman and Chad Pratt provide strong on-ball defense on the perimeter.

Bronson Bupp is a good post defender and rebounder who is a threat to score on putbacks. Ethan Hull is a long player who is good defensively. Trevor Wight, who is injured today, also helps in the post. Charlie Martyn has a good basketball IQ; he sees the floor well when he is running the point. David Bakker has a fine IQ and brings good fundamentals to the post.

Fulton has a 1-1 record going into the contest.

Coach Todd Walden helped me out with this information about his Pirate players.

Bruce Thelen and Joe Iung are the top returning scorers from last year. Both are guards who can get to the basket as well as snipe away from the three point line. Joe Iung is really creative at finding his shots; unfortunately, he is injured and will probably not rejoin the team until January. Bruce Thelen runs the point; in addition to his scoring, he is very steady with his ball handling and passing as well as being a tough defender.

Xander Ramsey played a lot last year; he has a strong three point shot and is a persistent defender. Walker Eyer plays tough defense and has a knack for drawing charging fouls from the opposing team. Zach Saller is a long player who can defend in the post or on the perimeter. He has a fine three point shot.

Renn Spalding and Markus Mills are strong defenders, especially near the basket. Jadon Podolak provides ball handling, perimeter defense and a three point threat off the bench. (Okay, technically, he DOES enter the game before he starts shooting, but I went with the standard basketball cliche here.) Dez Blair will bring depth to the post positions. Ryan Bradford, Ryan Trefil and Adrien Delaunay provide additional depth on the perimeter.

It is now time to record the events of this contest through the semi-vigilant eyes of an elderly Bleacher Denizen who was not able to escape church league when he attempted to play basketball in the days of yore. Coaches seemed to be appalled at the number of peach baskets (used instead of nets in basketball’s early days) that were destroyed by bricks propelled by the Bleacher Denizen. Apparently getting a brick near the basket is actually not “close enough.”

Ithaca darkens its gym to shine a light on the flag during the National Anthem. They then introduce starters from both teams before turning the light back on.

The opening tap is up for grabs until Bruce Thelen steps in and pulls the ball away for Fulton. Fulton misfires on a threeball from the side. Walker Eyer gets the offensive rebound for the Pirates. Fulton is fouled on a layup, but misses both its free throws. Zach Saller knocks the rebound to Walker Eyer, who secures it for the Pirates. Fulton misses a three point attempt. Gibson Marr drives in and hits a layup for Ithaca. He is fouled on the play and hits his free throw to give his Yellowjackets a 3-0 lead about thirty seconds into the game.

Fulton misses a ten foot shot from the side of the lane. Zach Saller grabs the offensive rebound for the Pirates. Fulton misfires on a triple try from the corner. They get the offensive rebound, but miss a three pointer from the wing. The rebound goes out of bounds and the Pirates get another opportunity. Shawn Parker gets his hand on the ball, but Fulton is able to recover. Fulton misses a three point shot from the top of the key. Gibson Marr drives and hits an eight foot shot from the side to give Ithaca a 5-0 lead.

Fulton misses a layup, but gets the offensive rebound. Fulton misses a driving layup; the rebound goes out of bounds and the Pirates get the ball back. Gibson Marr steals the ball for the Yellowjackets. Ithaca misses a fast break layup. Chad Pratt knocks the ball away from Fulton and Jesse Sorsen picks it up for Ithaca. Ithaca loses a pass out of bounds. Fulton commits an offensive foul. Ithaca commits an offensive foul. Fulton misses a three point shot from the corner. The rebound goes out of bounds and the Pirates get another possession. Renn Spalding passes to Xander Ramsey, who hits an eight foot shot from the side to trim the Yellowjacket lead to 5-2.

Ithaca misses a layup. Bruce Thelen hits a fast break layup for Fulton. Gibson Marr hits a six foot shot from the side for Ithaca. Fulton misses a fast break layup. Ithaca misses a threeball from the corner; Fulton fouls on the rebound. Brendan Wood drives and dishes the ball to Bronson Bupp, who hits a layup for Ithaca. Bruce Thelen first in a three pointer from the wing for Fulton. Ethan Hull hits a three point shot from the side for Ithaca to boost the Yellowjacket lead to 12-7.

Fulton turns the ball over. Ithaca misses a six foot shot from the baseline. Fulton misses an eight foot shot in the lane. The Yellowjackets miss a driving layup. Bronson Bupp knocks the ball away from Fulton and Chad Pratt picks it up for Ithaca. Ithaca misses a three point shot from the wing. Ethan Hull gets the offensive rebound for the Yellowjackets. Ithaca misfires on a triple try from the corner. Fulton misses a fast break layup. Fulton gets the offensive rebound and Walker Eyer hits a layup to trim the Ithaca lead to 12-9.

