JUST WARMING UP — West Valley Central School basketball player Cole Stanbro shoots, over an Ellicottville defender. Photos by Dave DeLuca.
WEST VALLEY — The West Valley Central School boy varsity basketball team took on the Ellicottville Eagles on Jan. 14.
Wildcat Marcus Enser hit a 3-pointer, with 5:20 remaining in the second quarter, to give West Valley an 18 – 15 lead, breaking a tied score. Later in the second, Colton Myers’ steal and layup gave West Valley a 27 – 21 lead against the Eagles, going into the half.
The third quarter saw the Eagles go on a 16 – 1 run, to take a 37 – 28 lead. The Wildcats battled back and Dylan Westfall dished a bounce pass, around two defenders, to Collin Proctor, for a layup that brought the score to 34 – 37. That was the closest the Wildcats would get to the win, as Ellicottville pulled out a 50 – 40 victory.
“We played a good overall game, minus the third quarter obviously, and it killed us,” said Coach Jason Kearney. “We gave them five offensive rebounds, in the first quarter, and held them to only four, the rest of the way, but they were getting such easy looks, down low.
“Our wings weren’t dropping and our guys weren’t sliding over onto the blocks quick enough,” he added. “We had a string of a few minutes where we never ran our offense and were forcing bad shots and turning the ball over, on poor pass selections.”
The Eagles pulled away, to chase the win, during the third quarter. The Wildcats entered that part of the game up by 6, but the Eagles stormed out on a 16 – 1 run.
“The third quarter has been a problem for us all year,” Kearney said. “I have done different things trying to figure out why, but we seem to come out flat and forget what got us to that point, for some reason. We got very careless with the ball, in the third quarter and we weren’t running our offense. Ellicottville started to get easy looks down low, as we were out of position too often, and our defense wasn’t rotating properly.”
West Valley’s Cole Stanbro led the Wildcats, scoring 10 points and pulling down eight boards. Stanbro was in the starting lineup against Ellicottville and, according to Kearney has been recently making improvements to his game. “Cole also has been coming along,” the coach said. “He has been seeing the floor more and not forcing bad shots. Against Ellicottville was his best game, so far, this season, and his aggressiveness and speed has been big for us, lately.”
Kearney also credited Proctor as being one of the team’s top rebounders, all season, pulling down eight rebounds against Ellicottville and adding 6 points and three steals, to his stat line. “Collin has been improving a lot, lately, and has become a valuable asset,” Kearney said.
“Collin has been very aggressive especially when it comes to rebounding and getting loose balls. He has become a ball hawk on defense and, on offense, is starting to get more comfortable and is in the right spot at the right time.”
BLOW THEM AWAY — West Valley’s Colton Myers finishes a layup, after creating a steal against Ellicottville on Jan. 14.
The Wildcats also took on Sherman on Jan. 19. Sherman came in to the game ranked in the top 10 for “D” schools.
The Wildcats trailed 30 – 17 at the half, but Sherman increased its lead, during the third quarter, hitting 3 triples, en route to scoring 22 points, during that period.
“We have been working on our defense and rebounding and, at times, our defense was good, against an elite Sherman team,” Kearney said.
Sherman defeated the Wildcats 64 – 37. Marcus Enser led the team in scoring, with 8 points, including knocking down two 3-pointers.
“Enser has been shooting with a lot more confidence, the past few weeks,” Kearney said. “It has been showing, not only in the score book, but also by extending our opponents’ defense out to have to guard him.”
Kearney said that he was impressed by Stanbro’s performance in the second game in a row. He had 5 points, six rebounds and two steals, in the loss.
“Stanbro has been very aggressive on both ends of the floor lately and has provided a huge spark for us,” Kearney said. “He has been limiting his turnovers and been producing a lot from his great defense and rebounding.”
Myers had 4 points, five assists and six steals.
The boys’ Jan. 22 game against Forestville was rescheduled to be held on Jan. 23.