The No. 1 seed of the Class B-2 boys’ basketball competition in Section VI has been sent packing for the season. And No. 2 is gone too.
Health Sciences, ranked fourth in that class, knocked off top-seeded I-Prep/Grover, 70-57, Wednesday night at the Buffalo State Sports Arena. The big reason why the Falcons moved on was that their frantic offense and defense was too much for the Presidents to handle.
“We don’t really have a center,” said coach Tyree Parker, in his first year at Health Sciences. “We’ve got to play fast. We don’t want to play to the other team’s tempo. We want the other team to play to our tempo.”
Next up for the Falcons is Fredonia, the No. 6 seed in B-2. The Hillbillies dominated No. 2 Royalton-Hartland in a 73-30 win.
In the night’s opener, the two teams came out as if they were very nervous. Health Sciences was the team that overcame those nerves first, and slowly built up a lead. They built the margin up to 11 points, 30-19, by the end of the first half.
The lead stayed in the 10-point range for the third quarter. However, Davon Gant hit a three-pointer at the buzzer from midcourt to cut the lead to 45-38. The shot put a definite buzz in the building and felt like it could change the momentum.
But the Falcons immediately responded at the start of the fourth quarter. Jaylen Prophet answered with a three-pointer of his own that Parker called the biggest shot of the game.
“That’s Jaylen,” Parker said. “I didn’t like that shot. He needed to make that one or I would have taken him out. But I like his courage. … He’s our only senior, and we need that senior leadership.”
Prophet finished with 20 points, while Tyron Lott added 13. For I-Prep/Grover, Gant finished with 26 points, while William Turner added 10 for the Presidents.
In the other semifinal, Fredonia played a superb first half that left Roy-Hart stunned. The Hillbillies penetrated at will, showed better quickness, and grabbed most of the rebounds.
“I am so pleased about the way our guys came out and defended,” Fredonia coach Greg Lauer said. “They followed the game plan to perfection. They defended well, and got out in transition.”
Fredonia’s first four baskets came around the rim. Andy Xapsos finally ended the Rams’ scoring drought with a three-pointer with 1:17 left in the first quarter, but that was it for Roy-Hart scoring in the first quarter.
From there, it only got better for Fredonia. The Hillbillies continued to stretch the lead throughout the second quarter. When Roy-Hart finally got back-to-back baskets for the first time in the game, Eric Swoyer immediately answered with a three-pointer to put his side back up by 14 points at 22-8. Lucas Voss hit a three-pointer for Fredonia with a couple of seconds left to make it a 35-12 halftime lead. From there, it was a matter of waiting for the final score to be recorded.
Michael Pucci had 21 points to lead Fredonia, while Swoyer added 17. Xaspos led Roy-Hart with 18 points.
We’ll find out who the Cinderella of the bracket is on Saturday at noon at Buffalo State, when Health Sciences plays Fredonia. There should be plenty of running in a battle of two uptempo teams.
“We’ll be preparing for a completely different team,” Lauer said. “I’ve seen them a few times this year, and they’ll be tough.”
“We’re excited, and ready to get after it,” Parker said. “When we play the right way, we’re successful.”