Big run in first quarter throttles Wolverines past Lions
By David Yarger
For about two weeks now, Niagara Frontier League teams and fans had Jan. 20 circled on the calendar for one reason: Niagara Falls versus Lockport.
The game was hyped up by players and students all over social media, as two of the top teams in the NFL battled on Saturday afternoon.
The Wolverines were the victors, defeating Lockport, 72-58.
After a hot 6-1 start from the Lions, it was all Wolverines after that, as the Wolverines embarked on a 19-4 run to end the quarter. Moran Montgomery led the Wolverines in the quarter with 6 points.
Holding a 20-10 lead heading into the second quarter, the Wolverines continued to extend their lead in the quarter. Quran Dubois, who had the first bucket of the quarter, led the way for the Wolverines with 7 in the quarter. Dubois ended the half by draining a 3-pointer to give the Falls a 38-23 lead into the break.
The Wolverines continued to dominate out of the break. Eighth-grader Willie Lightfoot drained a 3-pointer to start the half, and later sunk another to continually extend the lead. After three quarters, the Falls led 57-35.
It was the same story in the fourth quarter, but this time eighth-grader Roddy Gayle got into the action, as he tallied 7 points in the quarter. Gayle almost brought the roof down, as Lightfoot threw an alley-oop pass in his direction, but Gayle was off on his jump by seconds. Nevertheless, Gayle still sunk the layup.
As time winded down, and reserves came in to finish the game, the Wolverines defeated the Lions in the big game, 72-58.
Coming into the game, Falls coach Sal Constantino was aware of all the hoopla surrounding the game. He said, before the game he wanted his team to just focus on the game and nothing else surrounding it.
"We said that we're above that stuff and we're better than that stuff, that social media. We said 'Don't let the noise bother us. Don't let the noise of social media, don't let the noise of the crowd get to you ... just play the game," Constantino said.
For the Wolverines Dubois led the way with 17 points, while Syquan Ralands added 16 and Lightfoot and Gayle chipped in 12 each. The team was also without regulars Tazaun Rose and Marquise Miller. Constantino said the production was nothing new to him or the team.
"Every game that's kind of who we are. ... We're skilled this year, where last year we were this grit team that really had to work for everything. Now, were starting to put together that grit and growth and our skill level is that much higher," he said.
A big part of the game was Niagara Falls' speed, as the Wolverines had their way with the Lions in transition, and Constantino said that was a major part of the outcome.
"We did a nice job; we really knew that when they got the ball they were gonna put it on the floor and really try to beat us, so I thought guys helped out a little bit and I thought we limited them to one shot for the most part and at that point our transition started going and that's when were good," he said.
The Wolverines are now 7-0 in NFL play and atop of the league. Constantino constantly reminds his team, though, to take it one day at a time.
"We talked about is this is a big game ... it's today's game; that's what we said. Every game, no matter who the opponent is, it's today's game, and that's the only game we're worried about. ... We'll be at practice Monday ... that's the next thing we're worried about," he said.
The Wolverines are back in action at 7 p.m. Thursday, as they travel to Canada to play St. Michaels, the No. 2 team in the country, according to Constantino. The night after that, they're at Niagara-Wheatfield to face the Falcons at 6:30 p.m.