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Friday Night Live: OP's Nowak hits buzzer-beating three to stun Jamestown

I'll be courtside for the big ECIC I matchup of Jamestown at Orchard Park tonight.

In between live updates and note-taking and iPhone-video-ing, I might tune in to the internet broadcasts of two key Monsignor Martin games: St. Joe's at Bishop Timon-St. Jude or St. Francis hosting Nichols.  

A special matchup I wrote about in this week's Scholastic Spotlight is the coaching battle of father vs. son as Maryvale and head coach/father Mark Kensy visit Amherst and head coach/son Chris Kensy.

Also tonight: North Tonawanda can clinch a tie for the Niagara Frontier League title with a league schedule-concluding victory over Kenmore West, Lackawanna hosts Section V power Batavia and the Niagara-Orleans/Genesee Region Challenge begins with two games at Genesee Community College.

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When all the action is over, we'll have our second episode of PrepTalkTV up and running later tonight.

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7:42 p.m. We have a seat behind the scorer's table at Orchard Park, where we are about five minutes away from tipoff after senior night ceremonies have delayed the start a bit.

This is my 10th year covering high school sports in Western New York. I have been to the Orchard Park football field several times. I have been to OP lacrosse games and practices several times. This is my first trip to the OP gym, which tells you a little about how good a year the Quakers are having in hoops. 

The gym is mostly white with maroon trim, with a "HOME OF THE QUAKERS" painted in huge block letters on the wall behind me. There are some banners on the wall, but certainly not as many as the school could have. There is a state championship for baseball (1988), football and volleyball (2008) and a separate volleyball banner (1986, 1991). 

7:52 p.m We're about to tip off. 

8:04 p.m. There is 1:59 left in the first quarter with OP leading Jamestown, 13-11. 

8:08 p.m. After the first quarter, Orchard Park leads Jamestown, 16-11. A three-pointer by Joe Lombardo in the final minute for OP came off a nice pass after Troy Nowak and Dan Nesci played something of a two-man game. Nowak is getting a lot of attention from Jamestown's defense, and rightly so. He's got four points but other Quakers are getting involved. 

8:13 p.m. OP takes a timeout after an outstanding play by Darin Butts, who cleanly blocked Nowak's jumper from behind, then went on a fast-break that he finished with a behind-the-back pass to Jaysean Paige for the layup and a 20-19 lead. Awesome play. Not awesome that it's not on the iPhone.

8:16 p.m. Another timeout -- with 4:36 left in the second quarter, Jamestown is up, 24-19, and is looking very good. 

8:25 p.m. Jamestown looking verrrry good. The Red Raiders are up, 36-19, with 28.3 seconds left. Carlos Rivera just called a timeout before getting bumped out of bounds. 

8:30 p.m. At halftime, Jamestown leads OP, 36-21. 

Jamestown OWNed the second quarter, 23-5. The Raiders actually scored all of its points in a 23-0 run; OP scored the first and last baskets of the period, during which Nowak had to sit out a few minutes with a cut.

8:36 p.m. We've got a report from Sean Bruso that Amherst leads Maryvale, 29-24, at halftime.

8:42 p.m. Jamestown calls a timeout with 4:32 left in the third quarter with the Red Raiders up, 42-26.

8:52 p.m. At the end of the third quarter, Jamestown leads OP, 51-33.

The St. Francis guys are talking like Nichols is going to beat the Raiders, but they don't update the score enough on the air. I like the broadcasts, but that's one thing they can work on.

8:58 p.m. Jamestown coach Ben Drake calls a timeout and is fired up over some missed defensive assignments -- even though the Raiders lead, 55-39. 

CANESTRO is back for Nichols. Just verified it when I heard is name on the St. Francis broadcast after he hit a three.  Again, sounds like Nichols is in control, but I don't hear a score. Granted, I'm listening in portions, but the radio rule is to say the score every once in a while.

