Bennett made it quite a Yale Cup week as it knocked off its second ranked large school in three days. After winning at No. 9 Riverside on Wednesday, the Tigers got great balance and grit to knock off previously undefeated and No. 5 McKinley, 76-67.
The Tigers (6-3, 3-2) jumped to leads of 15-1 and 17-2 in a 23-12 first quarter, and they answered every comeback attempt by the Macks, right to the final minutes.
"I told my guys since Day One that they were capable of a lot, and it finally came together," said Bennett coach Randy Rakowski. "They weren't afraid to plays these games at all. They've been working hard all season and when it came right down to it, I think their heart won out."
The Macks came within four twice in the final 1:30, but two free throws by Derrick Turner with 54 seconds left, a steal and a free throw by Jahad Wiley and an emphatic exclamation point of a dunk by McKenzie Brown in the final seconds helped the Tigers to a huge celebration as the buzzer sounded.
Point guard William Vanoy had six of his 19 points in the fourth quarter, including a pivotal three-pointer. Forest Richardson (also six in the fourth) and Brown each scored 16, Wiley had nine and Turner had eight.
"It feels great -- it started in classroom and carried over to court and practice," said Vanoy. "At the beginning of the season, a lot of people were ineligible. We got it right in classroom, then we got it right on the court."
Antonio Avery's 16 and Dujuan Rutledge's 14 led McKinley (8-1, 5-1).
Elsewhere, Hutch-Tech survived its road trip to Lafayette, beating the Violets, 50-46. The Engineers scored just three points in the first quarter and were a woeful 11 of 31 from the line, but put together a big third quarter to improve to 6-4, 4-2.
"It was ugly, really ugly," said Tech coach Dave Rappl. "It just takes getting used to the court, it throws you off. We practice using the volleyball lines on our court as the out of bounds, but it's not the same as playing there."
Maurice Miles led Tech with 19 points. Denzell Washington helped shift the momentum of the game in the third quarter with seven points, eight rebounds and five steals.
Kadeem Hillman had 23 points, 23 rebounds and four blocks as No. 1 ranked small school I-Prep at Grover Cleveland defeated MST Seneca, 80-66. Chris Holland added 19 points and Kenny Pringle netted 15 for the Presidents (8-3, 5-0).
Christian Boettcher and Bob Kowal had 13 points each as JFK slowed Cleveland Hill, 50-44, in ECIC IV. The Eagles had won their last six in a row. Jim Quinn hit a three-pointer in the fourth quarter to give JFK its biggest lead of the game at 47-38. The win give JFK (6-1) a season sweep of its crosstown rival. The Bears also won the first game, 61-50, on Dec. 10.
Joe Licata drained seven three-pointers to move into No. 3 in New York State for most threes in a career, as Williamsville South downed Starpoint, 73-44, in ECIC II. Licata and Jim Caputi finished with 25 points each while Phil Stasiak added 24.
Licata now has 305 three-pointers, three shy of No. 2 Eric Siegrist of II-Spackenkill and 29 short of the state record held by Artavius Fisher of I-Kingston. Licata has 58 threes in 11 games. The Billies move to 10-1, 6-0.
Blair Estarfaa had 25 points, five rebounds and four assists to lead a balanced Maryvale effort in the pivotal third quarter as well as throughout the night as the Flyers won at ECIC III rival Depew, 70-46.
Maryvale (8-2, 6-1) used a 24-13 third quarter to turn a five-point game at the half (28-23) into a rout.
In the third, Ty Buczkowski (15 points, 10 rebounds) got the Flyers started with seven quick points, including a three-pointer. Andrew Luckey had six of his 10 points, Shane Mullen had five (including a three) of his 12 points and Estarfaa had three baskets for six points.
Jamestown was ready to board its bus for its game at Williamsville North on Friday afternoon, but at the last minute decided not to make the road trip because of the weather. No makeup date has been set for the much-anticipated ECIC I contest between the Red Raiders (9-2), ranked No. 2 in The Buffalo News' large school poll, and North (7-2), ranked No. 9. The Red Raiders were coming to town having won six straight. The game was one of eight boys games postponed out of 45 on Friday's schedule.
Orchard Park, Hamburg, West Seneca East, West Seneca West, and East Aurora all canceled their after-school and evening activities because of a winter weather advisory that called for winds gusting to 20-25 mph causing blowing snow and temperatures in the teens.
Jamestown made the call to postpone the game at 3 p.m. "We dragged it out as long as we could and eventually decided it wasn't worth the risk," said Jamestown coach Ben Drake, who is also the school's Athletic Director. "To be honest with you, we probably would have come, but when the other schools started canceling, we got nervous because we knew we'd be driving through it. It was a tough call. We were supposed to get like six inches of snow from Silver Creek south. We were worried about people getting back. It's too bad, a lot of people were looking forward to it."