It is safe to say that Williamsville South and McKinley are more than familiar with each other after claiming each of the last 10 Class A-1 championships. So when the more than 2,000 fans in attendance for the sectional final saw the Billies jump out to an 18-point lead after three quarters, it was no surprise that the Macks were not going to back down that easily.
McKinley made a game of it, giving up just seven points in the fourth. However, that was all the Billies needed to hold on to win the championship for the second year in a row, this time 67-63 over Zaire Dorsey’s Macks (21-2).
Will South (20-3) will take on Class A-2 winner Amherst at 8:15 p.m. on Tuesday at the Buffalo State Sports Arena for the overall A title.
“We haven’t lost that edge with McKinley,” said South coach Gabe Michael about the Macks, who won the three A-1 titles before South’s repeat. “Anytime we play them, we want to pay them back. And the same with them. They’ve respected our program.”
Sophomore Greg Dolan, point guard of the top-seeded South squad, converted a flashy reverse layup down the baseline that left the crowd in admiration early in the final stanza. That made it a 62-45 South advantage before the second-seeded Macks went on a rampage in the fourth quarter, causing a ruckus with turnovers and by controlling the defensive glass.
Dolan scored 24 points and had plenty of shots and passes that seemed to be fit only for Harry Houdini. But much of that magic was lost in the last minutes of play as South converted on just two of its final 10 foul shots.
Avius Outlaw led the Macks with 24 points, but it was Shaquan Jones (13 points) and Keyon Johnson (nine points) who made life hard for the Billies in the fourth as McKinley closed with a 21-7 run to end the contest.
Bruce Booker’s three with 2:07 remaining drew the Macks within 65-59 against a South team that lost Graham Dolan (11 points) to an injury and had a hobbled Myles Hall (10 points) on the floor.
Greg Dolan missed both free throws with 1½ minutes left but South got the offensive board. Matt Foster made a pair to go up 67-59 before Keyon Johnson split a pair for the Macks.
After the Macks forced a 10-second violation, Johnson scored again when he converted a layup to make it 67-62 with under 30 seconds left. But South was able to hang on.
“We were just scrambling,” Michael said. “I wouldn’t say we were tired because we found a way to get it out still.”
The Billies mounted a 42-23 run that spanned from the second quarter into the fourth. They were able to use a zone that forced McKinley into highly contested shots, which turned into missed field goals and a track meet with Greg Dolan controlling the transition for easy fastbreak buckets.
“We beat them, 21-10, on the boards in the first quarter, which no one does that to McKinley,” said Michael. “They had a little run but we didn’t think they weren’t going to run back at us. That’s the type of team they are.”