Whoa. They just said it -- 71-45 Nichols with about three minutes left in the fourth.

A Nowak three brings OP to within 55-42 and we've got about six minutes to go.

9:01 p.m. An OP timeout with Jamestown up, 59-42, withi 4:53 left.

9:06 p.m. WOW. Quite a run for OP, which now trails, 61-55, with 2:21 left.

9:08 p.m. Another steal and a layup for OP, which calls a timeout trailing, 61-57, with 1:55 left. WOW.

9:13 p.m. Jamestown's lead is now 61-60 with 1:18 left. Unbelievable.

9:14 p.m. Still 61-60, Jamestown ball, 41.5 seconds left.

9:19 p.m. STILL 61-60, OP ball, 4.5 seconds left. 

Report from Timon says St. Joe's won there. Whoa.

9:23 p.m. We have a final score: TROY NOWAK hits a BUZZER-BEATING THREE-POINTER and ORCHARD PARK beats JAMESTOWN, 63-61.

I don't go to the all-caps often. But that was ridiculous.

More to come, including video of the game-winner.

10:06 p.m. Did interviews, got the box score and a writeup into the paper and we're editing video right now for PrepTalkTV. Reporter Lauren Mariacher got here for the fourth quarter -- right on time to catch all the action. Unbelievable.

The victory gives OP the ECIC I title for the first time since 1998, when former Canisius College standout Brian Dux was a junior.

Nowak's three-pointer from the left side, shot over the outstretched arms of Jamestown 6-foot-8 center Fletcher Larson, turned a 61-60 lead for Jamestown into a stunning victory for Orchard Park, whose bleacher full of students rushed the floor in celebration.

The game-winning play relied on great passes by two reserves who had hardly seen any action in the game. The Quakers inbounded the ball from underneath their own basket with 4.5 seconds left. Junior Kyle Witkowski, with the basket to his left, inbounded the ball down the right side of the court and his overhand pass found junior guard Ryan Lindquist. Lundquist whipped a fantastic crosscourt pass to a streaking Nowak. Nowak's shot ball went through the net as the buzzer sounded.

Jamestown coach Ben Drake called the loss, "crushing."

11:04 p.m. Just got kicked out of the Orchard Park gym by a janitor. I'm not happy. Seething.

I asked someone from OP if we would be fine after the game and he said we were. Argh. I guess these are the frustrations of getting into the video business.

As soon as the video is completed, it will be posted here. Our apologies.

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Here's Friday's edition of PrepTalkTV:

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Some other big results from tonight:

As I mentioned above, Canestro is back for Nichols, which is much more newsworthy than even the Vikings' 72-54 rout at St. Francis.  

So welcome back Canestro, and welcome back St. Joe's. The Marauders get a really big win at Timon, 60-53. St. Joe's gets its mojo back just in time for Sunday's trip to Canisius at 3 p.m. (I'll be there instead of the Daytona 500 for the first time in a while, and no, that's not a complaint). 

In the battle of father vs. son, dad Mark Kensy and his Maryvale team beat son Chris Kensy, the coach of Amherst. Blair Estarfaa's layup in the final seconds made the difference in the 61-60 thriller.

North Tonawanda clinches a share for the Niagara Frontier League title with a 55-43 win over Kenmore West

A nice win for West Seneca West, which beats Frontier, 45-44.

Lackawanna fell to Section V power Batavia at home, 50-43.

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Here is the scoreboard.

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Of course, if you see a game tonight, let us know what you thought of the action, the teams, the players, even the programs, the PA guy and the concession stand.

---Keith McShea


Basketball | Jamestown | Orchard Park
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About Prep Talk

Keith McShea

Keith McShea

Keith McShea has covered high school sports at The News since his hiring in 1999. The 1995 University at Buffalo graduate and Long Island native (North Babylon Bulldogs) covers — and live blogs — everything from scrimmages to state championships & helps head The News' All-Western New York selections.

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