By CHRIS BROOKS, sports editor, wellsvillesports.com
HOUGHTON — Playing games in back-to-back nights can present many challenges. For the Eagles of Fillmore, it was a challenge in the midst of playing some of their best basketball this season at the right time. What better way to use the opportunity, than up against their most physical of opponents thus far this season — the Elba Lancers.
The stage was set at Houghton University on Saturday, and it was a battle that the two teams navigated through step-by-step. But when it came down to brass tax, Zach Sisson and Jair Bialek rose to the occasion.
The two Fillmore sharpshooters took command of the offense in both halves, with Sisson knocking down an array of shots to garner the first big boost, while Bialek came in through the clutch with his enormous second half in return, as the efforts gave the Eagles enough room to edge their way past the Lancers with a 67-53 win — their fourth in a row.
“I’m really proud of our effort tonight. Playing back to back nights can be a challenge, especially when facing a physical team like Elba,” Eagles coach Randy Crouch said. “We still had some defensive lapses and struggled to keep their bigs off the glass, but we competed and really started to take advantage of our strengths. I was especially proud of how Zach found teammates, and didn’t press when they went box and one. Jair did a great job of taking advantage of the focus on Zach, and had his best game of the year. Jonah (Bialek) and Eben (Schilke) hit some big shots when we needed them. We are getting to where the games mean a little more, and hopefully we can continue to put the pieces together.”
Fillmore (9-4) caught fire from three-point range bright and early against the Lancers in the opening eight minutes, sinking four of their 12 total in the contest — three off the hand of Zach Sisson, who had another monster night on the hardwood to pace the offense, scoring a game-high 25 points to go with seven assists and six rebounds.
A 15-9 lead for the Eagles was established and kept after a back-and-forth trade with Elba through the second quarter, as the shots from Sisson kept raining down while a pair of Eben Schilke three-pointers helped further the team’s cause in the offense’s 21-point conduction to close out the first half with an eight-point lead.
When the second half came around, it was Jair Bialek’s turn to take over shop for the team in white and green.
Through a balanced 23-point quarter for the Eagles, and into a fourth quarter where he scored all eight of the frame’s points, the room they needed to stay in front of the Lancers was garnered behind Bialek’s efforts, as Fillmore pulled away towards a fourth consecutive win.
The Eagles are back on the floor Tuesday night with a 7:30 p.m. contest back inside The Rock, hosting Genesee Valley/Belfast.
Elba 9 19 17 8 – 53
Fillmore 15 21 23 8 – 67
ELBA: Jake Walczak 3 0-0 8, Ashton Bezon 5 0-0 10, Nicholas Scott 0 0-1 0, Jake Engle 1 0-0 2, Angelo Penna 9 4-8 22, Connor Scott 3 5-6 11. Totals: 21 9-15 53.
FILLMORE: Eben Schilke 2 0-0 6, Jack Cool 1 0-0 3, Jair Bialek 8 0-0 20, Luke Colombo 2 1-2 5, Mitch Ward 1 1-1 3, Zach Sisson 9 3-3 25, Jonah Bialek 2 0-0 5, Layton Sanasith 0 0-2 0. Totals: 25 5-8 67.
3-point goals: Elba 2 (Walczak), Fillmore 12 (Ja. Bialek 4, Sisson 4, Schilke 2, Cool, Jo. Bialek).
Total Fouls: Elba 13, Fillmore 18. Fouled out: None.
Archbishop Walsh 58, Houghton Academy 48
OLEAN — Both the Panthers and host Eagles of Archbishop Walsh battled all across the 32 minutes on the floor. With a one-point buffer separating the two teams going into the second half, something had to give.
That would come in the second half, where the Eagles three-point game came alive, especially off the hand of Luca Quinn, who had seven of the team’s nine treys in the last 16 minutes of the night, as the hosts garnered just enough room to pull away and out of reach of the Panthers with a 58-48 home win on Saturday.
Three different scorers all posted at least 10 points to pave the Panthers (1-11) offense, with Jack Prentice leading the charge with his team-high 19 points — 15 of them being bucketed in the second half. James Adenuga chipped in with 14 points, while Josh Davidson had 10.
A complete box score was not made available to report upon publication.
Houghton Academy heads back home to welcome in New Life Christian for a 6:30 p.m. contest on Wednesday.
Campbell-Savona 49, Genesee Valley/Belfast 40
CAMPBELL — Genesee Valley/Belfast and Campbell-Savona strung together a close quarters first half, one that saw the Lady Panthers jump out ahead with a narrow two-point lead to control.
The heat would turn up by the time the second half approached, as Campbell-Savona let it rain with four big third quarter three-pointers to push their advantage out to double digits, where they were able to maintain position in the front seat to capture an enormous 49-40 victory on their home floor, Saturday afternoon.
Genesee Valley/Belfast (9-7) equipped a balanced attack across much of the first half to keep pace with Campbell-Savona, as both teams were wheeling and dealing on both ends of the floor, with the Lady Panthers garnering a slight bulk of the half’s points to take a two-point lead going into the break.
In the second half, the Lady Panthers were able to garner just enough room behind a 17-point frame consisting of four huge treys from downtown — three off the hand of Jenna Machuga, while in turn, the defense held Genesee Valley/Belfast to just three shots from the field. A 17-10 run by the hosts in white and red that ultimately extended their lead out of reach.
Leading the scoring for the visitors in black was Mary Hamer, who recorded a team-high 16 points. Anna Drozdowski knocked down 11 more points, while Adison Grusendorf had five.
Monday night, Genesee Valley/Belfast will head over the road once more to visit the Lady Eagles of Fillmore for a 7:30 p.m. contest.
Genesee Valley/Belfast 11 11 10 8 – 40
Campbell-Savona 14 10 17 8 – 49
GV/BELFAST: Anna Drozdowski 2 6-10 11, Abby Sullivan 1 1-2 3, Harley Proctor 1 0-0 2, Adison Grusendorf 2 0-0 5, Madison McKenzie 1 0-0 3, Mary Hamer 7 2-2 16, Kate Calanni 0 0-2 0. Totals: 14 9-16 40.
CAMPBELL-SAVONA: Hollie DeMong 4 0-0 9, Ashlynn Stratton 8 0-0 19, Hannah DeMong 2 0-0 4, Emma Ray 1 0-0 2, Jenna Machuga 4 0-0 11, Jalynn Machuga 1 2-6 4. Totals: 20 2-6 49.
3-point goals: GVB 3 (Drozdowski, Grusendorf, McKenzie), C-S 7 (Stratton 3, Je. Machuga 3, H. DeMong).
Total Fouls: GVB 7, C-S 16. Fouled out: None.
Houghton Academy 40, Archbishop Walsh 25
OLEAN — Removed from what was her most epic performance of the season, Jess Prentice helped the Lady Panthers of Houghton Academy towards a bounce back victory over host Archbishop Walsh on Saturday, as they rolled behind a fast start to record a triumphant 40-25 decision.
Prentice totaled a team-high 19 points to help set up a hot Houghton Academy (3-11) start right from the get-go, as she, along with Laura Maya combined for 14 of the Lady Panthers 18 points in the frame, setting up what was a 18-0 scoreless jaunt to set the tone immediately against the Lady Eagles.
Finishing behind Prentice was Jessica Adenuga, who had nine points. Maya had eight points — all scored in the opening quarter, to pitch in.
A complete box score was not made available to report upon publication.
The Lady Panthers will look to rollover the momentum into Monday night back on the road, visiting Alfred-Almond in a 5:45 p.m. tip-off.