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Chautauqua Lake’s late run spoils Dunkirk’s Senior Night

February 18, 2016
By Gib Snyder III ( , Westfield Republican

Down 46-45 with just over three minutes left in the third quarter, Chautauqua Lake (13-6, 7-4) used a 13-4 run to pull away from Dunkirk (11-8, 7-5) for a 76-64 CCAA West 1 boys basketball win Tuesday on Senior Night at Dunkirk Senior High School.

"It was definitely not the result we wanted," Dunkirk head coach Jack O'Brien said. "We needed something like this for the playoffs going forward, and to come up short was definitely disappointing."

The Thunderbirds entered the third quarter up, 32-31, but a pair of 3-pointers - one by Evon Hernandez and the other by Caleb Rasmus - helped the Marauders to a 37-34 lead. From there, it was back and forth, as neither team was able to bust the game open. That was, however, until Chautauqua Lake ratcheted up its zone defense and started hitting more shots than it missed the rest of the third quarter, as it outscored Dunkirk, 26-19.

"We wanted to preach consistency," Chautauqua Lake head coach Michael Putney said. "We boxed out in the first half, and we knew, from the last time we played them, that they were a phenomenal athletic team. And if (Dunkirk) can get up, and if you don't box out, it can be a long game."

Leading the way for Chautauqua Lake in the third was big man Nate Hammond, who scored 10 of his 14 points on the night, including his team's first six points of the second half.

"I preached to him don't change your shot," Putney said of Hammond. "(Dunkirk) has great shot blockers, but if they don't regain possession off the shot block, we still have another chance to score."

Dunkirk cut the Chautauqua Lake lead to five, 60-55, early in the fourth quarter, but a big 3-pointer by sophomore Devin Pope and a basket by Tyler Meredith put the Thunderbirds up 10, 65-55 with 4:17 remaining in regulation.

"It seemed like we were closing the gap and then Pope hit that big three in the fourth when we got (the deficit) down to maybe five," O'Brien said. "He's a heck of a player and you can't give him really any space. He shot the ball well (Tuesday)."

An eight-point effort by Davidson in the second quarter, and a basket by Pope with 43 second left, helped the Thunderbirds to their 32-31 lead heading into halftime, as Chautauqua Lake's defensive zone began to give Dunkirk more trouble than it could handle.

"They have three great scorers," O'Brien said. "(Aaron) Swan, Davidson and Pope can all shoot it and can all hurt you. And it makes it tough when you have three guys that you can't really give much space, because they'll hurt you. And it makes it hard to play help defense. They did an excellent job of catching the ball in the perimeter and going right around our guys to get to the rim."

Pope led the Thunderbirds with a game-high 23 points while Davidson finished with 22 points. Pope added 11 rebounds to finish with a double-double, Davidson chipped in four steals and Swan had eight points, 11 assists and five steals.

"Carter's a great offensive player,' Putney said. "I will miss him next year when he leaves. He's always that spark offensively, he can hit the big three, he can hit the short-range shot, but it doesn't happen without the play of my point guard, Aaron Swan, who had 11 assists. He's a very unselfish guard who can score 20 of his own, but he likes to find that open man."

Seniors Rashad Brown, Isaiah Thomas, Chad Butts and Kobe DeJesus all played their final regular season game at home Tuesday night, with Brown and Thomas having the most success. Brown finished 9 of 9 from the field, had 18 rebounds and five blocks while Thomas added 13 rebounds to go with his 16 points. Butts finished with nine points, six rebounds and five assists while DeJesus had three points and four rebounds.

"Rashad was an animal defensively," O'Brien said. "And I think it was in the third and fourth quarters when it just seemed like he was rejecting everything that went up. It was good to see."



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