Five games in a day can really fill a notebook.
Here’s some additional notes and quotes that didn’t make the game stories from the action at Buffalo State.
Grab a cup of coffee, you’ll need it.
Class D: Maple Grove-Houghton
- Amazingly enough, this was my first time seein Chris Secky play live, and he didn’t disappoint. Despite being shackled to the bench for most of the first half, Secky put on a show in the third quarter. He dazzled the crowd with a Tim Hardaway-style crossover late in the quarter, freeing himself for a floater in the lane to make it 36-31.
- Maple Grove big man Kevin McElrath picked up his fourth foul with 1:44 left in the third quarter on a charge, sending him to the bench, but the Red Dragons were able to withstand his loss.
- Houghton hung tough for most of the game, including when Tyler Mastin hit a layup and made the ensuing free throw with 1:34 left in the third off a nice assist from David Roorbach. The shot made it 31-28 and Mastin celebrated by letting out a scream in front of the shirtless, painted Maple Grove fans.
- As you’ll read below in Maple Grove coach Curt Fischer’s quotes, going to an independent schedule this season was beneficial for the Red Dragons. Houghton started off strong in its first-ever trip to the Far West Regionals, but the Red Dragons never wavered, even with Secky on the bench. That can be attributed to their big-game experience.
And some quotes:
Maple Grove coach Curt Fischer
On Secky: “I don’t think that he was going to go home with a loss. That was in his mind at halftime. He was pretty down at halftime. But I saw that look in his eye. I kind of knew he was going to come out and, you know … I put him at the point and he felt a lot better about that, just to create. It gave him the opportunity to do what he does best. … I’m just so proud of him to get that 2,000th point, you know? As a coach, it’s an honor to coach somebody as good as he is. I was really overcome, still am overcome with emotion right now.”
On senior reserve Wil Nelson: “He doesn’t get a lot of minutes but he’s always our hottest shooter. We had to come in and have somebody put the ball in the hole, and those two threes were gigantic.”
On the defensive philosophy: “That was our whole intention was to come in with a lot of heat. We thought that would create offense. In the first half it should have created more points, I thought, but it didn’t. I think the kids kind of got shocked again when Chris was out of the game. They have to adjust and they didn’t do a good job of it in the beginning, but I give them all the credit in the world for playing good defense because if they didn’t play defense we could have been down by a lot of points.”
On going back to Glens Falls after playing an independent schedule: “It’s an amazing venue out there. It’s an awesome feeling to go there. I think it was in their heart that we had to get back there. After the schedule we played, it would have been like the season didn’t exist if we didn’t go there. There was a lot of pressure on us and we created that pressure and here we are.”
Houghton coach Phil Merrill
On his team’s reaction to pressure defense: “I never would have guessed their press would have hurt us. They were able to play physical enough to get us on our heels and the guys weren’t really reacting to it. -They did a nice job of keeping the ball out of [senior point guard] Jake’s [Merrill] hands. They really denied the ball to him. You take the ball out of the point guard’s hands, that hurts.”
On Secky: “I think he was just able to penetrate. … There were a couple times where someone else misses a shot and he’s there tipping it in. He’s just a very athletic player.”
Maple Grove senior Chris Secky
On hitting 2,000 career points in the third quarter: “It really wasn’t on my mind really because we were losing. I was pretty upset, actually, when they announced it because I hate losing more than anything. To get over 2,000 is pretty nice. Now I don’t have to worry about anything except winning a state championship.”
On the frustrating first half: “I don’t even know if I scored in the first half. I let my team down in the first half but it’s my job to pick them up in the second half and that’s what I had to do.”
On Nelson: “He’s probably our best shooter. You’ll never see him miss. In games, we tell him to shoot but he’s a bit tentative, but today he got in there and just shot it. If there’s anybody on the team that deserves to make those shots, it’s Willy.”
On what he said to Fischer after the game: “We just told each other we love each other. He’s a great guy. We’ve known each other my whole life. We were a little scared in the first half, but we had to come together. We just hugged each other and knew we were going back to where we wanted to be.”
