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Fredonia overwhelms CL in boys basketball

February 4, 2016
By Gib Snyder III ( , Westfield Republican

After Carter Davidson hit a 3-pointer to open the game, things went downhill for Chautauqua Lake (11-5, 5-4) Friday night, as the Thunderbirds were overwhelmed by the Fredonia Hillbillies (12-4, 6-2), 71-35, in CCAA West 1 boys basketball action at Fredonia High School.

"I was nervous as soon as Davidson hit that three to start (the game)," Fredonia head coach Greg Lauer said. "It was like, 'Here we go.' You cannot let a team like Chautauqua Lake get hot early on your home floor. And being able to curtail that early and then be able to go on that big run was huge for us. But no lead is safe with them, because they have the ability to just hit threes left and right."

As it turned out, Lauer and his players had nothing to worry about. After Davidson's game-opening trey, the Hillbillies went on a 17-2 run to close out the first quarter, a run fueled by seven points from Eric Swoyer and six more from Michael Pucci.

The run continued into the second quarter, ending at 26-2 after a bucket by Joel Vinciguerra. But the damage had been done and Fredonia held a commanding 26-7 lead with 4:20 left in the first half.

"I take full blame if our guys don't produce," Chautauqua Lake head coach Michael Putney said. "I tell the guys wins are on them, losses are on me. We've got to work harder, but it's not back to the drawing board by any means. But we're a work in progress and Fredonia's an excellent team."

Fredonia took a 34-16 lead into the break, before keeping up the defensive pressure in the second half, as it held Chautauqua Lake to about half of its normal offensive output of 69.2 points per game.

"They're a very aggressive defensive team," Putney said of the Hillbillies. "Our hats are off to them. They played a standout game.

"I'm glad we play in this division, because we play the types of teams we'll face in the playoffs down the road," Putney added. "So if you don't play teams like this, you can't get better."

The Hillbillies went on a 9-2 run to open the second half, then added a 13-6 run later in the third quarter to boost its lead to 56-26 heading into the final stanza.

On the night, the Thunderbirds shot just 11 of 36 from the field and 2 of 21 from beyond the arc, percentages that Putney knows are not going to win his team many games. But that does not mean he was all that surprised his team struggled Friday night.

"Yes and no," Putney said, when asked if he was surprised his team struggled on offense. "Because if you face a team that plays good defense, that is very aggressive, it's hard to score on them. We weren't getting many open looks, we weren't getting many drives to the basket and they slid their feet well. So am I surprised? Not 100 percent. They're a quick team, they get back defensively."

Pope and Tyler Meredith (five rebounds) tied for the team high in points at nine while Pope added seven rebounds, five steals and two blocks. Davidson finished with just six points while adding three blocks.

"Our practice Thursday was phenomenal," Putney said. "We worked really hard and this is a great bunch of guys that constantly work and they thrive on big games. But (Friday) wasn't their night and that's the way we look at it. We won't dwell on it, we'll look forward and we'll look to the next team we play. We already talked about getting into practice and they can't wait to get back at it. That's what these guys are about."



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