Jamestown held off a late Lockport rally to return to the Section VI Class AA boys basketball championship game with a 69-64 victory Tuesday night at Buffalo State Sports Arena.
Seniors Jaydian Johnson led the top-seeded and defending champion Red Raiders (19-3) with 22 points, including four crucial free throws late in the fourth quarter. Trey Drake had 17 points, and Sean Paige had 14 points.
Kyree Jones had 20 points to lead fifth-seeded Lockport (14-8). J’Lyn Darrel logged 18 points for the Lions and was a driving force behind Lockport’s late comeback.
“I started getting open, knocking down shots, I was feeling myself,” Johnson said of his big night.
Lockport opened on a 6-3 run thanks to layups from Jones, who found success in the paint early. But fueled by Johnson’s nine-first quarter points and well-timed 3-pointers, Jamestown took a 16-13 lead.
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The second quarter was quieter. Despite several scoring chances, Lockport ended up with more fouls than baskets, while Jamestown maintained its narrow lead on free throws from Drake and a pair of baskets from Johnson. Croff hit Lockport’s first 3-pointer of the night late in the period to keep the Red Raiders’ lead at two points, 25-23, headed into halftime.
Jamestown switched to a much more aggressive style to open the third quarter, and it paid off. Featuring layups from Paige, Drake and Johnson, the Red Raiders went on a 16-8 run and built up a 50-37 lead headed into the final quarter.
“We threw the ball inside, and also penetrated, and we had some good aggressive drives in the third quarter,” Jamestown coach Ben Drake said. “I was proud of the way we came out and made some adjustments and the way the kids came out in the third quarter.”
Lockport cut the lead to 59-49 midway through the fourth quarter. After an aggressive layup from Ian Cooper and a 3-pointer by Croff, the Lions began to go on a tear. With just more than two minutes to play, Lockport cut the lead to single digits.
Drake called a timeout to regroup, and after a basket and two free throws from Johnson, Jamestown once again had a 10-point lead.
Zion Cheatham drained a 3-pointer as a final defiant salvo from Lockport, but Jamestown took and held the rebound and secured the victory.
Jamestown awaits the winner of Wednesday's semifinal between No. 2 Health Sciences and No. 3 Niagara Falls. The championship game is Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at Buffalo State.
“We’re going to have to be at the top of our game,” coach Drake said.