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Andover-Whitesville wins sectional opener over Hammondsport, 57-47 (bonus photo gallery)

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Andover-Whitesville’s C.J. Estep walks on air during this fast-break against Hammondsport Tuesday night. Steve Harrison photo.

Chris Brooks, the sports editor at wellsvillesports.com was shooting, writing and tweeting (@iambrooksie) and has this story and photo gallery from Andover-Whitesville’s exciting sectional playoff win.

As a bonus, Steve Harrison of Steve Harrison Photography who has popular sports galleries at hornellsun.com was also shooting the game. Steve posted a photo on Facebook of the massive American Flag in the Andover gym that gained a lot of positive traction on social media Tuesday night.

We hope to get Chris and Steve together on other projects soon!

Here are the galleries and the game story:

Photo gallery by Chris Brooks:

Photo gallery by Steve Harrison:

Story and box score by CHRIS BROOKS. For more action from last night, click HERE)

ANDOVER — The first official season for both Andover and Whitesville boys squads together as one force on the hardwood, has been filled with tons of ups and downs. But a time to put all of that behind for a fresh new beginning came on Tuesday.

Sectionals had arrived.

Andover/Whitesville received a No. 7 seed for their trek through the Class D2 bracket, as well as what may be their final home game of the season. In town was a familiar opponent the combined unit had already went toe-to-toe with earlier this season — the No. 10 Hammondsport Lakers, a team they defeated in comeback fashion over the road back in December.

Now, it was Andover/Whitesville’s turn to host. And like last game, it saw a brilliantly executed half of basketball on one side, and then a neck-and-neck battle to the end in the second half. But one element remained the same through and through — Andover/Whitesville grabbed an early lead, and they never let go of it.

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Despite all the pressure from the Lakers in the second half, especially down the homestretch, the hosts in white and purple were able to ward it off with a stand of clutch defense to go with a two-minute drill perfected by Gavin Cutler while Hammondsport continued to ride their coattails, coming up with seven huge fourth quarter points to help Andover/Whitesville keep their advantage locked down to clinch a berth in the Class D2 Quarterfinal round with a 57-47 win.

“Gavin played excellent, not only on offense to give us the room back that we needed, but at the top of our 1-2-2, he was outstanding on defense. He was just as good there than on offense,” Andover/Whitesville coach John Dougherty praised his team. “They worked hard, and I hate using the word ‘surreal’, but this is. I’ve been here coaching before these kids were born, and I certainly don’t want to take anything away from them. They played their absolutely hearts out to get their first Sectional win they’ve had in any sport. They feel great about this, and they should because they deserve it.”

The win for Andover/Whitesville (8-13) was powered by a rapid succession of baskets after both teams provided slow beginnings through the first portion of the opening quarter. Despite it, the hosts were able to knock at the door with eight of the first 10 points against the Lakers, guided by CJ Estep who had five of those points to give them a lead that they ultimately never gave up.

The Senior did almost everything to provide a spark for the team’s offense. From driving the lane to the basket, to handing off phenomenal passes underneath, Estep dished out some heavy hitting to ignite a game-high 24 point performance for Andover/Whitesville.

“Quick was something that we really did in the first quarter. It allowed us to get on the boards first, and then we were able to set a really good defensive tone afterwards,” said Dougherty. “We tried something new that we haven’t used all season, and it worked out really well. We looked good in the first half, and then we had a bad third quarter. But we readjusted and buckled down for the fourth quarter. CJ was on tonight to help us lead the way. He was tough, he played brilliantly like the leader he is for this team. Everyone played brilliantly.”

Andover/Whitesville’s lead would grow to 15 — the largest margin held all game, when halftime approached. Upon the closing of the first quarter with a 16-9 advantage on the Lakers, they would go on to record their biggest stand of offense to end the half. Since a 24-18 lead just past midway through the second, the hosts went on to score 12 of the last 13 points, paced with some additional help from Jayden Dix and Luke Erdmann behind Estep.

In the third quarter however, Hammondsport saw the rise of Ty Ritter start to take shape. The Lakers sophomore provided a brilliant power of his own to single-handedly keep their offense within distance of Andover/Whitesville all the way down to the wire. At one point, the visitors in black and purple would cut a once large, double-digit deficit down to a single possession in the last eight minutes.

With a chance for the Lakers to potentially take away Andover/Whitesville’s lead that they have held all game, Gavin Cutler rose to power himself with a final two minutes of epic proportions.

Although he netted just 10 points on the night, seven of those came at perhaps the most crucial of times — in the final two minutes, extending their lead from three back out to 10 to officially close up shop on the team’s first round win, claiming a spot in the Quarterfinal round this weekend in the process.

Finishing behind both Estep and Cutler was Waters, who scored nine points. Luke Erdmann would finish with six additional points to help the cause.

