MCA's shooting too much for F-F

Wednesday, December 07, 2016 - Updated: 7:28 AM

Alex Cooper/Recorder staff Fonda-Fultonville's Stiven Florez (12) shoots the ball against Mekeel Christian's Cameron Stewart (33) and Oscar Iteji (23) during Tuesday's game at Mekeel Christian Academy in Scotia.

By ADAM SHINDER

@RecorderShinder

SCOTIA -- The Fonda-Fultonville Braves first Western Athletic Conference boys basketball game in six years couldn't have come against a tougher opponent at a worse time.

Playing without standout freshman guard Jackson Atty, who is sidelined due to a broken right wrist suffered in the team's first preseason scrimmage, the Braves simply didn't have the firepower to match up with perennial WAC powerhouse Mekeel Christian Academy, and the Lions responded by raining down 16 3-pointers in steamrolling to an 84-38 victory Tuesday night.

"That's a good team. I can't imagine us seeing somebody that's gonna be too much better than that," Fonda-Fultonville coach Eric Wilson said. "They're a good team, and we're a work in progress right now. I love how our kids work and compete, but we don't have the firepower that's gonna keep up with a team like that."

Carter Stewart scored 21 of his team-high 23 points in the first half for MCA (1-0, 1-0 WAC), leading five players in double figures. Deonte Holder added 17 points, Cameron Stewart scored 14, Jordan Jackson scored 12 and Oscar Iteji scored 11.

Six different Lions connected from 3-point range, with three players -- both Stewart brothers and Jackson -- burying four treys apiece.

"I'm trying to think off the top of my head how many shooters they had," Wilson said. "It seemed like there were eight of them out there at one time."

Dan Parslow was the only Fonda-Fultonville (0-2, 0-1) player to find any offensive success, knocking down four 3-pointers on his way to a game-high 24 points.

But, the absence of Atty -- a dynamic shooter who started every game for the Braves last season as an eighth-grader -- left F-F devoid of options beyond Parslow.

"That's tough. He's one of our best shooters and a veteran as a freshman," Wilson said of Atty, who should return in a couple weeks. "He's a very good basketball player, and taking a very good basketball player out of our team with what we have, playing against a team like that, it hurts."

"It was tough for Fonda, losing kind of the engine that makes them run," Mekeel coach Chad Bowman said. "Losing your point guard, you've got to adjust. That's the hardest position to fill."

Carter Stewart, the third in Mekeel's lineage of star Stewart brothers -- his older brothers both play Division I basketball, Collin at Monmouth and Caleb at Binghamton -- set the tone early with 13 points in the first quarter, including a 3-pointer that rattled in at the buzzer to give the Lions a 22-6 lead. He and Iteji dominated the undersized Braves on the offensive glass throughout the night.

"Carter was pretty solid in the first half, particularly on the offensive boards," Bowman said. "I think he had nine offensive boards, and he came out with some energy that really got him going."

Meanwhile, the Braves struggled to control the ball on the other side of the court. Perhaps unwilling to go up for shots in the lane against Iteji or the wiry Stewart brothers, the Braves fired blind passes in traffic that led to turnovers and easy MCA fast break opportunities.

Though the scoreline ended up far more lopsided than Saturday's season-opening 50-37 loss to Cobleskill-Richmondville, Wilson said he felt the Braves turned in a better effort Tuesday -- albeit against a far superior opponent.

"It's a tough stretch, that's what I told the guys," Wilson said. "We've got a tough start to our season, and we've got to stay positive. I felt like overall, and it's funny to say it, but I think we played better, harder and more consistently tonight than we did Saturday. If we can keep improving, keep getting better, there's gonna be opportunities for us."

F-F's tough reintroduction to the WAC continues Friday night in their home opener against Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.

In the junior varsity contest, Mekeel Christian posted a 51-34 victory.

Contact ADAM SHINDER at adam.shinder@recordernews.com