MAYVILLE – The Frewsburg Bears jumped out to a 10-0 lead over Chautauqua Lake in their Section 6 Class C-2 prequarterfinal boys basketball game on Thursday night. With their patient offense and solid defense, the Bears were able to maintain that lead – give or take a few points – throughout the rest of the game, and 10th-seeded Frewsburg cruised to a 52-37 victory over the seventh-seeded Thunderbirds.
”It was a good start,” Frewsburg coach Tom Nelson said. ”We’ve had other games this year where we came out and played well and then we’d have that quarter where we just don’t score. I wanted to avoid that.”
The Bears (8-11) did avoid that, outscoring Chautauqua Lake in every quarter.
Frewsburg’s reward is a quarterfinal matchup tonight against second-seeded Maple Grove (17-1). The winner of the prequarterfinal was scheduled to have a day off before facing the Red Dragons, but Wednesday’s snow caused the game to be delayed a day.
”I love challenges like this, I just wish we had a day in between to get ready,” Nelson said. ”I don’t have time to even think about it.”
The Thunderbirds (10-9) missed their first nine shots and had three turnovers as they fell into the 10-0 hole during the game’s opening six minutes.
”We were missing baskets,” Chautauqua Lake coach Chris Dole said. ”We missed a lot of chippies and that was the story of the night. Some of these kids haven’t seen a playoff game before. The younger kids were missing layups and point blank shots. That’s what it does, it creates jitters.”
Frewsburg had experience on its side, with six seniors and just one underclassman compared to Chautauqua Lake’s two seniors and seven underclassmen.
”I wasn’t surprised by what happened tonight,” Dole said. ”They’re a senior-laden team. Everybody looks on paper and says a 10 seed beating a seven is an upset, but it’s not. It’s seniors beating younger kids. It really is experience over youth.”
Senior Alex Elderkin, Frewsburg’s leading scorer, was limited to just 10 points with a pair of 3-pointers, but junior Josh Nelson scored a game-high 18 points and fellow junior Derek Smith added nine.
”Alex is a great shooter, but he’s not the only guy on our team,” Nelson said. ”I think this year’s team has a little more balance. Last year we really needed him to score, but this year we’ve got some other guys who can score, as well. It was good to see them step up and do that.”
The Thunderbirds trailed, 15-6, after the first quarter and were down, 27-16, at halftime. Only twice in the second half were they able to get their deficit under double digits, first in the opening minutes of the third quarter and then in the first minute of the final stanza.
Chautauqua Lake scored the first five points of the fourth quarter to bring it within nine points, 38-29, with more than seven minutes remaining. But Frewsburg extended its lead to 11 points over the next few minutes before closing with a 9-5 run.
”We knew coming in what it was going to be,” Dole said. ”We couldn’t have predicted the outcome, but we knew it was going to be one of those nights where we were going to be in for a fight. They played in a tougher division. When you prepare all season long in a tougher division, when you get in games like these, you know how to play.”
Senior Cody Thomas led the Thunderbirds with 16 points, including three 3-pointers and junior Ian Clute added 11.
”I look forward to next year,” Dole said. ”We’ve got everybody returning but two guys. We’ve just go to look forward to next year now. It’s unfortunate, but somebody has to lose.”
And somebody has to win.
For the Bears, the win means a quick turnaround before facing one of the area’s better teams in the Red Dragons.
”They’re going to come out and pressure us and if we can handle the pressure, we can play with them,” Nelson said. ”We turn the ball over and it could be a long night.”
Trombley leads Pive Valley past Forestville
SOUTH DAYTON – The No. 8 Pine Valley Panthers (7-12) used 20 second-half points from Lucas Trombley en route to a 55-43 victory over the Forestville Hornets (5-14) in a Section 6 Class D prequarterfinal boys high school basketball matchup Thursday.
Trombley scored 11 of his 20 second-half points in a third quarter which saw the Panthers outscore the Hornets, 19-9.
“He’s my floor leader,” Pine Valley coach Mark Mansfield said. “He has the ball in his hands most of the time. He’s very aggressive and they were just having trouble keeping him away from the basket.”
Pine Valley’s defense held Forestville to two points in the first quarter while the Hornets battled back to outpace the Panthers, 16-12, in the second period. Pine Valley’s defensive stand in the third quarter virtually put the game away heading into the final stanza.
“In the first half, I thought our defense was very good,” Mansfield said. “Then we came out in the third quarter and put on quite a run. It was a pivotal quarter.”
Trombley finished with 25 points, five rebounds and four steals in the win while Bryce Jay added three points and 10 rebounds. Jacob Wilcox recorded five points, nine rebounds and four assists for the Panthers.
Wayne Hartloff led Forestville with 12 points, eight rebounds and three blocks in defeat. Jacob Makuch added seven points and seven rebounds for the Hornets.
Pine Valley returns to action tonight against top-seeded Brocton at 7 p.m. The Panthers dropped both decisions to the Bulldogs during the regular season.
“We know who they have on the team,” Mansfield said. “They’ve got very good players over there, good senior leadership. We know what we have to do to try and play with them. (Thursday, the players will) go home and they don’t have time to think and worry about it. We just go on the bus (today) and play.”