Chad Pratt is fouled on a shot and hits two free throws for Ithaca with twenty-six seconds left in the quarter. Fulton misses a three point shot and fouls on the rebound. Walker Eyer steals the ball and hits a layup for the Pirates just before the buzzer sounds.

After one quarter, Ithaca holds a 14-11 lead.

Fulton has the ball to start out the second quarter. The Pirates miss an eight foot shot from the side. Gibson Marr throws in a threeball from the top of the key for Ithaca. Renn Spalding passes to Zach Saller who hits a three point shot from the side for Fulton. Renn Spalding harasses Ithaca and the Yellowjackets throw a pass out of bounds. Zach Saller tosses a pass to Bruce Thelen, who hits a three pointer from the side for the Pirates to tie the game at 17-17.

Zach Saller blocks an Ithaca shot; the ball goes out of bounds and Ithaca retains possession. Gibson Marr hits a twelve foot shot off the dribble in the lane to give Ithaca a two point lead. Bruce Thelen passes to Zach Saller, who hits a three point shot from the wing to give Fulton a one point lead. Gibson Marr drives and hits a layup for Ithaca to give the Yellowjackets a 21-20 lead.

Fulton misses a three point attempt from the corner. Jadon Podolak ties up the rebound; the Possession Arrow arrogantly ignores his hustle and awards the ball back to Ithaca. Gibson Marr is fouled on a driving eight foot shot in the lane. He hits two free throws to push the Ithaca lead to 23-20 with 4:43 to play in the first half.

Jesse Sorsen goes to the floor to steal the ball for the Yellowjackets. Ithaca misses a three point attempt from the wing. Shawn Parker gets the offensive rebound Ithaca. Ithaca misses a threeball from the wing. Fulton misses a fourteen foot shot from the wing. Bruce Thelen draws a charging foul from the Yellowjackets. Bronson Bupp taps the ball away from Fulton and Shawn Parker grabs it for Ithaca. Ithaca misses a fast break layup. Fulton is whistled for a traveling violation. Ithaca misses a driving layup. Bruce Thelen is fouled on a fast break layup and hits two free throws to trim the Ithaca lead to 23-22 with 2:39 remaining in the first half.

Ithaca is fouled, but misses the first shot of a one and one free throw opportunity. Fulton is fouled on the rebound and misses the first shot of a one and one free throw opportunity. Bruce Thelen steals a Yellowjacket pass. Fulton misses a three point shot from the wing. Gibson Marr is fouled on a layup and hits two free throws for Ithaca. With 2:01 left in the first half, Ithaca has a 25-22 lead.

Fulton misses a driving layup. Ithaca misses a three point shot from the wing. The rebound goes out of bounds and Fulton gets the ball. Fulton commits a traveling violation. Zach Saller blocks a Yellowjacket layup. Fulton misses a three point shot from the wing. Gibson Marr goes coast to coast and hits a layup for Ithaca just before the halftime buzzer sounds.

Ithaca takes a 27-22 lead into the locker room at halftime. If basketball conventions are observed, the Yellowjackets will continue to have a 27-22 lead at the start of the third quarter.

Gibson Marr leads the Ithaca scoring with 20 points.

Bruce Thelen has 10 points and Zach Saller has 6 points for Fulton.

Fulton inbounds the ball to get the third quarter underway. The Pirates miss a driving layup. Ithaca misses a three point shot from the side. Fulton misses a three point shot from the wing; the rebound goes out of bounds and the Pirates get another chance. Fulton misses a layup and fouls on the rebound. Ithaca misses a three point shot from the wing. Fulton misses a three pointer from the side. Ithaca reciprocates and misses a three pointer from the side. Bruce Thelen hits a three pointer from the wing to trim the Ithaca lead to 27-25.

Ithaca misses a three point shot from the side. Shawn Parker gets the offensive rebound for the Yellowjackets. Ithaca misses a layup. Brendan Wood gets the offensive rebound for Ithaca and passes to Shawn Parker, who hits a threeball from the side for the Yellowjackets. Fulton bounces a pass out of bounds. Ithaca misses a fifteen foot shot from the wing. Fulton misses a fast break layup. The rebound is tied up. The Possession Arrow decrees that Ithaca shall have the ball. Jesse Sorsen drives and hits a layup for Ithaca. He is fouled and makes his free throw to boost the Yellowjackets to a 33-25 lead with 4:19 left in the third quarter.

Fulton throws a pass behind a cutter and out of bounds. Xander Ramsey knocks the ball out of bounds; the Yellowjackets retain possession. Ithaca misses a three point shot from the side and fouls on the rebound. Dezmond Blair sets a pick as he hands the ball off to Bruce Thelen, who sets and launches a sixteen foot shot from the wing through the basket to shave the Ithaca lead to 33-27.

