JAMESTOWN – Brandon Roach had been waiting two years for another game at Jamestown Community College.
As a sophomore, Roach and Olmsted fell to Randolph in the Section VI Class C-2 semifinals.
Now a senior, Roach not only led the Owls back to JCC but also made sure they wouldn’t lose here again.
Roach scored 11 of his game-high 27 points in the fourth quarter to help second-seeded Olmsted pull out a 70-64 win over No. 3 Tapestry in the Class C-1 semifinal Tuesday night.
Clutch play by their captain has the Owls (18-4) playing for their first sectional title. On Friday, they will meet Chautauqua Lake, which is also seeking its first championship after topping Allegany-Limestone, 53-41, in the other semifinal.
“It’s unbelievable,” Roach said. “The closest we got was my sophomore year. We’ve been trying to get back here. That was motivation for me ever since then.”
Olmsted and defending C-1 champion Tapestry (16-6) were tied at 33 at halftime. After three quarters, the score was 50-all. The Thunder Hawks led 60-57 with three minutes left. But Roach gave the Owls the lead for good, going on a personal 6-0 run with a driving basket, steal and score, and two free throws.
He went 3 for 4 from the line in the final 15 seconds to seal the win.
“He’s playing his butt off,” said first-year Olmsted coach Andrew Bush. “Just like the whole year, he’s been putting us on his back, getting everybody up, getting everyone ready to go and ready to play defense.” You can tell the difference when he goes out of the game with two fouls in the first half. We were kind of holding our breath a little bit, playing tentative.”
Kaelan Clouser added 17 points for Olmsted and Master Radford had 11.
JaQuoine Fogan led Tapestry with 25 points.
Fourth-seeded Chautauqua Lake (15-7) never trailed in advancing to Friday’s final, but No. 8 Allegany-Limestone (9-14) gave the Thunderbirds a scare late.
CL’s 41-28 lead after three quarters matched its largest of the game. But the Gators pulled within 45-41 with 2:14 left on two free throws by Brad Reed.
Thunderbirds coach Mike Putney called a timeout and told his players, “This is where you step up.” Their response? Going 8 for 10 from the free-throw line and not allowing A-L to score another point.
“Devin” Pope “had a tough game out there tonight and was able to come in and hit two big free throws. Tyler Meredith comes in, hits some free throws,” Putney said. “They play hard. Offensively they struggled a little bit, but at the end when we needed it, we got it.”
Junior Aaron Swan scored 16 points to lead Chautauqua Lake.
, Carter Davidson 13 and Devin Pope 10 to lead Chautauqua Lake, which avenged a 62-39 December loss.
“Carter has just really brought his game right around,” Putney said. “Our leadership from our point guard, Aaron Swan, is just relentless. He leads our defense, he calls our defense, he calls our offense. He’s our floor general.”
The Thunderbirds’ last sectional finals appearance was in 2005. They have yet to win a title since the Chautauqua and Mayville school districts merged in 1996.
Bailey Higby led Allegany-Limestone with 18 points and Cole Davis tallied 15.
In the nightcap of the tripleheader at JCC, Ellicottville won a rubber match with Franklinville, beating the Panthers, 72-62, in a Class D semifinal. The teams split their CCAA East II meetings.
Third-seeded Franklinville (17-4) had no answer for Eagles big man Elliot Bowen, who finished with 28 points and 18 rebounds to lead No. 2 Ellicottville to its first Section VI championship game since 2003.
The Eagles (15-7) face top-seeded Panama (20-2) Friday for the title.