SALAMANCA — With its season winding down, the Salamanca boys basketball team got to enjoy its last game on the Warriors’ home court and celebrate three seniors in a lopsided win.
The Warriors raced out to a 50-7 halftime lead against Gowanda in the final CCAA East I game for both teams Thursday night. Salamanca’s dominant first half included a 28-0 run, turning an 8-5 early lead to 36-5. The Warriors could cruise for the rest of the night, winning 85-25.
Salamanca celebrated Senior Night with Ira Snyder, Aaron George and Jarrett McKenna in the starting lineup, the latter two being regular backcourt starters for coach Adam Bennett.
Salamanca (13-6, 7-3) had five players score at least nine points, led by eighth grader Lucus Brown’s 15 points with six assists, five steals and five rebounds. Junior center Jarod White had 14 points and 10 rebounds. George (three steals), McKenna (six rebounds, four steals, four assists) and Isaac Brown (six rebounds, four steals, four assists) had nine points each. Snyder grabbed five rebounds.
“It's a good night for those three guys,” Bennett said of his seniors. “They've given a lot to our program. Aaron in two years has been unbelievable. To make the impact he has after never playing organized ball is incredible. And then Jarrett has given us so much for three years. He's been my quarterback and we put a lot on his shoulders. He doesn't get a ton of accolades but he makes things go for us. He's critically important to our team. So to be able to get them a night that they can remember, it's an important game on top of that with a bunch of playoff implications, it's just nice to get a win like that.”
John Ondus scored 11 points for Gowanda (4-14).
Salamanca's league finale win gave it a top-five seed in Section 6 Class C-2, but the Warriors are projected to start the playoffs on the road. After Westfield's win at Sherman Thursday night, Salamanca is locked into the No. 5 seed in C-2 and will visit No. 4 Westfield.
“We're playing our best basketball right now. I thought we played our best game of the year up at Silver Creek,” Bennett said, referring to a 63-53 road win on Tuesday. “We were consistent, it was four quarters of good defense, we had 50 rebounds. We just played really hard the whole time, so I like the way we're practicing, I like the way we're playing right now. This is the time of the year that you want to be playing well, but the top seven teams in C2 are all unbelievable. I think their combined record is something like 95-29. So whoever we get in the playoffs is going to be a good team and we understand that. So we're just working every day to continue to get better.”
The Warriors close out the regular season at Ellicottville on Thursday, Feb. 20, then will have a week off before playing at Westfield in the playoffs on Friday, Feb. 28.
“Ellicottville's a good team,” Bennett said. “That's going to be a good test, Dave does a good job with them. But our focus right now is on Westfield, knowing that that's the scenario we're going to get. They're a lot like us. They have some good guard play, they've got a big kid that can score, so it's going to be a challenge either way. We're just focused on taking it day-by-day and getting better. We'll naturally put some things in for Westfield, but it's two weeks away. We just want to continue to improve.”
Ondus 5 0-0 11, Nagel 3 0-0 6, Golden 2 0-0 4, Ruff 0 2-2 2, T. Smith 0 1-2 1, H. Smith 0 1-4 1. Totals: 10 4-8 25.
Cummings 1 1-2 4, J. McKenna 3 2-2 9, I. Brown 4 0-2 9, L. McKenna 2 2-4 6, Hedlund 2 0-0 4, Maybee 3 0-0 7, L. Brown 7 1-1 15, Snyder 1 0-0 2, George 4 0-0 9, 6 2-2 14. Totals: 36 8-13 85.
Gowanda 5 7 13 25
Salamanca 28 50 74 85
Three-point goals: Gowanda 1 (Ondus); Salamanca 5 (Cummings, J. McKenna, I. Brown, Maybee, George). Total fouls: Gowanda 8, Salamanca 12. Fouled out: None.
JV: Salamanca, 73-32.