Ithaca misfires on a threeball from the corner. Fulton misses a sixteen foot shot from the wing. Ithaca misses a three point shot from the side. Jesse Sorsen hits a putback for the Yellowjackets. Walker Eyer drives the baseline and hits a layup for Fulton. Shawn Parker drives and hits a layup to give Ithaca 37-29 lead.

Chad Pratt’s tough defense causes Fulton to miss a three point shot from the wing. Ithaca misses a ten foot shot in the lane. Ethan Hull gets the offensive rebound for the Yellowjackets. Ithaca misses a layup. Fulton misses a jumper from the free throw elbow. Zach Saller blocks an Ithaca fast break layup. Fulton misses a three point shot from the wing and fouls on the rebound. Ithaca misses a three point shot from the side. Bruce Thelen passes to Xander Ramsey, who sinks a three point shot from the corner for Fulton. Ithaca misses a rushed three point shot from the corner at the buzzer.

With three quarters in the books, Ithaca has a 37-32 lead.

Ithaca has the ball to commence the fourth quarter. The Yellowjackets miss a threeball from the side. Xander Ramsey passes to Zach Saller, who hits a three point shot from the wing for Fulton. Ethan Hull hits a twelve footer off the dribble from the side for Ithaca. Charlie Martyn steals the ball and hits a fast break layup to give the Yellowjackets a 41-35 lead.

Bronson Bupp blocks a Fulton shot; the Pirates are able to recover the ball. A Fulton bad pass results in an over and back violation. Zach Saller blocks an Ithaca three pointer from the wing. Brendan Wood steals the ball for the Yellowjackets. Bruce Thelen draws a charging foul to negate an Ithaca layup. Fulton misses a twelve foot shot from the baseline and fouls on the rebound. Zach Saller leaps and knocks a Yellowjacket pass out of bounds; Ithaca retains possession. Bruce Thelen’s fierce defense causes an Ithaca double dribble violation. Chad Pratt’s tough defense causes a Fulton dribbler to step on the baseline.

Ithaca misfires on a threeball from the top of the key. Fulton reciprocates and misfires on a threeball from the top of the key. Walker Eyer secures the offensive rebound for the Pirates. Fulton is fouled on a layup, but misses both free throws. With 4:16 remaining in the game, Ithaca has a 41-35 lead.

Walker Eyer goes to the floor to take the offensive rebound for Fulton. Jadon Podolak passes to Bruce Thelen, who launches and hits a three point shot from the wing for Fulton. Gibson Marr drives and dishes the ball to Jesse Sorsen, who hits a layup for Ithaca. Zach Saller passes to Walker Eyer, who is cutting to the basket; Walker Eyer hits a layup for Fulton. Bruce Thelen draws a charging foul from the Yellowjackets. Xander Ramsey is fouled on an eight footer from the baseline. He hits one of his two free throws to shave the Ithaca lead to 43-41 with 2:58 left on the clock.

Gibson Marr passes to Brendan Wood, who hits a three point shot from the wing for Ithaca. Jadon Podolak is fouled and hits one of his two free throws for the Pirates. Walker Eyer gets the offensive rebound for Fulton. Fulton is fouled on a layup and misses two free throws. With 2:27 to go, Ithaca has a 46-42 lead.

Fulton fouls on the rebound from the missed free throw. Ithaca misses a three point shot from the wing. The rebound is tied up; the Possession Arrow decides that it’s Fulton’s turn to get the ball. Bruce Thelen passes to Jadon Podolak, who hits a three point shot from the corner to shop the Ithaca lead to one point at 46-45.

Ithaca is fouled with 1:12 left on the clock and misses the first shot of a one and one free throw opportunity. Bronson Bupp gets the offensive rebound for Ithaca. Ithaca misses a layup. Shawn Parker and Brendan Wood double team Fulton’s ball handler to cause an apparent traveling violation, but Fulton called timeout just in time to preserve their possession. Fulton misses a three point shot from the side.

Ithaca runs the clock for about twenty-five seconds before Fulton fouls them. Ithaca misses the first shot of a one and one free throw opportunity with 14 seconds left in the contest. Fulton has the ball with a one point let. Fulton misses a three point shot from the corner. Renn Spalding gets the offensive rebound for the Pirates, but there is no time to shoot before the final buzzer.

Ithaca wins this tightly contested game 46-45.

Bruce Thelen led the Fulton scoring with 18 points. Zach Saller supported his teammate with 9 points. Walker Eyer tossed in 8 points. Xander Ramsey added 6 points and Jadon Podolak scored 4 points.

Gibson Marr scored 20 points in the first half for Ithaca; he led all scorers with 20 points. Jesse Sorsen added 7 points. Shawn Parker and Ethan Hull each popped in 5 points. Brendan Wood scored 3 points. Charlie Martyn, Chad Pratt and Bronson Bupp each had 2 points.

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