(Panama celebrates winning the Section VI Class D title / Photo by James McCoy)
Olmsted 54, Chautauqua Lake 51
The Owls took the lead early in the first quarter and never trailed the rest of the way, to earn their first Section VI title in program history. The champions of Class C1 will now face Middle College on Tuesday night at Buff State for the right to advance to the Class C Far West Regional.
Sophomore Master Radford was sensational, as Olmsted looked to him early and often, while he delivered 17 of his game-high 22 points in the first half to set the tone. The Owls spaced the floor and did an excellent job moving the ball. Senior scoring leader Brandon Roach distributed the ball and facilitated all evening, deferring to his teammates. Christian Barnes came through with 12 points, including a pair of 3-pointers in the third quarter that were key to combating Chautauqua Lake's attempts to make a run.
First year head coach Andy Bush saw his team make tremendous strides over the course of the season after finishing second in Yale Cup II.
"We all had the same goal, not just winning but getting better each and every day," Bush said. "This is another step."
Chautauqua Lake's heart was also most impressive, as players like Aaron Swan, Carter Davidson, and Devin Pope left everything on the court for the Thunderbirds. The team battled back from a double figure deficit to make it a one possession game several times in the final stanza and missed a 3-pointer in the final seconds that would have sent the game to overtime.
Olmsted: Master Radford 22, Christian Barnes 12, Brandon Roach 9, Kaelan Clouser 7, Anthony Mendrysa 2, Austin Parham 2
Chautauqua Lake: Aaron Swan 21, Carter Davidson 17, Devin Pope 10, Tyler Meredith 3
Middle College 68, Silver Creek 60
For the fifth consecutive season, and the sixth time in seven years, the Kats are Section VI champions. Middle College will look to get back to the Far West Regional when it faces Olmsted on Tuesday in the overall Class C championship game.
Jojo Staton put on a show, dropping 29 points on the Black Knights in a championship game performance. Billy Rivera added 17 points, including a key 3-pointer to give his team the lead back heading into the final stanza.
Silver Creek had gone ahead on the scoreboard after falling behind 30-13 in the second quarter. The Black Knights used a 29-11 run to take the lead, led by an inspiring performance from freshman call-up Brady Woeben, who scored a team-high 15 points. Senior Trevon Thompson also scored 15 points for the Black Knights, while Jake Lewis battled inside all evening, scoring eight points, grabbing key rebounds, and defending Gary Foster and Brian Johnson. Chase Scanlan also hustled all over the court and did the little things for the Black Knights, who despite being out-matched, executed their game plan brilliantly and gave themselves a chance at the upset.
"I told him the better coach lost today," said Middle College coach Randy Rich, when asked what he said to Silver Creek coach Rob Genco in the handshake line. The two coaches have faced each other in elimination games four times since 2012.
Rich was quick to credit the work put in by his athletes and deflected all praise to his assistant coaches, crediting them for having his team ready.
Middle College: Jojo Staton 29, Billy Rivera 17, Gary Foster 7, Hakeem Dobbins 5, Brian Johnson 4, Lorenzo Truitt 4, Amir Jemes 2
Silver Creek: Trevon Thompson 15, Brady Woeben 15, Chase Scanlan 13, Jake Lewis 8, Heron Snow 6, Chris Williams 3
Panama 56, Ellicottville 36
For the second time since 2012, the Panama Panthers are Section VI champions in Class D. They will move on to the Far West Regional at Buff State on Saturday to face the Class D champ from Section V. Panama is amidst a 20-game win streak, the second longest in WNY.
Chris Blose played like a senior, willing his way to the basket and finishing, turning in a game-high 19 points. Jack Payne and Josh Odell were excellent contributors as well, finishing with 15 & 13 points respectively. The senior laden Panthers' squad has weapons at every position and will be a tough out for any team moving forward.
"These guys are doing something special," said Panama coach Ed Nelson. "They’re a lot of fun to coach."
While Panama's Chris Blose was the player of the game, Ellicottville sophomore Ellliot Bowen was as good as advertised. The Eagles relied heavily on him throughout the game, as he showed solid footwork and poise in the paint. His team will be in the mix the next two seasons based on his presence alone.
Panama: Chris Blose 19, Jack Payne 15, Josh Odell 13, Josh Eddy 4, Dylan Marsh 3, Jarett Yuchnitz 2
Ellicottville: Elliot Bowen 18, Austin Grinols 6, Griffin Chudy 4, Cameron Eddy 3, Justin Summers 2, Chad Boldt 2, Tom Easton 1