One more ticket needs to punch yet in each of three classes tonight in order to reach the Far West Regional round of the New York State Public High Schools boys basketball tournament.
North Tonawanda (A-1) and Amherst (A-2) will meet at 7:45 p.m. for the overall Class A title after East Aurora (B-1) and Health Sciences Charter (B-2) play at 6 p.m. for the overall Class B championship at the Buffalo State Sports Arena. The winners will move on to regional play.
At Jamestown Community College the Class C championship will be decided when Randolph (C-1) faces Chautauqua Lake (C-2) at 7:45 p.m.
Amherst the ECIC II co-champion takes a 20-3 overall record and a seven-game win streak into its game against North Tonawanda. The NT Lumberbacks tied with Lockport and Kenmore West for the Niagara Frontier League title and were 19-4 overall. The ‘Jacks have won their last eight. Amherst defeated NT, 49-45, in the Bob Hettler Jolly Boys Tournament at Amherst on Dec.30. Trevor Book had 13 points and Patrick Milbrand 12 for NT in that game. Amherst was led by 14 points from its star Marcellus Cooper. Jordan Barr, hero of the Tigers’ with the winning basket at the buzzer in its A-2 final victory over South Park on Saturday, is Amherst’s No. 2 rebounder.
Only one of Amherst’s three losses was to a Section VI public schools team, Williamsville South. Besides the loss to Amherst, NT’s other losses were to Lockport (twice) and at Class AA champion Niagara Falls. The Lumberjacks also defeated Niagara Falls, 42-37.
Health Science collected its first sectional championship by defeating Lackawanna, 63-48, in the B-2 final. The Falcons (19-4) have won their last six games. All four of their losses were to tough opposition – North Tonawanda, Monsignor Martin Association regular season co-champions St. Francis and Bishop Timon-St. Jude and Middle Early College. Coach Tyree Parker’s team is led by Tyron Lott, Davonte Gaines and Kameron Briggs, all double-figure scorers for a team that likes an up-tempo game off a pressure defense.
East Aurora tied Cheektowaga and scoring star Dominick Welch for the ECIC III title. The Blue Devils (20-3) have won their last 10. One of their losses came against Newark of Section V. Another was at Olean and one against Cheektowaga in ECIC play. Nick Montgomery and Cal McTigue are the scoring leaders for EA.
Class C final at Jamestown CC
The Class C title game was moved to Jamestown CC to make it more convenient for the two schools from Chautauqua County. Randolph went 10-0 in winning the CCAA East 1 title. The Cardinals were 19-4 with all the losses to tough opposition – Ellicottville, Franklinville, East and Grand island. Randolph made up for the loss to East by defeating the Panthers, 51-42, in the C-1 championship game last Friday at Jamestown CC. Tyler Hind, the son of coach Kevin Hind, Jarrett Lecceadone and Jake Beaver have led Randolph scoring.
Chautauqua Lake comes into the Class C title game on a 12-game winning streak, including 68-62 win over Cleveland Hill in the C-1 championship. The Thunderbirds (20-3) split their regular-season series with CCAA West 1 champion Olean. They also lost at Dunkirk in league play and to Franklinville on a neutral court at St. Bonaventure’s Reilly Center. Chautauqua Lake has won its last four since the loss at Dunkirk cost it a share of the CCAA West 1 championship. Devin Pope of the Thunderbirds is one of the highest scorers in Western New York, with 654 points and a 28.4 average in 23 games.
Chautauqua girls in final, too
Jamestown CC also will be the site tonight of the Section VI girls Class C championship game. The gym should be packed with Chautauqua Lake rooters. The Thunderbird girls (C-1) are also on the bill, facing nearby Frewsburg (C-2) at 6 p.m.
Chautauqua Lake started the season 2-5 but has gone 12-4 since and was second to Olean in CCAA West 1. The Thunderbirds upset Olean, 54-45, the Huskies’ only league loss. Frewsburg defeated The Lake, 49-39, in an early season game at Jamestown High. Taylor Phelps leads the Thunderbirds in scoring (10.3). Center Jesse Zenns has pulled down 170 rebounds in 21 games.
Frewsburg (20-3) went undefeated in 10 CCAA West 2 games. The Bears won 19 of their last 20 games with the loss at Olean in an out-of-division game. They also lost to Olean in the season opener and at Class D finalist, Ellicottville. The Bears are led by Kaitlyn Blanchard (14.9 ppg) and Olivia Lynn (14.6).
On Wednesday, the other two girls regional entrants will be determined. The overall Class A and Class B championships will be decided at the Buffalo State Sports Arena on Wednesday night. Williamsville South (A-1) will meet Amherst (A-2) in the Class A final at 6:15 p.m. after Fredonia (B-1) and Wilson (B-2) play at 4:15 p.m.