Cougars edge Bears

SINCLAIRVILLE – Cody Johnson hit a key bucket in the final seconds as the Cassadaga Valley Cougars (3-7, 8-8) edged the Frewsburg Bears (3-5, 6-9), 49-45, Tuesday in CCAA Division 2 boys high school basketball.

Leading, 47-45, the Cougars’ Mike Lancaster found a cutting Johnson, who converted with 12 seconds left for the four-point lead and ultimately the victory.

“It was not a set play. The coach can’t take credit for this one,” Cassadaga Valley coach Rich Clifford laughed. “Johnson made a great cut and Mike made a great pass. That was huge. We ran the shot clock right down to the last few seconds before that bucket.”

Cassadaga Valley needed all of a 17-7 first-quarter lead to pull out the victory as the Bears outscored the home team, 38-32, the rest of the way.

The Bears took a one-point lead midway through the fourth quarter, but the Cougars were able to regain the lead.

Johnson led all scorers with 18 points.

Clifford also noted the fine defensive effort of Lancaster who held Frewsburg’s top scorer, Alex Elderkin to just 10 points.

The win also helped Cassadaga Valley split the season series as Frewsburg won by 19 points the last time the two teams met.

“The first game, we had a lot of defensive mixups,” Clifford said. “My kids play hard every game. We contested every shot tonight. It could have gone either way. They have shooters. We are very happy to get a win.”

The game was a Coaches vs. Cancer game as all the money raised will go directly to the American Cancer Society.

“We had a nice crowd,” Clifford noted. “It was a nice ceremony before the game and it was meaningful to the kids.”

Tim Bender and Kyle Ruge contributed in the win as they combined for seven assists.