The shoe was on the other foot Wednesday night at Fredonia High School, as the home-standing Hillbillies cruised past arch-rival Dunkirk (1-5, 1-2), 75-46, in CCAA Division 1 boys basketball action.
"It was just nice to get a win," Fredonia head coach Greg Lauer said. "It's been a long time for some of these guys. I've had Dylan (Meyer) and Nick (Johnston) for two or three years on varsity and they definitely did what they needed to do to get the win."
Coming into the game, Dunkirk had been 7-1 against Fredonia dating back to the 2008-09 season. However, the one thing that had helped the Marauders sustain their recent run of success against the Hillbillies - their ability to play solid team defense - was one of their biggest deficiencies Wednesday night.
OBSERVER?Photos by Joe Conti
At left,?Fredonia’s John Piper?brings the ball up the court during Wednesday’s CCAA?Division 1 boys high school basketball game against Dunkirk.?At right, Fredonia’s Jake Lilly takes a shot over Dunkirk’s Emmanuel Maisonet.
"It's high school basketball," Dunkirk head coach Jerome Moss said. "Every team has a time when (it's roster) turns over. We had some guys, a couple of consecutive classes, that came through that were good and we were able to put together some solid teams and play some solid ball. Then, you start all over. And that's where we're at right now."
After the 9-0 run to open the game, the Hillbillies outscored the Marauders 11-7, taking a 20-7 lead into the second quarter. The home team's offense didn't let up, getting eight points from Jon Fletcher, and another five from Meyer, who finished with a game-high 23 points, building a 44-22 lead at the break.
"Our guards, they're who we run our offense and everything through," Lauer said. "When you get (John) Piper and (Jon) Fletcher and Meyer getting layups and getting drives to the basket, it's huge for us."
Fredonia used runs of 8-0 and 10-2 to increase its lead to 67-34, as Meyer led the way with nine points.
"That stemmed from our defense," Lauer said of the scoring runs in the third. "It was big for us to get stops. And every time we came down, we looked for good shots. Guys were knocking down shots tonight. I thought we shot the ball extremely well and that was big for us."
The fourth quarter was a mere formality, with the Marauders outscoring the Hillbillies, 12-8, getting six points from Manny Maisonet, who is one of several underclassmen on the Dunkirk roster.
"This year is a learning experience," Moss said. "Varsity basketball is further up than jayvee basketball and you've got to learn that as you go. You can't duplicate the speed of the game in practice, so when you hit the floor, you may want to do some things, but the speed of the game kind of prevents you from doing them."
Fredonia won the battle at the foul line, connecting on 18-of-25 from the line, as Dunkirk was whistled for 18 fouls. The Marauders were 4-of-7 from the charity stripe as the Hillbillies had just seven fouls called on them over the course of the night.
"You'll have to ask the referees that," Moss said of the disparity in fouls called. "You'll have to ask them that, because I don't control that, they control that. And obviously they controlled that. Seven fouls (for Fredonia) for the entire game against a team that plays pressure, man-to-man defense."
Despite the loss, Moss was able to take some positives out of his team's performance and he's certain his players will be able to improve over the coming months.
"We got up and down the floor," Moss said. "We didn't have a problem with that. We didn't have a lot of run-out scoring, but guys were trying their hardest to get up and down the floor with the ball. We had some difficulty getting the ball in the basket a few times, but we got some decent shots, so we'll keeping working at that. We've just got to take it bit by bit."
Aside from his 23 points, Meyer added four rebounds and two steals, Piper finished with 15 points and five rebounds, Fletcher chipped in 12 points, five rebounds and three steals and Nick Johnston had nine points and five assists.
"It's great," Lauer said of his team myriad scoring options. "When you don't have to rely on one or two guys to get it done, and you can get three or four guys that can score, it's huge. It's tough to guard those guys.
"Meyer's been our go-to guy," Lauer added. "But (John) Piper's stepping up and Nick (Johnston) and (Jon) Fletcher and some other guys are starting to score for us."
Dunkirk was led by Michael Bess's 11 points while Eddie Wilson had 10 points. Maisonet and Marquel Ruiz scored nine each.
"As long as everybody keeps coming to practice, which I know they will, and as long as we keep working at it, we'll be fine," Moss said.