Dominick Welch was more or less unstoppable for Cheektowaga on Tuesday night. That meant the Warriors weren’t going to lose.
Welch poured in 39 points, enough to beat Starpoint by himself. Cheektowaga finished with a 65-37 victory.
“He got hot,” Warriors coach Pat Cullinan said. “He had 28 points at halftime. We got a big lead, so we took him out with a little bit of time left.”
Welch and the rest of the Cheektowaga team started slowly. The Spartans had a 17-14 lead after a quarter, but the Warriors responded with a 26-6 outburst that decided the game.
“They came out playing hard, while we came out a little slow,” Cullinan said. “After that, the team kind of followed Dominick’s lead.”
Vaughn Burdett had 11 points for the Warriors, while Welch had 14 rebounds. Derek Clemons had 13 points to lead Starpoint.
“We’re pretty happy about how the season is going,” Cullinan said about his 2-3 team. “We’ve had a tough nonleague schedule, but it’s going to prepare us for the long season ahead.”
Elsewhere, Chautauqua Lake did some good-sized celebrating after a 58-57 win over Olean. The Huskies have been in the way of the Thunderbirds over the years, and the win is a sign that Chautauqua Lake’s 5-0 record is for real.
Devin Pope had 25 points for the Thunderbirds, who held on for the win as a last-second three-pointer by Olean failed to connect. Monty Shoemaker had 24 points for the Huskies.
Mario Wright scored on a bank shot at the buzzer to give Grand Island a thrilling 58-56 overtime win over Kenmore West. Wright finished with 14 points, and teammate Cam Sionko had 22. Tyler Wright and Tyler Aquilina had 16 points for the Blue Devils.
Williamsville North struggled with West Seneca West but came away with a 72-64 win. Jairus Huggins had 27 points and 16 points for the Spartans in their second straight win in ECIC I.
In ECIC III, Ray Blackwell was in top form for Maryvale. He had 33 points, a career high, to lead the Flyers to an easy 60-34 win over Pioneer.
Kyle DeVoogel got his Niagara-Orleans season off to a good start. The Newfane guard had 25 points and seven steals to pace the Panthers to a 68-44 win over Roy-Hart. Jacob Bruning scored 17 points for the Rams.
In nonleague play, Lake Shore held on for a 41-38 win over Iroquois. The Eagles held the Chiefs to three points in the final period.
Slow, then fast for Kenmore West
There are slow starts, and there are very slow starts. Kenmore West’s girls basketball team opened its game with Grand Island even slower than that.
The Blue Devils fell behind, 15-1, after the first quarter. But Kenmore West turned things around from there to take a 44-42 win over the Vikings.
“We outscored them, 33-12, in the second and third quarters,” coach Jeff Martin of the Blue Devils said. “That’s when we switched to a man-to-man defense.”
The switch helped, and so did the play of Abby Borkowski. She had all 12 of her points in the middle quarters.
Kelsey Harrigan had 16 points for Grand Island, which came back in the fourth quarter and had a chance to win. But the Vikings’ last shot didn’t fall, and Kenmore West had its third win in four league starts.
“It was a nice Christmas present,” Martin said.
Amherst and Lockport went into their game with both teams ranked in the top 10 of the large-school poll, but it was the No. 6 Tigers that had the better of the play against the No. 10 Lions. Claire Wanzer and
Emma Klein scored 14 points each to lead Amherst to the 51-23 win. Wanzer, one of the top guards in Western New York, added three assists and three steals.
In a nonleague matchup, Frewsburg – ranked No. 6 among small schools – earned a nice 44-41 win over Allegany-Limestone. Gabby Iuculano had 12 points and five steals for the Bears, while Brooke Giardini led the Gators with 18 points.
Molly Mahony had 20 points, 10 rebounds and five steals for Lancaster as the Legends beat West Seneca East, 63-30. Amanda Weiner led the Trojans with 13 points. Caroline Zanghi had 19 points as St. Mary’s moved to 7-0 with a 57-39 win over Holland.
Amanda Gaffney had the game-winning goal for Williamsville in a hard-fought 3-1 win over Kenmore/Grand Island. She scored in the third period to break a 1-1 tie, and Leah Czerwinski had her second goal of the night into an empty net to wrap it up.
“It was a tough game - it’s been two games in two days against strong teams,” Williamsville coach Rick Hopkins said.
Williamsville is sailing along so far at 8-0-1, leaving Hopkins with few complaints.
“It’s been a good month,” he said. “But we want to get better every game. We want to play well when it matters.”
Olivia Smith had the lone goal for Kenmore/Grand Island.
Orchard Park/Frontier/Lake Shore improved to 6-2 with a 5-2 win over Amherst/Sweet Home/Clarence. Meghan Roche and Laurie Kromer both had two goals for OP/F/L.
Elsewhere, Jersey Phillips had three goals and two assists while Jill Blas added three assists as Lancaster/Iroquois/Depew rolled past West Seneca/Hamburg/Eden, 8-3.