SALAMANCA — On one side, the Randolph Cardinals looked nearly identical to their Section 6 boys basketball champion squad from last winter. On the other, a nearly brand-new Olean brought an all-new starting lineup from a championship season ago to Summer League.
And in this last offseason glimpse of the winter sport between two proud basketball programs, the smaller school but the more experienced squad won out. Randolph ran away in the second half of the Cattaraugus County Boys Basketball Summer League championship game, extending a 24-7 halftime lead to a 55-39 victory over the Huskies.
Randolph senior-to-be guard Tyler Hind scored more than half of his team’s points, with 30, making four 3-pointers. Earlier this week, Hind announced his commitment to Division II Daemen College, where he will play for coach Mike MacDonald on a full scholarship.
As evidenced by his father and coach Kevin Hind’s demeanor on the sideline, which mirrored his stern approach to the regular season, the Hinds take basketball seriously year-round.
“Really it just comes down to we’re going to take it all seriously,” Kevin Hind said. “I was just telling these guys, we’ve got four really good friends that have been a part of my life and Ty’s life since they were 4 or 5 years old and you’re going to start to see a string of lasts, ‘This is your last summer league game.’
“I talk about it at the beginning of every season, ‘Don’t take a day off. It goes really quickly.’ So when you come to play, I’m just trying to keep getting them better.”
Center Gabe McCoy chipped in 10 points and Ty Rosengren added seven for Randolph.
Dan Klein led Olean with 13 points. Jason Brooks added 12 points and Jah’Karee McClain had nine.
The Huskies went 6-3 in the summer (4-2 in the “regular season”), earning the third seed in the seven-team league. While it was coach Tim Kolasinski’s unofficial first experience as varsity head coach, taking over for retired OHS legend Jeff Anastasia, the former JV coach worked with more than a few familiar faces this summer.
“The thing is, it’s a unique experience because we graduated 10 seniors last year, I was the JV coach,” Kolasinski said, “so the majority of these guys I had not only before — I had them all before — but I had most of them last year. So this is the majority of my team last year, kind of moving up to the varsity level. We were actually able to get together and do a team camp at Robert Morris earlier in the spring.”
But this gave the new-look Huskies a chance to grade themselves against other varsity teams, some with much more experience like the Cardinals.
“I think one of the biggest things is that, especially at the high school level, every year you’re putting a different product on the floor,” Kolasinski added. “You’re going to have different strengths and weaknesses and it’s our first chance to get around each other and see what works, what doesn’t, what style of play may be best for us.
“I think at times our youth definitely showed. But for the most part we have some tough-nosed kids and they just kind of set their mind to they have aspirations, they have goals, they know what they want to do and they came out and they played hard.”
The Cardinals kept busy this summer to prepare for their star guard’s final season before college, starting with another league they played in in Jamestown and a handful of tournaments.
“Ty was traveling a lot, we had guys going in different directions,” Kevin Hind said. “Ty and Drew (his younger brother) have played a ton with just different teams, driving to Buffalo three, four nights a week so you try to keep the main pieces of the puzzle, playing and shooting, try to keep everybody else still involved. A game like that and last night (against Salamanca), seeing that there’s a team out there and hungry and coming for you, you can use that for when the season comes around and keep you motivated. So there’s certainly a lot of value, getting the ball back in your hands a couple days a week.”