Fredonia advances to next round

The Fredonia Hillbillies (15-4) backed up their top seed in the Section 6 Class B-1 boys basketball playoffs as they cruised past No. 8 Bennett (7-13), 76-43, Friday night during quarterfinal action at Fredonia High School.

“Our guys were ready to play,” Fredonia head coach Greg Lauer said. “They had been at this level last year and they had the motivation of going to Buffalo State. And these seniors, they’ve worked their butts off for three years since they’ve joined varsity. The motivation of getting to Buff State was everything to them (Friday).”

The Hillbillies jumped out to a 20-6 lead after the first quarter, before taking a 32-14 lead into the break.

“We’ve seen them twice this year,” Lauer said of Bennett. “We beat them by one up at the Clarence tournament and then we beat them here in a non-league matchup – to make up for the Jamestown Tournament – by 28. But they’re a tough team. We went up and scouted them again this week. They play real physical and they don’t back down and they never give up. I thought they came out with some effort (Friday).”

John Piper, who led all scorers with 16 points, scored 12 of them in the third quarter as Fredonia increased its lead to 52-30 heading into the final frame.

“He sprained his ankle in Silver Creek and he didn’t really start practicing this week until Tuesday,” Lauer said of Piper. “And he came out and he did exactly what I wanted him to do. He played great defense (Friday) and knocked down the open shots.”

Piper was just one of four Fredonia starters who finished in double digits, as Cam Voss and Nick Johnston ended the night with 14 points each while Dylan Meyer chipped in 13 points.

“We distributed the ball really well,” Lauer said. “I feel like Cam (Voss) got some great looks inside, (John) Piper hit his shots, Dylan (Meyer) hit some shots. Everyone contributed, I thought.

“To win as big as we did, and Meyer only have 13 is huge,” Lauer continued. “The last couple of games it’s been Meyer with 25 and not too many guys in double digits. We need that. If we’re going to keep going, we need guys to step up and contribute.”

Voss added 11 rebounds and four assists while Johnston chipped in five assists and four rebounds.

“Guys were throwing lobs to him and he put them in,” Lauer added of Voss’ performance. “He just played a great game all around.”

The Hillbillies took advantage of the Tigers’ zone defense, as they effectively found the open man behind the arc Friday night, finishing with 10 3-pointers on the night.

“If we’ve got Piper shooting like that and Dylan (Meyer) hitting 3s and Nick (Johnston) hitting 3s, and then Eric (Jabot) comes in and hits a three, it tough to stop,” Lauer said. “And if (opposing teams) are going to play zone (defense), and we can hit those shots, we’re in good shape.”

Up next for Fredonia will be a game against No. 4 Tonawanda (12-7), which was a 42-31 winner over No. 12 Alden on Friday night.

“They’ve got three good scorers and they play a bunch of different defenses,” Lauer said of the Warriors. “So we’ll be ready for them.”

One thing is for sure, Lauer doesn’t expect his team to be nervous come Tuesday night when Sectional action shifts to the Buffalo State Sports Arena.

“They’re battle tested,” Lauer said of his team. “They’ve played in some tough, tough games this year and I don’t think nerves will get to them. They’ll be ready to go once the ball tips off.”

NOTES: Of the 13 players who stepped on the court for the Hillbillies Friday night, 11 of them scored at least one field goal … Robert Humphry led the Tigers with a 14 points.