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T’birds take down Dunkirk to take first place in league

January 18, 2017
Westfield Republican

Tied 75-all with just over four minutes to go, Chautauqua Lake's Aaron Swan and Devin Pope - like they had all night - took matters into their own hands, leading the Thunderbirds (10-1, 5-0) to a thrilling 85-79 win over Dunkirk (6-5, 3-1) Friday night in a CCAA West 1 boys basketball matchup for first place.

"No," Dunkirk head coach Jack O'Brien said flatly when asked if he thought his team matched up well with Swan and Pope. "They combined for 64 points.

"I didn't think we did a bad job in the first half," O'Brien added. "But when it came down to it in the end, those two guys had the ball in their hands and they went in and played physical, got to the rim and finished strong."

Article Photos

Photo by Gib Snyder III
Dunkirk’s Felix Garcia, left, guards Chautauqua Lake’s Aaron Swan during Friday’s CCAA West 1 boys high school basketball game.

Pope connected on one of two free throws to tie the game at 75 with 4:08 remaining in regulation, then proceeded to score six of his team's final 10 points while Swan, who finished with a school-record 35 on the night, added four, including the final two points to push Chautauqua Lake's lead to 85-79, where it stayed.

"Aaron Swan is a phenomenal player," Chautauqua Lake coach?Mike Putney said. "And for a guy who gives it up every night - he could be in the headlines every night along with Devin Pope - but he showed (Friday) why he is the true leader of this team. He works his butt off."

Tied at 59 after three quarters, the teams traded the lead 12 times before Pope's free throw put the Thunderbirds up for good.

"We never give up and we thrive on going to the basket," Putney said. "(Friday) it was Aaron and Devin taking over, but they can't take over if not for our role players. Those role players came in huge. They came up and set the screens, got the rebounds and moved the ball and if they can get it to (Swan and Pope) great things are going to happen."

The Thunderbirds held a 41-38 lead heading into the third quarter, increasing their lead to 47-40 and 52-44, before an 8-0 run punctuated by a traditional three-point play by Dunkirk's Shamon Stewart tied the game 52-all with 3:08 left in the frame.

"(Dunkirk) has Shamon (Stewart) back in their lineup and I missed seeing him play last year," Putney said. "And I told him after the game that he's a great player and I said to him, 'Stay healthy, my friend.' He's a great player."

The teams went back and forth the rest of the third quarter, with Pope giving Chautauqua Lake a 55-52 lead and a 57-54 lead with 2:08 left, before a Stewart 3-pointer tied it with 1:40 remaining. Another basket by Stewart, this one with 29 seconds left, put Dunkirk up 59-57, but a layup by Swan with four ticks left on the clock tied the game, 59-59.

"Some day hopefully I'll be able to look back and enjoy this," O'Brien said. "I don't know how much enjoyment I get coming out on the losing end. But I'm proud of the way our guys competed, without question. And I'm proud of the effort, because I thought there were times that we were certainly getting offensive rebounds, extending possessions and we had guys come off the bench and give us great energy and great minutes. Our bench was engaged the whole night and that's what you need on the road, so we're learning these things and we hope that they will pay off in the long run."

The first quarter set the pace for the rest of the game, with the game tied at 19-all late in the frame, but a 5-0 run, highlighted by a Seth Rasmus 3-pointer, put the Marauders up 24-19 heading into the second quarter.

"I thought we came out strong, even though they were able to do a good job of breaking our press," O'Brien said. "But we were able to make some adjustments, get a few turnovers, push the pace and get a few easy looks. I was definitely impressed with how we came out and started on the road We'll see them again in a few weeks."

"They're a great team," Putney said of the Marauders. "They're well coached and I told Jack before the game how beautiful it is that we've got all these great teams in our league and how nice it is that we've got Olean who is dominant in (Class) A, Dunkirk in Class B and we're playing very well in Class C. It's a beautiful thing for our league. It was just fun. It was a fun game. We wished each other luck before the game and then we went at it."

Chautauqua Lake answered in the second quarter, however, as 14-6 run, spurred by five points by Swan and six by Pope, put the Thunderbirds up 33-30 with 3:49 remaining before the break.

"We've seen them play so we knew that they liked to get out in transition, send a guy out (in transition), even instead of rebounding defensively," O'Brien said. "And (Devin) Pope is an unbelievable transition passer and they go to the rack hard and finish and they definitely beat us in the transition game. There's no question about that and that ended up being the difference in the game."

Dunkirk kept it as close as it could, but Swan poured in seven of his 35 and Chautauqua Lake took a slim 41-38 lead into the locker room.

"That's exactly what I wanted," Putney said of the pace of play Friday night. "I wanted to move the ball. And people told me I was crazy wanting to run with Dunkirk, because they're fast. I just said, 'Of course they're fast, but we're fast, too.' And you know what, I said that we'll just slug it out."

Pope added six assists, six steals and five rebounds to go with his 29 points, Swan chipped in a team-high six rebounds and Tyler Meredith finished with 11 points in the win.

"We went into overdrive," Putney said of his team's effort over the final four minutes of the game. "When you get the ball into Aaron's hands and Devin's hands at the end of the game, they're ballers and they want that pressure. They're looking to play (in college) and that's what I want for them. This is a big-stage game and I told them that big players have to play big in big-stage games."

