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Andover-Whitesville’s great season comes to end in sectionals, Joyce Coach of Year; GV/B girls fall to No. 1 Finney

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By CHRIS BROOKS, managing editor, wellsvillesports.com

DANSVILLE — Andover/Whitesville was the very last boys basketball team left standing in Allegany County.

After mechanical issues forced the Class D Semifinals to relocate from Wayland-Cohocton to down the road in Dansville, the time to take the stage for an opportunity to reach Blue Cross Arena on Saturday, had finally come on Wednesday.

With the defending back-to-back Class D State Champion Avoca-Prattsburgh Titans waiting in the wings to defend their crown at Blue Cross Arena this weekend, the answer to who they were going to face Saturday night in the big dance would come straight down to the wire within the confines of the Corral.

No. 7 Elba and No. 3 Andover/Whitesville gave it absolutely everything they had. The fierce battle to the finish line was on, with both teams neck-and-neck trading positions in the driver’s seat across the second half. With less than a minute to go, the Lancers were able to navigate their way back on top, ultimately remaining there with some gargantuan help from the charity stripe, while the defense held their opposition to just five points in the last eight minute elongation to lock in their spot in the Class D Finals with a narrow 40-36 win.

“Congratulations to Ciaci (Zambito) and that crew from Elba. They work extremely hard and they are a very well-run organization,” said Andover/Whitesville coach Jimmy Joyce. “It certainly was not the way we wanted to end our season. I felt like we executed our game plan flawlessly. We knew coming in that their dominant big men were the key, and that we were going to have to try and match their physicality. We did just that, but we couldn’t knock a shot down when we needed it. In the end, that was the big difference.”

Both teams were limited to just two shots from the field across the opening eight minute segment of their Semifinal clash, with Andover/Whitesville working their way out in front behind some big free throw assistance from Brody Vance and Gage Putnam, as the two scorers went a combined 4-for-6 at the line to aid in creating an early 8-5 lead on the Lancers.

The action intensified in the second where Andover/Whitesville was able to hang onto their advantage going into the break behind another stout display of defense held Elba nearly shotless from the field once more, while on the opposite end of the floor, five different contributors for the No. 3 seeds pitched in an effort to help towards their largest frame of offense in the game — a 14-point display to lay claim on a 22-16 lead at the break.

But in the second half, the Lancers dug their way back with two big out-scorings of Andover/Whitesville to climb back within reach, beginning in the third quarter with Angelo Penna’s perfect 4-for-4 outing at the stripe, as well as a long Nicholas Scott triple, propelling their way to within a pair going into the fourth.

Elba would send their offensive efforts over the top in the last eight minutes to close the game out, while the defense held Andover/Whitesville at a near standstill to capitalize on all fronts themselves. That would result in a game-ending 11-5 run to officially close out the season for the No. 3 seeds in dramatic and heartbreaking fashion.

http://www.nylandquest.comNY Land Quest congratulates all student athletes

Despite the defeat, Gage Putnam produced one of his best games of the season on the attack, scoring a pair of clutch second half triples to go with some early first half free throw magic to earn a team-high 10 points. Colton Calladine chipped in with eight points of his own, while Vinny Joyce and Brody Vance each had six.

The season is now over for Andover/Whitesville, as they return all but one player to their squad next winter, as the team now prepares to say goodbye to their lone senior, Derek Perkins.

“All in all, I could not be more proud of this group of young men. The future ahead of us is so bright. I already want to get next season started already,” Joyce said. “I want to especially thank our lone senior Derek for all of his hard work and dedication that he brought to this program. We are certainly going to miss him.”

Elba 5 11 13 11 – 40

Andover/Whitesville 8 14 9 5 – 36

ELBA: Ashton Bezon 3 2-4 8, Bing Zuber 1 0-0 3, Mike Long 1 0-7 2, Nicholas Scott 4 1-1 11, Ryan Marsceill 0 2-4 2, Angelo Penna 2 10-12 14. Totals: 11 15-28 40.

ANDOVER/WHITESVILLE: Jake Mattison 1 0-0 2, Ethan Warriner 2 0-0 4, Vinny Joyce 3 0-0 6, Brody Vance 1 4-6 6, Colton Calladine 3 2-4 8, Gage Putnam 2 4-6 10. Totals: 12 10-16 36.

3-point goals: Elba 3 (Scott 2, Zuber), A/W 2 (Putnam).
Total Fouls: Elba 16, A/W 23. Fouled out: Vance (A/W)

(Tough loss for GV/B (photo gallery and story) Top-seeded C.G. Finney breaks open game behind massive 3rd quarter, stellar defense in 71-33 win over No. 4 GV/Belfast;

MOUNT MORRIS — It’s been a phenomenal journey that the Genesee Valley/Belfast ladies have embarked on, since the beginning.

They entered Sectionals as one of the hottest teams in Allegany County, winning eight of their last nine regular season battles going into the postseason to build a giant mass of momentum to use full steam ahead.

