Olean simply followed the blueprint for success it always has. And that got the job done.
Covi James and Zion James had 18 points each as the Huskies breezed to a 67-32 win against East Aurora to repeat as Section VI, Class B-1 champions on Saturday at Buffalo State College Sports Arena.
The win sets the stage for a rematch with Allegany-Limestone for the overall Class B title Tuesday at 6:45 p.m. at Buff State.
Earlier in the day, the Gators held off Newfane, 54-45, to win the Class B-2 title.
Olean's win marked the first sectional title under head coach Tim Kolasinski, who took over after legendary coach Jeff Anastasia stepped down at the end of last season.
"First and foremost I always want to make sure that everyone realizes that it's about these guys," Kolasinski said. "Jeff did such a great job. I owe Jeff a great deal of gratitude for teaching me so much, but people forget sometimes because of the success that he had we have a lot of boys who won their first sectional title today."
Kolasinski spent a total of 13 years on Anastasia's coaching staff. The best lesson he learned was making sure the players always knew it was about them first.
Kolasinski stressed to his players that though the makeup of this year's team is different than last year, there is a template in place that can help the Huskies succeed.
"For years now we've really talked about how last teams have set the blueprint," Kolasinski said. "Every year the personnel is a little bit different. The talent is a little bit different, but the basic thing we've always talked about in Olean is if you play defense you're always gonna be there. We just really told the guys the guys, 'Hey, this year, this is your turn."
Covi James said the players think the world of Kolasinski – who they affectionately call Coach K – and felt a sectional title was the best way to say thank you for all that he has done for them.
"Everything was for Coach K," James said. "We decided to come out and get him his first sectional title. For 60-plus days of practice, we became close with our coach. He's always there for us. He led us to victory."
The Huskies defense was definitely there Saturday as they smothered the Blue Devils from the opening tip off .
Offensively, Olean raced to 24-6 lead and drained a total of 10 three-pointers in the first half.
Kolasinski said he felt consistently hitting the outside shot gave his team a huge momentum boost and dropped the Blue Devils into a hole – emotionally as well as on the scoreboard – that they simply could not escape.
"It's absolutely huge," Kolasinski said. "The three-point shot, we all know statistically, is only worth one more point, but it's worth a little something extra when it turns the momentum."
The Huskies finished with 13 three-pointers as they claimed their 11th sectional title since 2003.
Tage Hoeg had 12 to lead East Aurora.
Story topics: Olean boys basketball