Chautauqua Lake 68, Cleveland Hill 62
It's was 35 years ago that a school named Chautauqua won a Section VI title. Since then, that school merged with Mayville to form Chautauqua Lake and become the Thunderbirds. And for the first time in school history, the Thunderbirds are Section VI Champions.
"It's about commuinity and family," Chautauqua Lake coach Mike Putney said. "I'm really happy to be able to accomplish this for our community."
After spending the season as a highly regarded small school, Chautauqua Lake faced a Cleveland Hill team in the final that saved its best basketball for the end of the season and gave the eventual champs all they could handle in what was a great battle. The Thunderbirds trailed 35-32 at halftime and fell behind by eight points with two minutes left in the third quarter before a 31-17 finish over the game's last 10 minutes.
"We talked a lot about discipline," Putney said. "Move the ball and be patient - good things will happen."
Devin Pope dropped a game-high 33 points in the victory, while teammate Aaron Swan scored 27 points. The duo were the only two to score for the team in the second half, netting 20 & 16 points respectively over the last two quarters. Three-point plays, 3-pointers, strong drives and finishes, tough defense, and clutch free throw shooting late by Pope & Swan lifted the team to the title.
"They are so smooth and so intelligent, when things need to get done you put the ball in their hands," said Putney.
Paul Woodward led the Golden Eagles with 17 points, while Chase Johnson scored 16 points in the loss.
Clev Hill 13 - 22 - 10 - 17 = 62
Chaut Lake 15 - 17 - 13 - 23 = 68
Chautauqua Lake: Devin Pope 33, Aaron Swan 27, Tyler Meredith 6, Kyler Majka 2
Cleveland Hill: Paul Woodward 17, Chase Johnson 16, Tyler Phillips 11, Naszir Nance 5, Michael Johnson 5, Khalil Jackson 4, J'Son James 4
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Randolph 51, East 42
After losing their season opener at Ellicottville and dropping a contest to Franklinville a week later, the Cardinals from Randolph found themselves out of the mix in the local small school rankings for much of the season. It didn't stop the team from rolling through their league with an unbeaten record and it certainly didn't make them think that teams ranked ahead of them were better.
"Early season rankings mean nothing," Randolph coach Kevin Hind said. "It's now that matters."
When it mattered most, the Cardinals were never better and now they are Section VI Champions of Class C2. With an absolutely stifling defensive performance, Randolph held East to just 42 points after the Panthers had erupted for 86 in the game prior to reach the final. Specifically, the team focused on making things difficult for East standout Willard Anderson, one of WNY's top players.
Nick Martonis was stellar throughout, chasing Anderson everywhere, sticking with him, and never losing focus for even a moment. Martonis played the entire game without scoring a point and was as important to the Cardinals winning the title as any player on the floor.
"It was really a matter of limit how many times he touches the ball, make him work hard, make him work for everything," Hind said. "And Nick didn't do it alone...every guy that was out there was just as important, just as valuable."
Anythime Anderson managed to penetrate inside the arc, the defense collapsed upon him like a stone wall. Even points in the paint for East came at a high premium, as Kaleb Frink and Jarrett Lecceadone were fierce rim protectors that got better as the game wore on and East wore down.
The Cardinals closed the game with a 9-0 run that broke a tie game at 42-42. In the fourth quarter, Hind had a message for Frink, who responded to his coach with multiple game-sealing rejections down the stretch.
"We're done taking charges," Hind told him. "Go get them. If they come in there, get them out of there. Be a force. Talk about an unsung hero."
Tyler Hind scored a game-high 20 points for Randolph on the evening and controlled the ball for most of the game. Hind, who is the son of the head coach, is just a freshman. That didn't prevent him from playing like an upperclassmen and meeting some heavy expectations.
"He's worked really, really hard," Hind said. "It's hard when you've got your Dad who is a pretty intense guy"
Jake Beaver scored 13 points in the win, while Lecceadone added 12 points.
Jahahd Maryon led East with 13 points, while Justin Allen scored 10 points. Anderson finished with seven in the loss.
East High 12 - 10 - 13 - 7 = 42
Randolph 15 - 11 - 10 - 15 = 51
Randolph: Tyler Hind 20, Jake Beaver 13, Jarrett Lecceadone 12, Kaleb Frink 6
East: Jahahd Maryon 13, Justin Allen 10, Waunya Shaw 8, Willard Anderson 7, AJ Stevens 2, Shawndale Williams 2
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Franklinville 59, Sherman 48
After a 25-year title drought, the Panthers are once again the best in Section VI. The Class D Champions from Franklinville overcame a home loss to rival Ellicottville to even the series before the regular season ended and then win the rubber match in the semifinals to earn a title game appearance with Sherman. While the Wildcats turned in a gritty performance, Franklinville had too much balance, size, and sharp-shooting and raised the Section VI Class D championship plaque for the first time since 1992, something that was special to the head coach.
"Really special, we knew this could be our reality," Franklinville coach Jeff Haskell said. "It's extremely satisfying, this was our goal."
Sherman never held a lead in the game, but also let the Panthers pull away. After trailing by 11 points just before halftime, the Wildcats put together an 11-0 surge that tied the game at 29-29 early in the third quarter.
"They played with nothing to lose and they played real hard," said Haskell. "We didn't match that."
Brock Blecha scored the first and last baskets during an 11-0 response to Sherman tying the game, and Franklinville was able to head to the final stanza with a 40-29 lead. Blecha finished with a game-high 17 points.
"Brock does Brock things," Haskell said. "He was standing in front of me on the one and I said hit it and he hit it."
Isaac Kopp connected on four 3-pointers and added 16 points in the win for Franklinville.
Chris Robson scored a team-high 16 points in his final game for Sherman, while Jared Gleason and Tanner Ramsey each added 11 points in the loss.
Franklinville will compete in the NYSPHAA Class D Far West Regional at Rush-Henrietta High School on Saturday at 12 pm for the right to advance to the state final four in Binghamton.
Sherman 10 - 11 - 8 - 19 = 48
Franklinville 15 - 14 - 11 - 19 = 59
Franklinville: Brock Blecha 17, Isaac Kopp 16, Sam Erickson 7, Darren Clark 7, Tyler Pitner 6, Dylan Burton 6
Sherman: Chris Robson 16, Tanner Ramsey 11, Jared Gleason 10, Kyle Carpenter 6, Mike Delcamp 5