Middle Early College is back where it seems to be near the end of every season in recent years.
Coach Randall Rich’s Kats assured themselves of a fourth straight trip to a Section VI boys basketball final by defeating Holland, 57-41, in a Class C-2 semifinal Tuesday night at Jamestown Community College.
Middle College (16-5) did it with suffocating defense in the heart of the game. After trailing 17-14 at the first-quarter stop, the Kats allowed the Dutchmen only 13 points, total, in the second and third periods. A 20-4 second quarter advantage made it 34-21 at the half.
That defense was bulwarked by 6-foot-6 junior center Lorenzo Truitt, who was a huge factor in the game even though he did not score a point. Truitt had 14 rebounds and five blocked shots.
“He dominated the second and third quarter. They couldn’t score,” Rich said.
Holland (10-11) was overwhelmed by the front line of Truitt, 6-5 Gary Foster (14 rebounds, 11 points) and 6-4 Brian Johnson (15 points, 14 rebounds). Point guard Joseph Staton had 12 points the winners, nine in the opening quarter.
Clay Lewis had 15 points and established a Holland single season record of 454 points, topping the mark of 439 his uncle Mike Lewis in the 1990s.
No. 1 seed Middle College will face the either Randolph or Franklinville for the championship. Middle College won the previous three Class C-1 titles before moving to C-2 this season.
Sherman defeated Westfield, 75-52, in a Class D semifinal and will face International Prep at Grover Cleveland in the championship game at 5:15 p.m. on Friday at Jamestown CC.
Playing on the road against a higher-seeded opponent didn’t seem to faze the Clarence girls at all. The No. 6 Red Devils upset host and No. 3 seeded Kenmore West, 53-39, in a sectional Class AA quarterfinal. Of the six players who scored for Clarence only two are seniors. Junior Molly Barden led the Red Devils with 13 points. Freshman Carly Reynolds had 10 points. Junior Samantha Britton of Kenmore West led all scorers in the game with 15 points.
Ericka Taplin led the way with 17 points and 15 rebounds in No. 1 seed Williamsville North’s 52-28 triumph over visiting Niagara Falls in a Class AA quarterfinal. The Spartans held the Wolverines without a basket in the first quarter. Natalie Hazzan had 16 points for North.
North will face No. 4 seed Lockport, which edged Orchard Park, 45-44, on Alyssa Wagner’s layup with 5 seconds left. The Quakers had taken the lead on a free throw with 20 seconds left. Wagner had 15 points and 10 rebounds in the victory. Jenna Probst and Shaye Swiatek each had 15 points for OP.
In girls A-1 play, Hamburg claimed a berth in Sunday’s championship game with a 47-31 triumph over visiting Grand Island, leading most of the way. Ashley Kabza led the winning Bulldogs with 21 points. Meaghan O’Leary topped the Vikings with eight points.
Hamburg will face either No. 1 seed Williamsville South a 49-40 winner over No. 5 Williamsville East.