On his mindset in the second half: “You’ve got to come out and think nobody can stop you. It might sound cocky or a little overconfident, but if you don’t have that mindset you’re not going to do well. I came out and was like, ‘there’s nobody that’s going to stop me. There’s nobody that’s going to deny me a chance to go to Glens Falls.’ ”
Class B: Olean-Batavia
- Offense doesn’t usually come to mind after a first half in which the teams scored 24 combined points, but Ryan Lollier’s circus layup just a minute and a half into the game was pretty for Olean.
- Batavia coach Buddy Brasky to his team after calling a timeout just two minutes into the game: “Are you kiddin me?” Brasky was none too pleased with how his team was moving the ball on offense.
- Batavia fans had nice student section, including 17 shirtless fans spelling out “Batavia Blue Devils. Olean had seven shirtless supporters spelling out “Huskies.”
- Batavia point guard Andrew Hoy ended a scoreless drought of 3:25 in the second quarter with a coast-to-coast layup. In sticking with the theme of the first half, however, he couldn’t hit the layup.
- Batavia senior Co Co Irvin (my favorite name of the Far Wests) picked up his second foul with less than a minute left in the first half on a questionable call underneath on Louis Proto. Looked like a good block. Proto missed both free throws.
- Proto hit a three-pointer for Olean to give the Huskies their only lead of the second quarter, 11-9, after a nice possession that featured good ball movement and plenty of patience.
- Batavia freshman Justin Washington is 6-foot-3 and built like a senior.
- Batavia rotated defenses between a soft 2-3 zone and straight man, while Olean used straight man the entire first half.
- Josh Budlong had a nice game for the Blue Devils with 10 points. Of course I nearly called him Jaley Smith, since that’s the name listed on the Batavia roster wearing the No. 20 that Budlong was in. - Hoy didn’t shoot well, but he’s a heck of a point guard. He kept the Blue Devils looking calm even when shots weren’t falling.
- A 10-0 run by Batavia gave them a 19-11 lead after Olean had gone ahead, 11-9, on Proto’s three.
- The Huskies didn’t let the game get away from them by going on a 6-0 run later in the third to make it 24-21 with 2:34 left. Ryan Carney, Joe Palumbo and Proto had baskets.
- In my game notes, I wrote Batavia was pulling away after Hoy fed Irvin for a layup with 4:11 left to make it 35-25. My bad. As you can read in the game story, Olean cut it to 36-35 with 1:46 left.
And some quotes:
Olean coach Jeff Anastasia
On the absence of Alex Moore: “You take almost 18 points out of the lineup, we’ve got to replace that. The other guys have to replace that. I felt we were very well-prepared defensively against Batavia. I knew pretty much what they were going to do against us. It was a matter of hitting some shots and we never got into a flow really.”
On Carney, who had 13 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter: “Ryan’s been like that. He’s been a big-time player. He’s been a clutch player for us the last three years. He was instrumental the year we won the state championship. That doesn’t surprise me about Ryan.”
Olean senior Ryan Carney
On his fourth quarter: “I wasn’t really trying to force shots. I was just letting the game come to me. You’ve got to have that urgency and I just got some open shots and was able to knock them down.”
On the disappointment of the loss: “It’s definitely real tough since I’m a senior and this is my last game. It’s hard to end. It’s real disappointing. Our goal this was to get back to states and win. It really hurt when Al down and to have this happen by two points was tough.”
Batavia coach Buddy Brasky
On the overall game: “We both played very good defense, that’s one thing. We knew they did and that’s what we really pride ourselves in.”
On the missed free throws at the end: “That’s a tough spot. One of them is a freshman [Washington], the other one is not one of our prime-time players, he’s our defender [Ryan Funke]. So we had two guys at the line that we didn’t really want there. Andrew [Hoy] had the ball in his hands with eight seconds left and he passed it. I didn’t want him passing that ball.”
Class A: Williamsville South-Newark
- Javon McCrea made it clear from the start he was going to be a force. He blocked at least two shots down low in the first five minutes and altered several others. If South was going to win Saturday, it was going to have to be from the perimeter.
