The last time City Honors School won a sectional title, junior Kavion Taylor was only 3 years old. Sophomore Jaden Slaughter was barely a year old.
Now the electric duo are one win from helping City Honors win its first Section VI title since 2005.
Slaughter drained 28 points and Taylor added 17 as No. 4 City Honors beat No. 9 Fredonia High School, 53-46, in the Section VI Class B1 semifinals at SUNY Buffalo State on Tuesday night.
The win earned City Honors a spot in the title game against No. 3 seed Olean at Buffalo State on Saturday at 1:45 p.m.
"We're getting better every year," Taylor said. "To now be at sectional (finals) representing City Honors and finally have people know who we are is great."
Slaughter scored 10 points in the first quarter as the Centaurs took a 12-11 lead.
Struggling to convert the outside shot early on, City Honors got the lift it was looking for when Taylor made back-to-back 3-pointers that gave the Centaurs a 20-17 lead with less than two minutes to play in the first half.
"Whatever I can do for the team," Taylor said. "Whether it be defense or rebounding, I'm gonna do it for the team. If I'm not scoring, I'm playing defense. ... If I can come off the bench and hit a couple shots, I like bringing a lot of energy to the team."
Taylor (six rebounds) and Slaughter did more than just rack up points. They hit buckets key moments in the game and played smart. Down the stretch, Slaughter (seven steals, four rebounds) didn't unnecessarily push the ball up court for more points. He calmly worked time off the clock. Both players made free throws to secure the win.
"He doesn't play like a sophomore, that's for sure," City Honors coach John Kudla said of Slaughter. "He's almost like a senior out there and really just a savvy player. He plays hard and understands the game."
Slaughter said the desire to help his school gain respect in Western New York drives him and his teammates.
"We just want to put our name on the map," Slaughter said. "A lot of people don't believe in us, so we come in here and do what we gotta do."
Amir Radford made the City Honors offense hum with nine assists.
The Billies hung to their mantra of never quitting as 6-foot-3 freshman Nick Whitefield led the way with a team-best 12 points.
"It's encouraging to have somebody that is young step onto the stage here for the first time and do what he did," Fredonia coach Nick Bertrando said of Whitfield.
Olean advances to final
Defending B1 champion Olean High School survived a legitimate scare from No. 7 East Aurora High School, but was able to post a 51-35 win to earn a return trip to the title game against City Honors, which they defeated in last year's quarterfinals.
Mike Schmidt set the tone with 20 points and five rebounds, and the Huskies' defense came up big to hold the Blue Devils at bay whenever they tried to claw their way back into the game.
"It's huge because they cut it to two at halftime," Olean coach Jeff Anastasia said of his defense's performance. "They're a good team. I was worried about their size. Obviously, size is a concern."
East Aurora had the height advantage, but Olean still won the battle of the boards, 33-29.
Will Covington scored 18 points to lead East Aurora.
Matt Droney added 13 points for Olean.