The victory also gave Andover/Whitesville their first official Sectional win for all 15 players on the sidelines not only in basketball, but across all sports they have participated in. The group celebrated the sweet moment of triumph with a team photo at game’s end.

Their journey will continue over the road likely for the remainder of the season, as they head into the Class D2 Quarterfinal round this weekend. But as for their head coach, his road comes to a close. After nearly two decades of pacing the sidelines in Andover, as well as his first and only season with both schools, Dougherty’s coaching career has concluded.

Looking back on this season itself, the longtime basketball mind held back a whirlwind of emotion, saying that he couldn’t ask for a better group of men to coach, to close out his storied career on the hardwood.

“They worked so hard all year long, and they meshed together really well. We’ve played Summer League basketball together, and that’s basically where everything started to fall into place,” he said. “There are no egos, and you could see that with this group. They genuinely enjoy playing with each other, and to them, it doesn’t matter who scores. They wanted to have the opportunity to win. You can’t ask for much more than that.”

Dougherty added on his career, saying that “I’ve loved every second of this, and I loved the kids like they’re my own. There are not very many coaches out there that get the opportunity to coach both of their sons in a sport they’ve known and coached for so long. We’ve had so many 1,000 point scorers put on that banner in our gym since I’ve started. I’ve played here, I’ve coached here. This school is home, and it’s wonderful to see things beginning to succeed again.”

Assistant coaches Jimmy Joyce and Cody Borden will take over the reins with Dougherty officially stepping aside for the remainder of the season, and for the future ahead, as Andover/Whitesville hits the road to visit the second-seeded Elba Lancers in their Quarterfinal battle, beginning in a 7 p.m. tip-off on Friday.

Hammondsport 9 10 17 11 – 47

Andover/Whitesville 16 18 10 13 – 57

HAMMONDSPORT: Liam Kressly 7 1-3 16, Cooper Watson 2 0-0 5, Ty Ritter 10 0-2 22, Cody Cook 2 0-0 4. Totals: 21 1-5 47.
ANDOVER/WHITESVILLE: Jayden Dix 2 0-0 5, CJ Estep 9 5-8 24, Gavin Cutler 4 0-0 10, Justin Waters 4 1-4 9, Luke Erdmann 2 1-3 6, Dylan Acor 0 1-2 1, Kohler Niedermaier 0 2-4 2. Totals: 21 10-21 57.

3-point goals: Hammondsport 4 (Ritter 2, Kressly, Watson), A/W 5 (Cutler 2, Dix, Estep, Erdmann).
Total Fouls: Hammondsport 15, A/W 8. Fouled out: None.

No. 8 Houghton Academy 34, No. 9 Genesee Valley 17

HOUGHTON — The Panthers of Houghton Academy posted a first half that would wind up being all they needed to pick up the lead over No. 9 Genesee Valley on Tuesday to begin their trip through the Class D2 Sectional Tournament, as the eight-seeds posted a big second quarter run to scurry away from the Jaguars and towards victory by a 34-17 count to move into the Quarterfinal round.

Houghton Academy (5-12) started the evening on the right foot not only in the first quarter, but the first half in its entirety, as the rolled their way out towards a 19-5 halftime lead over Genesee Valley — a lead that included a game-changing moment to end the half, outscoring the Jaguars by a 10-2 count to set the tone for the rest of the way.

The Panthers offense was propelled by Hugo Huang, and his game-high 16 point effort from inside and out, adding three of the team’s six three-pointers along the way. Helping further the cause was Malachi DeGolyer, who added in nine points himself. James Adenuga had seven points.

Genesee Valley was led by Ryan Daciw, who tallied six team-high points. Thai Norasethaporn had five points. The Jaguars season has officially come to an end, as they wrap up the 2021-22 campaign with a record of 4-17 overall.

The Panthers are now on the road for their Class D2 Quarterfinal matchup coming up on Friday, as they visit top-seeded Notre Dame-Batavia in a 7:30 p.m. tip-off.

Genesee Valley 3 2 6 6 – 17

Houghton Academy 9 10 5 10 – 34

GENESEE VALLEY: Brayden Cooper 1 0-0 2, Max Wedge 2 0-0 4, Killian McKnight 0 0-2 0, Ryan Daciw 3 0-0 6, Thai Norasethaporn 2 0-0 5. Totals: 8 0-2 17.
HOUGHTON ACADEMY: Malachi DeGolyer 2 4-6 9, Levi Martino 1 0-0 2, James Adenuga 3 0-0 7, Hugo Huang 6 1-2 16, Sam Winkens 0 0-2 0. Totals: 12 5-10 34.

3-point goals: GV 1 (Norasethaporn), HA 5 (Huang 3, DeGolyer, Adenuga).
Total Fouls: GV 14, HA 9. Fouled out: None.

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