GREECE – The Lewiston-Porter boys basketball team has had a season that has captivated the community and caught the attention of generations of alumni.
But the ride had to end sooner or later for the Lancers. Facing an unbeaten Pittsford Mendon team that’s simply playing the game at a different level, Lew-Port’s season to remember is now history.
Dan Cook and Michael Harrington combined to score 55 points, which was too much for the Lancers to overcome as they dropped an 87-55 decision to the Section V Class A champions Saturday afternoon at Greece Athena High School.
A sellout crowd of 1,000 – a good number of them Lewiston-Porter fans who made the trip from Niagara County down Route 104 to Monroe County, watched as the Vikings’ size, experience and skill proved to be too much for a Lancers bunch playing in the New York State Public High Schools Athletic Association Far West Regional game for the first time since 1978.
The only highlight for Lewiston-Porter: Senior Trent Scott’s final basket, a 3-pointer, enabled him to finish his three-year career with 1,000 points.
Other than that, the team with the pieces to potentially be scary good down the road was no match for the state’s third-ranked team.
Cook finished with a game-high 32 points, grabbed 15 rebounds and recorded five assists, as he was an unstoppable force in the paint. Harrington added 23 points and four assists, while Jacob Shadders and Connor Krapf each scored 11 points for the Vikings (25-0).
“They were better than us,” Scott said. “We didn’t do a lot of things correct and paid for it, so just learn from it and move on.”
“That team has skill, they play the game the way it’s supposed to be played,” Lew-Port coach Matt Bradshaw said. “They share the basketball. They play great defense. ... They’re my prediction to win the public schools championship.”
Mendon advances to the state semifinals, where it will face II-Troy at 1:15 p.m. Friday at Floyd L. Maines Arena in Binghamton.
Mendon led 17-11 after one, but with Lew-Port freshman star Roddy Gayle shackled to the bench after picking up three early fouls, the Vikings quickly extended it. They led 44-29 at halftime and quickly ended any thoughts of a Lancers comeback by opening the third quarter with an 11-3 run. The blitz included a three-point play from Cook. Nate Strauf had four of his six points during the run for Mendon.
“Our main goal was to win,” Scott said. “Unfortunately things didn’t go the way we wanted to today so we just have to live with it.”
Scott finished with a team-high 14 points, while Gayle added 12. Zack Clayborne finished with 12 boards and eight points for Lew-Port.
“It’s a historical run for us,” Bradshaw said. “It’s going to take a few days for it to sink in what we accomplished as a community and as a team. But it’s special. ... There were people at this game I haven’t seen all year. It was just amazing.”
The season highlights for the Lancers (21-4) include their first sectional title since 1978 and their first Niagara Frontier League title since 1984. Twenty-one wins.
And that’s while having an offense that runs through freshman sensation Gayle with eighth-grader Jalen Duff playing a level beyond their years. Duff finished with eight points and four assists.
“This is a learning curve for them, this is a process for them,” Bradshaw said. “They stick with it like they have been, don’t be too surprised if you see us back here next year.”