Over the past two nights, there has been 320 minutes of basketball action, but only eight teams punched their tickets into the record books as “2016 Section VI Boys Basketball Champions”. Three of the games were held on Friday night at Jamestown Community College, while the other five games were held at Buffalo State College on Saturday. In chronological order, the recaps of all eight games can be found below:
Class D – #2 seed Ellicottville Eagles vs. #1 Seed: Panama Panthers
The beginning game at Jamestown Community College on Friday night lived up to its expectations. Ellicottville’s sophomore forward Elliot Bowen countered his incredible semi-final performance with 20 points, but couldn’t muster enough offensive support as the Panama Panthers defeated the Eagles, 56-36. The win for Panama is the first sectional title for the Panthers since the 2011-12 season.
The Panthers were led by Chris Blose who had 19 points and 12 rebounds in the win, while Jack Payne and Josh Odell had 15 and 13 points respectively, to lead the Panthers. Panama will play the Section V (Rochester area) champion, either Charles G. Finney or Lima Christian, on Saturday, March 5 at Buffalo State College at 12pm.
“I going to enjoy this right now and let the boys enjoy it and take it a day at a time,” Panama head coach Ed Nelson said following the win. “I’m going to give them the weekend off, I’ve been pushing them hard. When Monday comes, we’re going to go 1-and-0 and we’re not going to worry about Saturday.”
Class C2 – #3 seed: Silver Creek Black Knights vs. #1 Seed: Middle Early College Kats
The Middle Early College Kats had to drive quite a ways to play their Class C2 Final at Jamestown Community College, but the trip was well worth it. The Silver Creek Black Knights, however, gave the Kats quite a scare as the Black Knights pounded the offensive boards, especially in the opening quarter of the 2nd half. Silver Creek earned 13 offensive rebounds in the 3rd quarter, compared to Middle Early College’s 4.
The Black Knights were able to limit the Kats’ star, Gary Foster, but they ended up leaving Jo-Jo Staton to carry to scoring load for the Kats. Staton ended up scoring a game-high 24 points, including going 6-for-6 from the free throw line. Right behind Staton was Billy Rivera who scored 17.
“We weren’t playing like ourselves,” Staton said about the difficulty that Silver Creek gave. “I just told my team to pick it up and come together as a team and fight this win out.”
Middle Early College would await the winner of the game following theirs for a battle in the Class C crossover game on Tuesday, March 1 at Buffalo State College.
Class C1 – #4 seed: Chautauqua Lake Thunderbirds vs. #2 Seed: Olmsted Owls
Despite the lengthy drive the Olmsted Owls had to overcome, the fans from the city of Buffalo school was in full force at Jamestown Community College in the nightcap of the triple-header on Friday night. On top of the Owls fans, the Chautauqua Lake Thunderbirds fans were also in full force. Olmsted had to battle with a three-headed scoring monster from Chautauqua Lake, but Master Radford was the key to the 54-51 win for Olmsted.
Olmsted’s key player, Brandon Roach, did not have his usual game as he was only able to net 9 points and bring down 4 rebounds. Radford, a sophomore forward, ended up having the monstrous game for Olmsted, hauling in 20 rebounds while adding 22 points in the first ever sectional title game victory for Olmsted.
“I’m very impressed,” Olmsted head coach Andrew Bush said. “Brandon had a little off game, but everyone stepped up. It’s huge. It showed me a lot, to be honest with you.”
Olmsted will have a tough test as they will have to play fellow city of Buffalo school, Middle Early College, on Tuesday at 5:15pm at Buffalo State College.
Class B2 – #6 seed: Fredonia Hillbillies vs. #4 Seed: Health Science Falcons
The opening game of the lengthy day at Buffalo State College on Saturday was filled with high tensions. The Health Sciences Falcons defeated the top seed, the International Prep Presidents, while the Fredonia Hillbillies absolutely obliterated the Royalton-Hartland Rams in their semifinal games. From the games in the semifinals, this game was filled with upsets and on Saturday we had another. The Hillbillies barely got past the Falcons by 50-48 score, mostly due to the play from the Hillbillies’ Patrick Moore and his game-high 31-point outing.
“It feels good to get this one for the coaches,” Moore said following his stellar performance. “We have a lot of seniors – I’ve played in four sectional final games and lost in all four. It’s tough to lose and it’s good to get this one.”
This is the first sectional win for the Hillbillies since the 1993-94 season, before any of the current players were even born. Fredonia will play in the Class B crossover game on Tuesday at Buffalo State College against the winner of the game that followed theirs, East Aurora and Olean.
Class B1 – #3 Seed: East Aurora Blue Devils vs. #1 Seed: Olean Huskies
Just like Olmsted and Middle Early College at Jamestown CC, the Olean Huskies had another long drive on their hands. The Huskies were making the drive up to Buffalo State for the second time in three days, but the long drive had no say in the outcome as the Huskies easily handled the Blue Devils from East Aurora, 67-46.
