Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

December 15, 2013

Basketball Lions spread the wealth

Dominating win on the hardwood for Lockport

By John D'Onofrio
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

LOCKPORT —

When 11 of the 12 guys you suit up score points, it’s usually a good night in the Lions’ Den.
Lockport spread the court, then the wealth Friday night in a dominating 73-45 win over visiting Grand Island, topping Niagara Frontier League boys basketball action.
With the win, head coach Dave Gilson’s Lions improved to 2-0 in the NFL and are 3-1 overall. The Vikings dropped to 0-2 in the NFL and are 1-3 overall.
“I think we came out a little sluggish in the first half and didn’t quite get into our sync,” Gilson said. “But all of a sudden midway through the second quarter and into the second half I thought we played a lot better basketball than we did in the first quarter.”
Led by Colin Dougherty’s game-high 18 points, including a rare four-point play in the first quarter, the Lions jumped out to a 15-8 lead after one. Senior Ryan Guyton (5 points, 2 blocks, 3 rebounds) closed the see-saw opening stanza with a monster block on a GI fast break, followed quickly by a three-pointer by senior Javon Jenkins (5 points, 2 assists) as the home team finally started to pull away.
“I thought we played real good tonight as a team,” Dougherty said. “Teamwork makes the dream work. We all have one goal, we’re all real unselfish with each other and we’ve got good chemistry.”
Senior forward Ryan Lawrence (17 points, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks) netted 10 second-quarter points as the Lions led by 11 at halftime, 32-21. Dougherty and Guyton drained tres in the third quarter and senior forward Charlie Sobieriaski (12 points, 5 rebounds, block) went 6-for-6 from the charity stripe as the blue and gold out-scored GI 22-7 in the third quarter to widen their lead to 54-28 after three quarters.
“It definitely was a good win for us. We knew they wouldn’t just roll over and die. It’s a feel good win,” Guyton said. “We’re looking forward to next week. We’ve got some tough games ahead.”
Gilson emptied the bench in the fourth and the Lions responded with buckets up and down the line-up, including a three-pointer by Vincent Schad and two inside buckets by senior Brad Wroblewski down the stretch.
“That was fun. And the funnest part about it for me are the guys who came out of the game who are watching it go down,” Gilson said. “They’re happy. They want those guys to be successful because those are the guys who make them better everyday in practice and when those guys get in, it’s nice to see those guys respecting that and understanding that they want their time too.”
Added Guyton, “It’s fun to watch. They work just as hard as we do in practice. It’s good to see them get minutes in like that.”
Joe Kulikowski led the Vikings with a team-high 13 points off the bench.
Next up for the Lions are two games on the road. Lockport plays at Kenmore West on Tuesday and at North Tonawanda on Friday.
N-O BOYS BASKETBALL
Barker 60, Newfane 31
NEWFANE — From the opening tip, the Barker boys basketball team asserted itself as the dominant group in Friday night’s Niagara-Orleans league opener at Newfane.
The Raiders shot better, rebounded better and broke into transition faster, en route to a 30-14 advantage at halftime. Barker never looked back, as coach Dave Carson’s veteran squad cruised to a 60-31 victory over Newfane.
Barker is now 1-0 in league play, while Newfane falls to 0-1.
The Raiders opened the second half with a 22-1 spurt that pushed the Barker lead to 52-15, putting the game out of reach. Carson was particularly impressed with his team’s play during this stretch, pointing to the uncanny clutch shooting of junior Chris Sweeney as a factor that helped turn the tide on Friday night.
“No matter what the situation in the game, Chris Sweeney is a timely shooter,” Carson said. “He hits threes at the right time. When Barker makes a run, he’s usually a big part of the run.”
Indeed, midway through the third quarter with Barker leading 39-15, Sweeney drained back-to-back threes that gave the Raiders a 30-point advantage. The junior swished the first one from the corner, and drained the second head-on before providing a one-two punch of intense fist pumps.
