ON A ROLL — Kyle Warner, one of S-GI’s star scorers, drives past a Cheektowaga player. Photos by Dave DeLuca.
SPRINGVILLE — Springville-Griffith Institute boys varsity basketball lost three games on the road to divisional foes East Aurora, Cheektowaga and Amherst. Springville traveled to East Aurora on Feb 6, falling 75-42.
The host Blue Devils stormed out to a 44-14 halftime lead, thanks to 26 first-half points by Brendan Cox. Cox scored a game-high 30 points.
“He was in attack mode and that’s what we’ve been preaching to him,” said East Aurora head coach Chris Koselny.
“When he’s catching and recognizing right away where his openings are; it really helps us. It helps us score more, as a team, because he draws a lot of players to him.”
Cox was coming off a game against Lake Shore in which he scored a school-record 41 points. Cox is on a tear of late – averaging 25.2 points in his last five games.
“We knew coming in that he’s been hot,” said Springville coach Frank Noeson. “It didn’t matter if we played out right on him, he’d beat us off the bounce. If we stayed back to prevent penetration, he shot it over us. At 6’4”, he’s probably the most versatile player we face.”
East Aurora’s first half explosion saw the team scoring in the transition against Springville. The 75 points allowed is the most the Griffs have given up, this season.
“East Aurora’s court is huge, compared to most,” said Noeson. “We just didn’t seem excited to play defense. We still have a handful of guys who want to hang back and try to steal the ball from the rebounder, which never happens.”
Adam Wofley and Kevin Zabawa led Springville with 11 points apiece.
On Feb. 7, Springville traveled to Cheektowaga and lost a 69-55 decision to the second-place Warriors. Greg Beatty drilled a 3-pointer to open the second quarter for Springville, to cut Cheektowaga’s lead to 18-14.
The Warriors’ Preston Summers would answer with a midrange jumper that ignited a 14-4 Cheektowaga run, to end the first half. Cheektowaga continued its offensive success in the second half, behind 12 second-half points by Zak Ciezki.
Springville was able to score 36 second-half points, but weren’t able to get enough stops, defensively. The Griffs have now allowed 60 points or more in three consecutive games, for the first time all season.
“We aren’t playing defense soon enough,” said Noeson. “Other teams are initiating their sets close to our basket. We’re slow getting back on transition and slow getting around to pick up our men or getting into our zone. We also haven’t protected the paint very well, as of late.”
Kyle Warner dropped a career-high 27 points, including canning 5 3-pointers in the loss. Warner, a sophomore, has developed into a scoring threat for Springville, since entering the starting lineup.
“Kyle has a smooth shot and he’s able to catch and release quickly,” said Noeson about the 6-foot Warner. “Kyle also slashes well around the basket. He’s got a keen nose for the ball defensively as well, which leads to a lot of steals and easy buckets.”
Springville lost to first-place Amherst 59-44 on Feb. 11, despite the hot shooting by Beatty, who scored a career-high 31 points for Springville. The senior standout knocked down 8 3-pointers, which is the most in a single game in Section VI, this season. Springville returned to action on Feb. 13, when the team hosted Pioneer for the last regular season game.