It’s been a while since JFK was a factor in the ECIC IV boys basketball race, but the Bears seem headed for their best season in recent years.
Mike Nawojski made one of two free throws with 7 seconds left before a last-second West Seneca East shot fell off, leaving JFK with a 62-60 nonleague victory on the Trojans’ home court Tuesday night.
"We’re off to a nice start," said JFK coach Tony Krupski. "We’re trying to keep it going. We’re riding the wave right now."
JFK is 6-1 in division play with the lone loss by three points at first-place Lackawanna (5-0). The return game between the teams will be Jan. 26 at JFK.
Zamari Mitchell scored 13 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter to lead a West Seneca East rally. The Trojans led by three with two minutes to play, but JFK had a 5-0 run to go in front. Jake Braniecki had a basket and Mitchell Fisher made three of four free throw attempts in the run.
Braniecki had 20 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Bears.
McKinley tops South Park
McKinley coach Zaire Dorsey was concerned about his teams lack of practice time going into Tuesday’s Yale Cup League 1 game against South Park.
"We hadn’t been in the gym since last Thursday and then for only an hour practice because there was a girls game scheduled on our floor," Dorsey said.
After-school activities were canceled last Friday and Monday was the Martin Luther King Day school holiday.
Practice or not, McKinley (4-1) turned in a strong performance in a 57-44 triumph over the visiting Sparks to move a step closer to East (5-1) in the Yale Cup standings. East’s loss was to McKinley, which has lost only to Middle Early College in League 1.
Deon Spencer led McKinley with 23 points. He also had eight assists and eight rebounds. Spencer also took over the defensive assignment on South Park scoring leader Ray Mushat in the second half.
McKinley will be home for its return games against East and Middle Early College.
Billies roll over Panthers
Williamsville South (9-3, 5-0 ECIC II) is threatening to run away with the ECIC II title unless Williamsville East can throw a throw up a roadblock on the Billies when they meet Friday at East.
Greg Dolan scored 35 points to lead the Billies to 79-48 triumph over Sweet Home Tuesday night.
The Billies limited the Panthers to 32 points through three periods to take charge. The Panthers, who had lost only once previously in the division, never got their offense going against a strong defensive effort by South. No Sweet Home player scored in double figures.
Dolan also had 10 rebounds. Senior Robert Richards had 17 points for the winners.
Frontier made a school record 17 three-point shots in an 88-59 triumph over Depew in a nonleague game. The host Falcons made 14 of the threes in the first half. They were 17 of 32 from behind the arc. Ben Taylor made 7 of 8 threes to lead Frontier, scoring all 21 of his points from the outside. Kyle Ebert added 19 points for the Falcons. Chad Biersbach had 21 for the losing Wildcats.
Amherst wins at Clarence
Amherst’s team of mostly underclassmen keeps impressing in girls basketball.
Tuesday night, Coach Mike Chatelle’s Tigers scored a surprisingly decisive 74-54 victory over Clarence.
Amherst is ranked No. 4 in the most recent Buffalo News large school poll. Clarence was ranked No. 5.
Junior Emma Klein had 25 points to lead the Tigers. Freshman Ella Wanzer had 22.
Besides her scoring, Klein had seven steals.
Emma Stelley, another junior, had 12 points and eight rebounds for Amherst.
Clarence was led by Ella Rose Eckert’s 26 points. Carly Reynolds added 17 points for the Red Devils.
Hockey rematch set
Monsignor Martin and Williamsville cleared the decks for their showdown at 4:30 p.m. today at Amherst Northtown Center in the Western New York Girls Varsity Hockey Federation. Each scored a victory in league play on Tuesday.
Fionna Danahy’s three-point game helped Monsignor Martin to a 3-2 victory over Lancaster/Iroquois/Depew at Holiday Twin Rinks.
Holly Schmelzer scored three times for Williamsville in a 6-3 win over Clarence/Amherst/Sweet Home (CASH) at Northtown, avenging their only loss in league play.
Monsignor Martin’s only league loss was to Williamsville, 2-1, on Dec. 7.
Wilson's Bender signs with Gannon
John Bender of Wilson, who pitched a perfect game against Niagara-Orleans League champion Roy-Hart last spring and set a Section VI record with a .651 batting average, has signed to play baseball at Gannon University in Erie, Pa. Besides pitching, Bender has played shortstop and catcher for the Lakemen. He was a first team All-Niagara Orleans League and first team All-Western New York selection last spring.