By MIKE MEILER
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — NIAGARA FALLS — The Niagara Falls Wolverines scored a major upset on the first night of the 13th annual Cataract City Classic, but fell back to earth on Day Two, losing to Brunswick (OH), 57-45, in the team’s second-straight game against a top regional opponent.
The teams battled to a tie in both the first and second quarters. Brunswick jumped out to an early 7-0 lead to start the game, but Jermaine Crumpton went on a tear, scoring the Wolverines’ first nine points to pull his team back into the game.
The teams entered the second tied at 12, and again Brunswick took control, opening the quarter on a 8-4 run. This time, it was Niagara Falls’ Vinzell Watkins who answered, scoring seven in the quarter, which ended tied at 26.
The Wolverines looked to be taking over in the third. After Brunswick’s Kyle Wheeler opened scoring in the quarter with a layup off a nice backdoor cut, Niagara Falls’ Ramir Burton scored seven-straight points to give the Wolverines a five-point lead, their biggest of the game.
A three-point play by Brunswick’s leading scorer, Ryan Badowski, helped the Blue Devils cut the lead to 39-37 heading into the fourth.
Badowski took over in the final quarter. The 6-foot-3 junior guard scored 12 points in the period, including going 8-for-8 from the charity stripe. Niagara Falls failed to get much going offensively, scoring just six points, all coming from senior point guard J.J. Wilkes.
Niagara Falls coach Sal Constantino said before the game that Badowski was a player to watch, raving about the 6-foot-3 junior’s scoring ability.
“He’s a shooter, but he has nice size, especially for a guard,” he said. “He can dribble and get to the rim, or he can shoot from anywhere.”
The matchup had been pegged as a clash of styles, with Niagara Falls preferring to push the pace and attack the basket while Brunswick preferred to set up behind the 3-point line and let its plethora of shooters score from there.
During the game, it seemed the opposite happened. Niagara Falls met the Blue Devils’ ability to shoot from deep, each team hitting five threes, but it was Badowski’s ability to get to the basket or the free throw line that made the difference.
While the Wolverines looked content to swing the ball outside the perimeter on a number of possessions, Badowski was turning the corner hard and bracing for contact as he attacked the lane. Ten of his 23 points came from the line, where he finished without a miss.
Crumpton led Niagara Falls in scoring with 13 points, while Wilkes finished with 10. Badowski was the only Blue Devil in double figures.
The Wolverines drop to 1-1 after upsetting Bishop Kearney on Friday night. They’ll open their Niagara Frontier League schedule at 7 p.m. Friday at North Tonawanda.
Brunswick, the No. 8-ranked team in Ohio, moves to 2-0.
Depew 49, Niagara Catholic 40
In the first game of Session One, the Patriots (1-1) fell in a sloppy showing by both teams. Bryan Thomas led NC with 13 points, while Andrew Adamson chipped in 12.
NC trailed 23-13 after the first half, but a 15-8 third quarter pulled them back in the game. Turnovers, foul trouble and missed free throws would cost them down the stretch.
Leading scorer Jonathan Jackson was held to five points and missed much of the second half with four fouls.Follow high school sports reporter Mike Meiler on Twitter @mikemeiler for updates on your local teams.