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Panama handles Sherman

January 21, 2016
By Cody Crandall ( , Westfield Republican

PANAMA (Jan. 14) - To this point, it has without a doubt been an amazing season for Panama's boys basketball team.

One of Panama's toughest tests figured to come at the hands of division-rival Sherman, which entered play with an unblemished record of 5-0 in the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association's Division 2 West.

But, it's safe to say that the Panthers passed their test with flying colors.

Article Photos

Photos by Cody Crandall
Panama’s Chris Blose’s shot is contested by Sherman’s Mike Delcamp while Sherman’s Chris Robson looks on during the second half of a Jan.14 CCAA Division 2 West game in Panama.

Jack Payne poured in 19 points and knocked down five 3-pointers. Josh Eddy (18 points, 15 rebounds) and Chris Blose (16 points, 10 rebounds) both collected double-doubles. Josh Odell added 14 points and two shots from long range, and the Panthers never looked back after a 15-4 first quarter en route to a 71-41 victory over the Wildcats - Panama's ninth win in a row and sixth consecutive league win.

Throughout the game's opening eight minutes, the balanced scoring of Panama (10-2, 6-0) played a big role in the Panthers jumping out to their early lead. Odell scored seven points in the first quarter, while Blose added four points. Eddy and Payne each also accounted for a basket.

A major asset of late for Panama has been the team's defense, which held the Wildcats to just four points in the first quarter.

"The last couple years, whenever we play Sherman, we kind of get off to a fast start like that," Panama head coach Ed Nelson said following the win. "We've been really focusing on our team defense the last five or six games and locking in. The kids are playing very well together."

In the second quarter, Payne got hot for Panama from beyond the arc. The senior guard managed to knock down three 3-point shots, with the last one coming courtesy of a half-court buzzer beater to give the Panthers a comfortable 33-16 lead heading into the locker room.

"That's the thing, that's trouble in Class D," Nelson responded when asked about the stellar play of Payne. "If you have an inside game and an outside game. We've got two 3-point threats, two of the best shooters in the county. We have Jack Payne on one side and Josh Odell on the other. We've got Christopher Blose up top running the show and Josh Eddy down low at 6-foot-7. When you have those kinds of weapons, it's hard to stop a team in Class D."

Panama continued it's strong play after halftime and outscored Sherman (7-5, 5-1) 22-16 in the third quarter to extend its lead to 55-32.

"We just need more people to knock down shots," said Sherman coach Cory Emory. "We got the same shots that Panama got, we just need to knock them down. I mean, that's basically the name of the game ... they had four different guys knocking down shots and we were getting to me the same looks, we just couldn't knock down the shots."

Chris Robson scored 10 points for Sherman, while Jared Gleason added nine and Kolby Parks finished with eight.

In the latest rankings released by the New York State Sportswriters Association, Panama found itself at No. 17 in Class D.

A performance like Thursday's proves that the Panthers have the ability to live up to their lofty ranking.

"We're just trying to get better every single day," Nelson said. "That's what we were using this game as too. We're just trying to get better every day. Like I said, if you go ask any one of my kids what our record is right now, they probably don't even know our record. We kind of keep it quiet. We don't talk about it much. We just play basketball."

NOTES: Sherman took the jayvee matchup by a score of 60-47. ... Dylan Mitchell was the top scorer for the Wildcats with 15 points, while Tanner Ramsey and Mike Beatman added 14 points each. ... For Panama, Thomas Delahoy and Jack Sperry poured in 12 points apiece.

Rebounds fuel

Bulldogs' 45-37 win over Cassadaga Valley

SINCLAIRVILLE (Jan. 14) - Aaron Riforgiato pulled down 20 rebounds and Steven Krystofiak pulled down 11 as Brocton held a distinct advantage on the glass in a 45-37 CCAA West 2 win over Cassadaga Valley on Thursday in boys high school basketball action.

Ryan Johnson led the Bulldogs (9-3, 2-3) with 12 points while Alec Chelton scored 11 points and handed out five assists. Riforgiato scored 10 points of his own.

"We did a pretty nice job of not allowing them to work the ball inside," said Cassadaga Valley coach Josh Schauman. "It was similar to hockey, getting the ball on net and going after it. A lot of points didn't come through working through the offense, they just had second, third and four chances.

"They were a lot more aggressive and played with a lot more heart than we did."

Tyler Simpson led the Cougars (2-12, 0-7) with 10 points while Connor Crabtree had five rebounds and Shane Parsons had three steals.

Westfield rallies, but Bears escape with win

WESTFIELD (Jan. 14) - The Westfield Wolverines (3-8, 1-4) put together a valiant effort in the second half to rally from a 16-point deficit, but in the end, they ran out of time as the Frewsburg Bears (9-4) escaped with a 62-61 victory Thursday in CCAA West 2 boys high school basketball.

In the first half, the Wolverines had troubles defending Frewsburg's Cordell O'Brien and Matt Hair, as the duo combined for 26 of the team's 39 first-half points.

"It's a little frustrating," Westfield coach Bob North said. "We knew those were the two guys we had to stop. They knew it, they just didn't do it."

In the second half, the Wolverines' Trevor North and Max Bates played lockdown defense on O'Brien and Hair, as they combined for just 13 second-half points.

"They worked their tail off and (defensive) help was in the right spot," North said of Trevor North and Bates. "We executed. O'Brien is two or three inches taller than Trevor, and he did a nice job on him outside. Hair is a good player and Bates worked hard."

The Wolverines' offense also woke up in the second half, as it outscored the Bears, 38-23. In the contest, Westfield connected on nine 3-pointers.

"We have been shooting pretty well from the outside," North noted. "Now teams are starting to play us out there. David Grayson did a nice job getting in the lane. Offensively I was pleased - especially in the second half."

At the end of the third quarter, Westfield trailed, 50-44.

And in the final minute, the Wolverines had two chances to take the lead, but two turnovers put an end to the comeback bid.

O'Brien finished with 18 points and Hair had 21 points. The two also combined for 21 rebounds. Kole Brink chipped in with 11 points in the win.

Bates led Westfield's offense with 16 points while Grayson added 14. Trevor North added seven points, six rebounds and eight assists.



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