The Huskies were led by junior forward Ben Eckstrom who had the highest point total of the game, 21. Eckstrom and three other starters were able to score 10+ points and lead the Huskies to win their 9th sectional title in the last 10 years. There appears to be no stopping Olean from winning at Buffalo State.
“The boys have been blue-collar all year long,” Olean coach Jeff Anastasia said. “Our offensive unselfishness took over and the boys have been doing this all year.”
Olean has four starters that average 10+ points per game and they were all able to get those numbers, yet again. Eckstrom, Jake Cavana, Monty Shoemaker, and Elijah Ramadhan have been the players that have given every team Olean has played this year fits.
“It doesn’t hurt us for championships and when we go out and advance,” Coach Anastasia said. “We always use the analogy if you use one finger to poke a guy, it doesn’t really hurt. You take two, you take three, you take four, now you take five and make a fist, that hurts them.”
The 23-0 Huskies will look to extend their season-long winning streak as they will play Fredonia for a third time this season on Tuesday at Buffalo State College at 6:45pm, with the winner advancing to the Class B Far West Regional game on Saturday, also at Buffalo State.
Class A2 – #3 Seed: Lewiston-Porter Lancers vs. #1 Seed: Amherst Tigers
Arguably the game of the night with how the result came, two of the best point guards in all of Western New York were showcased in this loud, high-scoring, intense battle at Buffalo State College. The finale of the first session on Saturday was purely amazing.
The Lancers held the lead for quite a long time against the top dog, Amherst, but the Tigers were able to muster enough offense, especially in the 4th quarter, to fend off Lew-Port from pulling the upset, 84-76. Despite Lew-Port’s Jernard Jackson and his 35-point performance, behind the amazing shots that Jackson put up, Amherst’s Amadi Ikpeze had, if not the best, one of the best performances in Western New York this year scoring 30 points, hauling in 13 rebounds, and blocking 12 Lancer shots.
This is the first time in five years that Amherst has won a sectional title and for Ikpeze, especially after the game he played, he was ecstatic to have a sectional championship to add to his résumé.
“It’s a good feeling,” Ikpeze said about the win. “Walking off with a blue patch is a good feeling, I’m tired of a red patches and I got a blue one.”
Class A1 – #2 Seed: McKinley Macks vs. #1 Seed: Williamsville South Billies
The opening game of the “evening session” was another thriller, but not as much as the Lew-Port and Amherst tilt. The Macks were known for scoring a lot of points, but so were the Billies from Williamsville South. With T.C. Brown and Jernard Jackson, two of the point guards in Western New York on display in one game, Williamsville South’s Greg Dolan was able to prove his case for being considered. He was able to net a team-high 24 points for the Billies in the 67-64 win over McKinley.
Dolan, along with scoring, was dishing unbelievable passes to his teammates. Including some passes to guard Myles Hall, who scored 10 points for the Billies in their second consecutive Class A1 title win. Hall, despite missing some time to an apparent right leg injury, was able to overcome the injury and help the Billies to win.
“We powered through,” Hall said. “We’ve been fighting and working all year for this and we did it.”
The very intriguing Class A crossover match between neighboring towns, Amherst and Williamsville South, will be held at Buffalo State on Tuesday at 8:15pm.
Class AA – #3 Seed: Jamestown Red Raiders vs. #1 Seed: Niagara Falls Wolverines
The final game of the night at Buffalo State College featured two teams that have tended to always appeared at Buffalo State in the Class AA title game in recent years. Niagara Falls was hoping to end Jamestown’s three-game Section VI Class AA title streak. With help from Qeyion Williams and Breon Harris, the Wolverines were able to defeat Jamestown in the Class AA title game for the first time since the 2011-12 season, 58-44.
Williams, who finished with a team-high 19 points, scored 13 of his game total in the 2nd half. 11 of his 13 second half points came in the 4th quarter. Not only was Williams scoring threat to be reckoned with, Harris was able to score 6 of his 11 points in the 3rd quarter. The Wolverines success really came in the 2nd half, as Niagara Falls outscored the opposition, 33-23.
“A lot of ball pressure, really defending the ball well, and closing out on shooters,” Niagara Falls head coach Sal Constantino said what led to the 2nd half success. “When they drove into the paint in the 1st half, they kept kicking it out, and we were sucking in, and we didn’t suck in they didn’t really score in the paint.”
Niagara Falls will await the winner of the Class AA final that will be held at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, New York, as the winner between Fairport and Aquinas will have to play Niagara Falls next Saturday at Buffalo State College in the Far West Regional.
For updates on all of the games listed above, give me a follow on Twitter: @mhaim1934