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Sunday, March 6, 2016: Section 6 nearly pulls off quarterfinals sweep

   Leading off today: Buffalo-area schools swept the day's first four games from their Rochester counterparts Saturday to advance to the NYSPHSAA boys basketball final fours next weekend in Glens Falls.

   Williamsville South (Class A), Olean (B), Middle Early College (C) and Panama (D) all advanced before Aquinas averted a sweep by routing Niagara Falls in Class AA at Buffalo State.

   Most interesting among the winners may have been Middle Early College's 62-58 win over Early College. JoJo Stanton scored 20 points and Gary Foster chipped in with 13 to book the school's fourth trip to Glens Falls and make it seven straight years that a Buffalo public school has reached the semifinals.

   Bryan Harrell Jr. had 22 points and 17 rebounds, and Tajmin Holt led everyone with 23 points in a losing effort for the Rochester school.

   Williamsville South advanced to the semifinals for the first time with a 53-51 win over Batavia as Jordan Buell, who had been 1-for-6 from the field up to that point, made a 3-pointer with 10.2 seconds to play. Buell finished with six points.

   "That's been our goal all year," coach Gabe Michaels said. "This makes us the best team to ever play at South because we've gone the furthest. It means a lot."

   Williamsville South's opponent in the semifinals will be Troy, which endured some late drama of its own by beating Syracuse CBA 54-51 in overtime.

   CBA tied the game with :20 left in regulation on a 3-pointer by Charles Pride (12 points) and went ahead in OT on a 3-pointer by Mark Lutz. From there, though, the Brothers did not make another field goal and Troy converted seven of nine free throws. Daniel Buie (19 points) made five of six free throws in the final two minutes.

   The day's other Class A quarterfinal was also a nail-biter. Byram Hills edged Johnson City 50-48, surviving three cracks at an equalizer by the Wildcats in the closing moments.

   Performance of the day: Despite a 55-point day by Cooperstown sophomore Tyler Bertram, Moravia outlasted the Hawkeyes 81-74 in double overtime in the Class C quarterfinals at Whitesboro.

   Gabe Short registered 20 points, 17 rebounds and four steals, while Parker Dickenson had 12 points and 18 rebounds. Jared Lyon, the last returnee from Moravia's 2013 final four team, scored 19 points and grabbed eight rebounds.

   "It's kind of bittersweet, because you work so hard every year to get better and better because the standard was set to high my freshman year," Lyon said.

   The teams ended regulation tied at 61, and Moravia's Jordan Crossgrove, who sat out much of regulation with foul trouble, scored the first five points of the first OT before Bertram rallied the Hawkeyes and drove the lane in the final seconds to score the tying basket.

   Moravia scored the first six points of the second overtime and used free-throw shooting to maintain a safe lead the rest of the way.

   Bertram broke Seth Schaeffer's single-game Cooperstown record of 51 points against Utica Proctor in 1993. He finished his season with 783 points.

   "He's going to be legit," Lyon said. "He is a wonderful player. You know he is going to get his points."

   Perfectly matched: Olean and Hudson are heading for a battle of unbeatens in the Class B semifinals. Olean fell

  

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  • behind 12-2 but went on to wallop Wellsville 54-30 and Hudson eliminated Ogdensburg 70-63.

       Elijah Ramadhan was 8-for-9 from the field on his way to a game-high 20 points, while Ben Eckstrom added nine points, seven rebounds and four blocks for Olean.

       "I was a little surprised with the slow start but I was really proud of the effort and how they dug in on defense," said Huskies coach Jeff Anastasia, who'll be inducted into the hall of fame by the Basketball Coaches Association of New York next Sunday.

       Trailing 60-59 midway through the fourth quarter, junior guard Mike Alert (15 points) made the go-ahead 3-pointer and Hudson went on to its 26th win of the season.

       "You can dream about this, but to say you're going to be 26-0 and in final four, I probably would have told people they're crazy," Bluehawks coach Shawn Briscoe said. "Just know how hard it is to get here. I knew we had a good team, but there are a lot of other good teams in the state. It's crazy to think there are four Class B teams left in the state and we're one of them.

       PSAL title game set: Next Sunday will be presidents day at Madison Square Garden as Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson meet for the PSAL boys Class AA championship.

       Lincoln, which had been doing it mostly with offense throughout the second half of the season, turned up the defense and beat George Westinghouse 59-50 at St. John's University on Saturday.

       Lincoln did not allow a Warriors field goal in the final 6:50 of the third quarter.    "Defense is our main priority," Lincoln guard Cahiem Brown (17 points) said. "We know that if we force turnovers and don't allow easy shots, that our offense will come naturally."

       Christ the King transfer Kclejuan Ferguson came off the bench to score 14 points in the win.

       Jefferson downed Wings Academy 74-64 as Shamorie Ponds, Rasheen Dunn and Curtis Smith combined for all 20 of the team's fourth-quarter points and 62 overall.

       More to come: The day's fourth and final blog -- this one covering Saturday's girls basketball action -- will be coming Sunday night.


      
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