Falcons give Eagles too many second chance opportunities, lose by 8
By David Yarger
On Friday night, the Charter School of Applied Technologies did not shoot the ball well, but the Niagara-Wheatfield Falcons were not able to corral in defensive rebounds, giving the Eagles plenty of second chances. It stung in the end, as the Falcons were defeated by CSAT, 56-48.
The Falcons got off to a good start in the first quarter, leading 14-6. Anthony Ruffino highlighted the first quarter with 7 points.
CSAT made their push in the second quarter and was able to tie it at 24 at the break. Daughlyon Willoughby carried the Eagles back with 8 second quarter points. He led all scorers at the break with 11 points.
The Eagles took the lead at the start of the third with a Jayden Gulledge and-one. Gulledge made the foul shot and CSAT led by three. Gulledge had 8 points in the third quarter and the Eagles won the quarter 17-9.
Down 41-33 heading into the fourth quarter, the Falcons didn't go down with out a fight. Davon Ware hit a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 5, but Gulledge answered with another and-one to get the lead back to 8 points.
Down 49-40, with time winding down, Falcons junior Zack Stanley started a 6-0 run with consecutive big buckets, followed by a Ben Devantier 2-point jump shot. After the run, the CSAT lead was cut to 49-46.
The Falcons got the ball back with a chance to cut into the lead even more. James McVay caught a pass in the paint and went up for a shot, but there was whistle. As many people thought it was a foul on CSAT, the referee called a jump ball, giving possession to the Eagles.
On the very next possession, Ruffino seemed to take a hand in the face, and there was a no-call on a questionable traveling violation and CSAT scored, sucking the wind out of a Falcons comeback.
At the final horn, the Eagles survived the Falcons' fight, 56-48.
Late in the game, the questionable calls visibly frustrated Falcons coach Erik O'Bryan, but the coach said the team can't dwell on those calls.
"There's times in the games where you get those calls and there's times where you don't get them. Unfortunately, the times we didn't get them, they came in bad spots for us. ... They're (referees) out there to do the best they can, and they call it the way they see it," O'Bryan said.
O'Bryan added that both teams were playing physical and certain calls could've went either way.
O'Bryan was pleased to see the showing from Stanley off the bench, saying he sees growth in his game.
"We've been expecting that out of Zack for a while. ... He averaged around 15 to 16 points per game on JV, but most kids don't understand, it's not the same, JV and varsity," O'Bryan said. "It's taken him a while here; 10 games, and that's about the time it takes. He's starting to understand the speed, he's starting to understand not to do too much, just let the game come to him, and by doing that he's finding little nuances ... he's finding those little ways because he's letting the game slow down for him a little bit."
O'Bryan added that Stanley is going to be a big help for the team the rest of the season.
Of everything though, O'Bryan listed the second chance points given up as a big negative.
"They killed us on the offensive boards. They were getting four or five, sometimes six (opportunities). ... They had a lead and we forced them to take some shots that weren't very good ... and we couldn't secure rebounds, and if we did we tried throwing it away," O'Bryan said.
For the Eagles, Gulledge led the way with 15, while Devin Ashley and Willoughby chipped in 13 and 11, respectively.
For the Falcons, the loss drops their league record to 2-5 and their overall record to 5-6. The team had four players score in double figures; Ruffino and Devantier with 11, and Ware and Stanley with 10.
Niagara-Wheatfield's next contest is on the road at Sweet Home, at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday.