Story and Video by JOHN ANDERSON, Photos by Steve Harrison
It’s not often a candidate for a game of the year is played on the second day of January, but the Wellsville Lions and Canisteo-Greenwood put on a show Monday night in Wellsville.
Canisteo-Greenwood’s Maddux Schwartz popped out from his forward position and drained a corner jump shot with 3.5 second left for the 45-44 victory.
C-G only scored six points in the last quarter, but the only two from Schwartz, who finished with nine, was the difference.
Wellsville had a decent look at the buzzer, but the shot hit the backboard and rim as time expired. Sharpshooter Eli Schmidt, who was hitting 3’s and executing drives off layups, was in early foul trouble, causing Wellsville coach Raymie Auman to constantly rotate him in and out.
Schmidt picked up two hard-luck fouls in the fourth and fouled out. He finished with 14 points while Cody Costello had 15 for Wellsville. Logan Dunbar added nine and Alex Perkins had six.
“We’ve been there before, we’ve dealt with foul trouble in the past. At the end, we go to Eli a lot,” Auman said. “But we also have to finish. Sometimes you have to go through something to make sure it doesn’t happen again. We learned what to do with Eli out of the game and we have to get better at it.
“It all comes down to defense. We were down 5-0, but we were playing great defense and we held them to 8 points in that quarter which was our goal,” Auman said. “Then we took the lead. We got tired and didn’t play as well on defense, and that comes down to me, as a coach, I have to do a better job of rotating guys in and out.”
On defense, Mason Boyd, who had eight points for Canisteo-Greenwood, also had a huge block in the fourth quarter when Wellsville was threatening to increase the lead to two possessions. C-G guard Cole Ferris then scored two of his game-high 16 points and Boyd’s defense helped put his team back on top.
C-G’s Hunter McCaffery, who dropped 30 in a tough 61-56 loss to Avoca-Prattsburgh, the No. 1 team in the state in Class D, scored 10.
Auman said to forget classes when it comes to teams like Avoca-Prattsburgh and Canisteo-Greenwood. He said there are college-level players in this area and the teams could compete in any class in Section V.
“They’ve got two college-level players in McCaffrey and Ferris and Boyd is really good … and the others play hard. They have a lot of seniors, those are teams that grind out wins and get wins like this,” said Auman, who is a member of the Genesee Valley and St. John Fisher college halls of fame and a Section V champion coach. “It’s great to have to go against and it prepares you for sectionals.
Hopefully in February and March, we can look back on this and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Last year we went into sectionals unprepared,” Auman continued. “These are games that prepare us. Too many times, people look at ‘classes.’ This is not a Class C team, they can play at the Class B and Class A level.”