Sweeney finished the game with 14 points, second only to senior Jacob Haight, who continues to be his reliable self with a 23-point effort. Junior Mitch Luckman added eight, and senior Bryce Moeller added seven.
After falling behind 52-15, Newfane rallied with a 10-0 run that brought the margin to 27 points with just under six minutes remaining. Just as the Newfane student section began to come to life, Sweeney quieted the Blue Zone with another swish three-pointer and transition layup that made the score 57-25, removing any lingering doubts about the outcome.
Senior Josh Kneeland led Newfane with 13 points in the losing cause, while junior Sam Watkins added eight.
For Carson, Haight, Sweeney and the rest of the Barker squad, it was certainly a strong start to a promising 2013-14 winter campaign.
“It’s nice to start off with a win on Newfane’s home court,” Carson said. “They’re always traditionally a good team, and it’s a good feeling for our kids.”
Roy-Hart 52, Wilson 51
MIDDLEPORT — Before the season, members of the Roy-Hart boys basketball team expressed a belief that getting the ball to star senior Alex Stoddard would be critical to the Rams’ success in the Niagara-Orleans League this season.
The sentiment rang true on Friday evening. Stoddard paced the Rams with 25 points, and Roy-Hart eked out a one-point victory over Wilson in the league opener for both teams at Roy-Hart HS. No other Roy-Hart player reached double digits, as Stoddard provided just enough offense to help the Rams improve to 1-0 in league play.
Wilson is now 0-1 in the league.
“Alex Stoddard made some clutch free throws for us down the stretch,” Roy-Hart veteran head coach Mark Rydza said afterwards. “He had eight points in the fourth, and he made a couple of big shots too.”
Roy-Hart jumped out to a 16-8 lead after the first quarter and held onto a 25-23 edge at the half, before using a strong third quarter to build a 39-32 advantage.
But the Lakemen displayed no quit, pulling to within five points with 90 seconds remaining, and to within a point in the final few seconds. After Roy-Hart missed a free throw with two seconds left, Wilson was able to get off a 25-foot chance for the win at the buzzer.
Fortunately for Rydza and company, the ball rattled out of the basket, and Roy-Hart walked away with the victory.
Sophomore Andy Xapsos had nine points for Roy-Hart, while steady senior Austin Heschke added seven.
Wilson was led by junior Kyle Bradley, who had 20 points on the evening. Junior Evan Shank added 17.
N-O GIRLS BASKETBALL
Barker 40, Newfane 37
BARKER — Sophomore Caitlyn Mason led the Lady Raiders with 13 points, as Barker opened up its Niagara-Orleans League slate with a narrow victory over Newfane on Friday evening.
Coach Jeff Costello’s Barker squad built a 26-15 advantage at the break, before the Lady Panthers made a spirited rally midway through the second half. Brooke Horning led Newfane with 15 points, and Claire Puff added eight, as the Lady Panthers pulled to within seven points after three quarters and tied the game at 34-all in the latter stages of the fourth quarter.
But the Lady Raiders came up big down the stretch, as Mason and senior Olivia Denny combined to nail three free throws in the final minute that gave Barker a bit of a comfort zone, Costello said.
Denny totaled 11 points for Barker, while senior Julia Atwater added six points and 14 rebounds. Mason also had nine rebounds and three assists to aid the Lady Raider cause.
Barker improves to 1-0 in league play, 2-0 overall, while Newfane drops to 0-1 in the league.
The Lady Raiders return to action Wednesday evening, traveling to Tonawanda for a non-league contest.
NFL GIRLS BASKETBALL
Lockport 70, Grand Island 33
GRAND ISLAND — The Lady Lions improved to 2-0 in the NFL on Friday with a big road win.
LHS outscored GI by 16-4 in the first and 23-7 in the second before cruising.
Senior center Sara Franco led the Lady Lions with 14 points and 8 rebounds. Kathryn Krchniak added 12 points, 5 rebounds and 2 steals.
BOYS SWIMMING
Lockport 54, Ken West 40
Head coach John Sullivan’s Lions didn’t have many first-place finishers in Friday’s meet against the Blue Devils, but posted enough second and third-place finishes to squeak by with the NFL victory.
Senior Brian Wojcinski, junior Mike Dmochowski and sophomore Magnus Cleveland were first place finishers for Lockport.
Wojcinski won the 100-yard butterfly in 1:01.40, Dmochowski took the 100 backstroke in 1:03.50; and Cleveland won the 100 breaststroke in 1:09.71.