After victories over Harley Allendale-Columbia and Northstar in their first two Sectional clashes, the No. 4 seeds now stood 32 more minutes away from that magical trip to Finger Lakes Community College in Canandaigua to compete for Section V’s grand prize. Their opposition: No. 1 C.G. Finney was the lone encumbrance standing directly in their path.

The task at hand was monumental. The top seeds in the Class D bracket were headlined by their signature man-to-man defense, using it to their fullest of advantages all season long. On Wednesday, they would use it again one more time against Genesee Valley/Belfast to punch their tickets to the Finals on Saturday, setting the tone in the first half before cementing their game-long advantage permanently at the start of the next to lockdown a 71-33 victory in Mount Morris.

“Finney earned their No. 1 seed for a reason. They played really well and Coach (Andy) Marchand does a great job with their program. They came out with confidence and played well,” GV/Belfast coach Raegan Ryan said. “The way our girls handled themselves during this game, and truthfully over the course of the season, speaks to their character. They had no quit and they played until the final buzzer.”

With the wind gusting all over the place outside the gym in Mount Morris, the gale-force currents inside began to flare up after a quick back-and-forth battle saw Genesee Valley/Belfast break the ice with a couple of kick-starting contributions from Abby Sullivan and Mary Hamer — the team’s two leaders all season long, who combined for 22 of the team’s 33 points in the contest.

With a 7-5 lead in hand, the Lady Falcons called for a brief recess in the action to regroup before re-entering play and re-tying the game at seven, using the deadlocking basket to create an unanswered strand of eight points to bolster their lead on the No. 4 seeds. The Lady Falcons would wind up closing the first quarter on a 10-3 run.

The lead for C.G. Finney would blossom larger and larger over time while they continued to syphon every bit of momentum they could. Behind a dynamic tag team of Allie Frederickson and Lucia Suarez, they would convert the majority of their opportunities off their stellar man-to-man pressure against Genesee Valley/Belfast to construct a 34-23 lead at halftime.

The Lady Falcons would pick up where they immediately left off to further cement their advantage in permanent fashion, opening the third quarter on an 11-0 run of Genesee Valley/Belfast to grow their lead out to as large as 20 points.

All together, a 22-8 jaunt was assembled, leaving their opposition scoreless across the last several minutes of the frame to maintain firm control of the contest for the foreseeable future ahead.

Sullivan led all Genesee Valley/Belfast scorers behind her team-leading 15 points, while Hamer chipped in with seven. Sophie Zillgitt had five points, while Jenna Hill and Ava Aaronson rounded off the scoring with the last six points combined.

A fine season of basketball under first-year head coach Raegan Ryan is officially history for Genesee Valley/Belfast, as they wrap up the campaign with a record of 18-5 overall. The team will say goodbye to four big pieces to their puzzle when they graduate this June, in Hamer, Sullivan, Kendra Bigelow and Morgan Bentley.

Looking back, Ryan is thankful for everything that had unfolded this season in her first year of coaching, ranging from the wide variety of success that the program has been able to experience, along with a brand new instilling of culture for the program. All of which, the team bought in on.

“I’m thankful for the way they responded to me as their new coach,” she said. “It’s not always easy to step in and embrace a new coach and a new system, but they bought in early and we built from there. It was truly an honor to coach them. This group has so much to be proud of. Winning early-season tournaments, Mary scoring her 1,000th point, just to name a few. Their hard work in the regular season put themselves in a position to be able to reach the Semifinals – something that 12 other teams wanted. They worked really hard to tap into their potential both on the court and with their off-the-court sisterhood. It’s just so tough for it to come to an end.”

Ryan added on her four seniors, noting that “I’m really proud of this team and consider myself to be really fortunate to have coached them. I’m thankful for our seniors Morgan Bentley, Kendra Bigelow, Abby Sullivan and Mary Hamer. The way they led this season is unmatched. They’ve left an indelible mark on the program, and I cannot wait to see what their futures hold next.”

Genesee Valley/Belfast 10 13 8 2 – 33

C.G. Finney 17 17 22 15 – 71

GV/BELFAST: Abby Sullivan 6 0-0 15, Sophie Zillgitt 2 0-0 5, Mary Hamer 2 2-2 7, Ava Aaronson 1 0-4 2, Jenna Hill 2 0-2 4. Totals: 13 2-8 33.

C.G. FINNEY: Lucia Suarez 7 0-0 17, Kiara Van Der Jagt 3 1-2 7, Eva Blazynski 1 0-0 2, Faith Pasquantonio 4 0-0 8, Kiley Knittle 5 0-0 12, Marion Guillo 1 1-2 3, Allie Frederickson 10 2-3 22. Totals: 31 4-7 71.

3-point goals: GVB 5 (Sullivan 3, Zillgitt, Hamer), Finney 5 (Suarez 3, Knittle 2).
Total Fouls: GVB 10, Finney 11. Fouled out: None.

Chris Brooks photo gallery:

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