A single season, and a change in personnel, has completely shifted the balance of power in the boys basketball conflict between Morrisville-Eaton and Hamilton.
The Warriors (8-13 a season ago) defended its home court Thursday night and dropped the Emerald Knights (16-7 last winter) to 0-3 by prevailing in a 52-38 decision, ending years of what had been Hamilton's domination of this neighborhood rivalry.
Matt Pelton pushed M-E to the front in the first quarter, earning seven points, as much as the entire Emerald Knights squad.
The Warriors' defense stepped up throughout the first half, even when Ben Thomas got into foul trouble, so that when the two teams went to the break, M-E led 26-18.
When the Warriors cooled off in the third period, Hamilton had its chance -- but could only muster a handful of baskets, not enough to turn things around. M-E's solid free-throw shooting down the stretch sealed it.
Pelton backed up his 13 points with 10 rebounds, supporting Ben Thomas, who poured in 18 points to lead both sides and added eight rebounds. Will Thomas had 12 rebounds, six rebounds and four steals. Hamilton, in defeat, got 13 points from Cam Fisher and nine points from Dan Meeks.
Both teams came into this game needing the win in the wake of some rough Tuesday outings, as M-E fell to Westmoreland 69-49 and Hamilton, still in search of its first win of the season, lost to unbeaten Oriskany 68-36.
Simply put, the Warriors saw far too much of Westmoreland teammates Jason Colburn and Dan DeCarlo. Colburn tore up M-E for 31 points, and whatever he didn't make, Colburn did on his way to 24 points for the night.
Despite this, and despite a 32-14 halftime deficit, the Warriors pulled back within six at one point early in the fourth quarter before the Bulldogs reclaimed control. Will Thomas led the comeback as he finished with 26 points, while Pelton earned 10 points. Ben Thomas got seven points and Jamie Maciag added six points.
Hamilton found 4-0 Oriskany far too difficult to handle. The Redskins raced out to a 37-13 halftime lead, and the Emerald Knights could not recover.
Coley Graham, with just eight points, ended up as Hamilton's top scorer, with John Andrzejek, Tom Hilgenburg and Keith Upton earning six points apiece. Mike Bunnell (14 points) and Travis Tyler (12 points) led Oriskany's charge.
The Emerald Knights would try to recover from the M-E defeat in trips to Westmoreland and Rome Catholic this week, while the Warriors were off until a key Friday home game against West Canada Valley.