Marauders look to avenge early-season loss to Hillbillies

The Fredonia Hillbillies and Dunkirk Marauders are both coming off tough losses Friday night and are both looking to get back into the win column.

A game between rivals is just what the doctor ordered.

Fredonia lost to Olean, 94-48, while Dunkirk lost to Southwestern, 52-40.

The two teams face off for the second time this season. And for the first time in two years, the Marauders will be hosting their arch-rivals, as Dunkirk’s home game against Fredonia last season was played at Cassadaga Valley Central School due to renovations to the Marauders’ gymnasium.

“Its always good to be able to play on your home floor,” Dunkirk coach Jerome Moss said. “This year we are able to play on our nice, refurbished gym and hope for a nice Dunkirk crowd and pull it out.”

The first time these two rivals played, Fredonia jumped out to a 20-7 lead after the first quarter and never looked back in a 75-46 drubbing.

“Fredonia came out on all cylinders,” Moss reflected. “They hit three 3-pointers in the beginning and we were never able to get back to our game. We have to get out to an early lead Tuesday and defend (against) those 3-pointers.”

For Fredonia, Tuesday is about getting a bad taste out of its mouths. After riding a four-game win streak, the Hillbillies were stymied by the Huskies.

“We need to get back on track,” Lauer said. “We play at their place and we need to get ready. Hopefully we can put (the Olean) game behind us and move on.”

Both coaches don’t expect Tuesday’s contest to be another blowout as the first meeting of the season was played early on when the Marauders were learning how to compete in the tough CCAA Division 1.

“Early in the season, this team, we hadn’t played together and hadn’t played varsity basketball,” Moss said. “Then when you go up against Fredonia, in Fredonia, you have to be able to take the pressure and I don’t think we understood that. Hopefully we have learned that and can compete with them Tuesday.”

The emergence of post player Jacob Lockett and guard Michael Bess should bode well for the Marauders.

Lockett had 13 rebounds in the first meeting, but has become an offensive threat down low along with Alex Crossan.

“Since then, he has stepped up,” Moss said of Lockett. “He has been doing a better job on the boards. Jacob is going to be a person we look to Tuesday night.”

“The last game we were able to contain Crossan,” Lauer noted. “Bess is starting to come on and is shooting well. We will look to slow those two down. We are going to need to step up our post defense.”

Fredonia is led by the guard play of John Piper and Dylan Meyer. However, Lauer is looking for his team to get back to its shut down defense after giving up 94 points Friday.

“Everyone has to work hard on defense,” he said. “We are just hoping all the guys can get past this game and get back to playing defense the way we are capable of. It has to be an entire team effort.”