- South’s leading scorer, Phil Stasiak, gutted through a back injury. He finished with 16 points, but his movements were deliberate.
- McCrea’s first two foul calls were questionable. The over-the-back call in the first quarter often goes uncalled, and I’m still trying to figure out how they called him for a block with the body on a seemingly clean swat in the second quarter.
- Jace Havilla proved to be just as much of a three-pointer shooter as any of the South gunners. He hit four in the game, including two during a big third quarter.
- South struggled at the free-throw line, shooting just 14 of 24.
- McCrea had the play of the first quarter, a follow-up dunk with one hand to give Newark a 15-12 lead.
- Erik Hansen provided an unexpected spark for the Billies. He finished with 22 points, including four three-pointers. He had back-to-back layups on great passes from Mark Coppola and Kevin O’Connell late in the second quarter.
- Davidlee Tack hit a pair of field goals to open the second half and push a four-point Newark lead to eight. Those were big points.
- Joe Licata caught fire briefly in the third with a pair of threes just 1:30 apart, but he was kept in check for the most part, finishing with 16 points.
- Funny part of the game: McCrea alone on the break with only Coppola back. A 6-foot-7 player against a 5-foot-7 player ended exactly how it should: With a big McCrea dunk.
- Newark coach Bob Havrilla during a timeout: “Switch it every time on the three.” Smart, smart advice. - Senior Sports Columnist Jerry Sullivan devoted an entire column to it, but it bears repeating. South’s Mark Coppola is an absolute treat to watch in person. He might be small, but he’s going to make some college very lucky.
- About the only thing that went wrong for McCrea was a missed alley-oop with about 30 seconds left. To make matters worse, he got hit with a technical for hanging on the rim.
And some quotes:
Williamsville South coach Al Monaco
On his thoughts of Newark coming in and after the game: “The games I had seen them were slow-paced games in the 50s. We thought we could run and press. We didn’t think their big guy would be able to run with us, but their other four guys sure did. I’m very impressed with them. They’re a very good team.”
On his team, which had a program-record 19 wins: “I couldn’t be more proud of them, they gave everything they possibly had. Even tonight, with us losing, those kids gave everything they have and you can’t ask for more than that.”
On Stasiak: “His back has been hurting him for a few weeks. In fact, after we beat East on Tuesday, he didn’t practice the rest of the week. It affected him, but to be honest we were just beaten by a better team tonight.”
On what went wrong offensively: “They played very good D on us. A lot of the threes that weren’t falling, they were contested. We depend on that dribble-drive where we get into the lane and make help come over so we can kick it out. With McCrea in the middle, they didn’t have to come off our shooters. They were able to just stay out there. We tried to outrun him to get down there before he could get back on ‘D’ but their other four guys especially ran very well.”
On Hansen: “He’s about our fourth option. That was the best game of his career. Easily the best game he’s ever played, which is great to see. He really stepped up big-time tonight and we needed it. He really kept us in the game and at least gave us a chance.”
Newark coach Bob Havrilla
On defending the three: “That was the biggest thing we talked about. We had to get out and contest the threes. That is what they do well. We talked about jumping and switching and contesting. For the most part we did well. In transition they got some off us when we didn’t match up, but for the most part we did a pretty darn good job.”
On McCrea: “We’re very fortunate to have Javon, without a doubt. Defensively and his presence in the post. But I think if you look at our scoring on a night when Javon struggled a little and had some foul trouble, our balance was … one of the biggest things with this team.”
On playing up tempo: “We try to run when we can. Lately teams have gone to that half court to slow our running game down and it’s been effective. When we got in the half court, we did what we had to do.”
Williamsville South senior Erik Hansen
On playing McCrea: “With that huge guy in there, it’s hard. I’m only 6-4. He’s a lot heavier than me and a lot taller. I did what I could, but it wasn’t enough to get the W. The only time I’ve done that [guard someone that size] is when we scrimmaged Nichols and I guarded Will Regan. It takes a lot out of you. I’m ready to go home and go to sleep right now.”
taggedBasketball | Maple Grove | Olean | Sports | Williamsville South