For Dunkirk, Stewart had 16 points, a game-high 13 rebounds and five assists while Darnell Butts added 16 points of his own. Also for the Marauders, Evon Hernandez had 15 points while Tyreese Kristan-Johnson (three rebounds) and Noah Sobilo (five rebounds) had seven points each in a losing effort.

"We're a youthful team as far as experience goes," O'Brien said. "So I told our guys that coming here and getting a win in this environment was going to be tough. And there was no question about that, because (Chautauqua Lake) played a heck of a game and worked hard. We see them everywhere in the offseason and they're working and we're working. Nobody is taking any time off and this is the shootout that we wanted. Of course we would have liked to have come out on top, but that's the way we want to play basketball. We want to run the floor and push the pace, but unfortunately we didn't do those things (Friday)."

Dunkirk is back in action on Tuesday, Jan. 17 when it hosts Maple Grove while Chautauqua Lake is on the road at Fredonia the same night.


CCAA West 2

Sherman 58, Westfield 28

SHERMAN - The Sherman Wildcats (7-1, 3-0) cruised to a 58-28 victory over the Westfield Wolverines (2-6, 1-2) on Wednesday in CCAA West 2 boys high school basketball.

Sherman's Chris Robson, arguably the best player in Chautauqua County, scored all 12 of his points in the first half. His offense was not needed after that as Sherman exploded out of the gates for a 20-3 lead after the first quarter and a 32-13 halftime cushion.

The Wildcats continued to score in the second half, outscoring the visitors, 26-15.

Jared Gleason had 12 points, 12 rebounds and four assists while Kolby Parks scored a game-high 14 points with four assists and five steals.

Julio Torres led the Wildcats with seven points and six rebounds. Shawn Horr and Kolby Bills each pulled down six boards in a losing effort.



Photo by Roger Coda Westfield's Brock Schuster (15) shoots over a trio of Frewsburg defenders during Tuesday's CCAA West 2 boys high school basketball game.

Three-week rust dooms Wolverines in defeat

The Westfield Wolverines (2-5, 1-1) had not played a game in exactly three weeks, and coach Bob North said it was evident as the Frewsburg Bears (8-2, 4-1) walked away with a 73-42 victory in CCAA West 2 boys high school basketball Tuesday.

"It looked like we hadn't played in a while," North said. "We did not look good at either end of the court. It was three-week rust, for sure."

The Bears held a slim 12-9 lead after eight minutes and a nine-point edge at halftime. But in the second half, the Bears outscored the home team, 42-19.

In the first half, Frewsburg's Cordell O'Brien had 13 points and had a hand in seven more points to keep the Bears in front.

"We knew O'Brien was tough coming in," North said. "He had 13 points and most of his (five) assists were in the first half. We tried to play matchup zone and we didn't do a very good job."

During the third quarter, Westfield made just one field goal and was 7 of 15 from the charity stripe. Overall, the Wolverines were just 14 of 31 from the foul line.

O'Brien finished with a game-high 21 points while Brad Nelson and Caleb Caldwell each had 11. O'Brien also had eight rebounds while Quinn Conlan had nine.

Westfield's leading scorer was David Grayson with 11 points. Kolby Bills had six rebounds in defeat.

The Wolverines travel to Sherman today.


BROCTON - The Panama Panthers (1-9) walked out of Brocton (0-9, 0-4) with a 47-34 victory over the Brocton Bulldogs on Tuesday in a battle of winless teams.

The Bulldogs managed just three points in the opening eight minutes of the CCAA West 2 boys high school basketball contest and could never get on track.

"We picked the worst night to have our worst game," Brocton coach Matt Sieberg said. "Once we made three points in the first quarter, I knew we had to get hot or we would be in trouble. Panama executed well and played with more intensity. It's not that we aren't hustling, we just aren't playing with the same intensity. We picked a bad night to not execute offensively or defensively."

Nolan Eggleston led Panama with 13 points while Lucas Golden had 11 for the victors. Eggleston and Tom Delahoy each had six rebounds for the Panthers.

Armed with a 23-12 halftime lead and a 36-21 advantage heading into the fourth quarter, the Panthers played smart basketball to ensure their first win of the season.

"They got a lead and sat on it," Seiberg said. "When we got down, they sat on the clock and used the shot clock correctly and were able to make a couple points. It's tough to come back and challenge. I would have sat on the clock, too."

Johnethen Spicer was the lone bright spot for the Bulldogs with 16 points and as many rebounds. Tyler DeRosier had seven rebounds to go along with his five points.

Brocton looks for its first win Friday at Sherman.


CLYMER - Dylan Davis turned in a fine all-around performance to lead a balanced attack, helping Clymer to a 61-51 CCAA West 2 victory over Cassadaga Valley.

Davis scored nine points to go along with 14 rebounds, two blocked shots and three assists. Josh VanEarden added 15 points; Dustin Neckers chipped in 13 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three blocks; Corey Neckers added 11 points; Jordan Wade had 10 points; and Robert Overton dished out six assists for the Pirates (5-4, 2-1).

Brandon Chamberlin paced the Cougars (3-6, 1-1) with 21 points and eight steals; Connor Crabtree added 17 points; and Hunter Pastor brought down 11 rebounds.

Clymer led 18-13 after the first quarter and 42-26 at halftime.



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