Cassadaga Valley rally falls short in loss to Portville

PORTVILLE – Down 15 at one point in the fourth quarter, Cassadaga Valley (8-10, 3-9) got to within five of Portville’s lead, but the Panthers (16-2, 10-2) eventually pulled away, dropping the Cougars, 48-42, during CCAA Division 2 boys basketball action Tuesday night.

“My kids are playing their tails off,” Cassadaga Valley head coach Rich Clifford said. “They’re playing real hard every game, we’re competing every game … Hopefully we can pull off an upset in the playoffs. We’re really starting to believe in ourselves.”

Portville built a 13-7 lead after the first quarter, then increased its lead to 26-17 at the break. The Panthers outscored the Cougars, 12-9, in the third quarter. Cassadaga Valley saved it’s best for last, outscoring Portville, 16-10, over the game’s final eight minutes, but it wasn’t enough, as the Panthers escaped with their 10th league win of the year.

Tim Bender led the Cougars with 13 points while Randy Dalaba (11 points, 10 rebounds) and Cody Johnson (10 points, 11 rebounds) finished with double-doubles.

Zach Blask had a game-high 22 points to go with three steals and two assists while Josh Watson finished with 11 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.