SILVER CREEK - Dunkirk's Michael Bess made six 3-pointers Wednesday night during his team's CCAA West I boys basketball game against Silver Creek (9-6, 5-3), but it was his last that was his biggest.
With less than five seconds left on the clock, Bess took an inbounds pass just inside Silver Creek's end of the floor. Then, he outran the Black Knights' defense, hoisted up a 19-footer that banked off the backboard and into the basket as time expired to give the Marauders (2-12, 1-7) a shocking 66-63 win.
"We had two plays set up for the end of the game," Dunkirk head coach Steve O'Brien said. "One if (Silver Creek) pressured us and two if it was open. Both (plays) we obviously wanted to get the ball into Michael's hands. He improvised, because when he got that ball, they came up for a double-team, he got by them and was able to pull up (for the shot). I heard him yell 'bank', so that was a legitimate shot."
OBSERVER?Photo by Gib Snyder III
Dunkirk’s Michael Bess looks to pass the ball during Wednesday’s CCAA?West I boys high school basketball game. Bess hit the game-winning shot at the buzzer to give the Marauders a 66-63 victory over Silver Creek.
The shot by Bess capped off a wild comeback by the Marauders, who trailed by 12 with four minutes left.
"I'm going to give credit to Michael Bess," Genco said. "He hit some big shots, he's a good kid. It stinks to be on the losing end, but (Dunkirk) needed that. Seeing those guys jump around on each other and being goofy, inside a little bit, I was smiling. But on this end, we've got a lot of work to do."
The rally started with a basket by Richard Pickens and another 3-pointer by Bess with 2:26 remaining, to cut the Black Knights' lead, 58-51. A bucket by Billy Brooks put Silver Creek up, 60-51, but from there, it was all Dunkirk.
"The kids moved the ball well," O'Brien said. "We talked about limiting our turnovers - we had 21 - but relatively speaking, for us, that's good. And I thought we controlled the tempo of the game. We moved the ball at the pace we wanted to."
A bucket by Bess cut the Silver Creek lead, 60-53, and then, in a matter of 11 seconds, Dunkirk was able to tie the game, 60-all.
Chad Butts, a jayvee call-up, was fouled after making a layup. After the foul was called, Silver Creek's Connor Gates was called for a technical foul, giving Dunkirk two more chances at the charity strip. Butts converted his free throw, then Bess did the same, to leave the Marauders down, 60-58, with 1:31 left in regulation.
"It was a breakdown on our guy who got the technical (foul)," Genco said. "It's inexcusable and it cost us the game. We worked too hard down the stretch to go up 12 to have one guy react (negatively). Whether the call is questionable or not, you can't react that way."
Pickens made a shot in the lane to tie the game 60-all with 1:20 left, before the Black Knights converted 3 of 4 free throws to go up three.
But Bess was there again when his team needed him most, as he nailed a long 3-pointer to tie the game at 63 with 27 seconds left.
"He was making the threes," O'Brien said of Bess. "So we were trying to get our bigs to kick it to the opposite wing. We had trouble doing that, but we were able to get him the ball enough."
Silver Creek's Sherman Williams had a chance at the line with just over seven seconds remaining to give the Black Knights the lead, but he missed the first end of a one-and-one and Pickens grabbed the rebound with less than five seconds on the clock.
Dunkirk immediately called a timeout to set up what would be its chance at the game-winning shot. Bess made sure he didn't let his teammates down.
For the Marauders, the win gave them something to get excited about in what has been a disappointing season. For the Black Knights, it was their third loss in their last four games.
"I've said right along that they give an honest effort," O'Brien said of his team. "We practiced hard this week, we changed our offense so our bigs have the ball most of the time, because we're so short on guards, and they adapted to it well I thought."
Dunkirk jumped out to a 13-12 lead after the first quarter and a held a 31-29 lead at the break, thanks in large part to the effort of sophomore Isiah Thomas, who had 11 of his 15 points over the game's first 16 minutes.
Butts added seven points and Bess 10 of his game-high 28 points in the first half as well to help Dunkirk maintain the lead heading into the break.
"They love playing basketball," Genco said. "And it's something (former head coach Jerome Moss) instilled in them. And they're still doing what they've been doing since they were little kids. When I coached (varsity football) over there, those kids always had a basketball in their hands."
Silver Creek dominated the first 12 minutes of the second half, outscoring Dunkirk 19-11 in the third quarter and held a 12-point lead three times in the fourth quarter, before the Marauders closed out the game on a 15-3 run to pick up their first league win of the year.
Billy Brooks finished with 16 points, 16 rebounds, six assists and three blocks on the night while teammate Kaine Kettle added 17 points and six rebounds. Brennan White chipped in a team-high 18 points.
Sherman 50, Brocton 27
BROCTON - The Brocton Bulldogs (1-10, 0-6) continued their shooting struggles Wednesday as they fell to Sherman (13-1, 8-0), 50-27, Wednesday in CCAA West II boys high school basketball.
The Bulldogs scored just four points in the first quarter as they trailed the league leaders, 12-4, after eight minutes. The home team played much better in the second frame as they trailed just 26-17 at intermission. However, the Wildcats went on to outscore the Bulldogs, 24-10, in the second half for the win.
Macalum Buchanan led Brocton with nine points while Aaron Riforgiato had 10 rebounds to go along with his seven points.
Sherman received balanced scoring as Ryan Robson led the way with 13 points. Jake Card and Andrew Graham each scored 11 points in the victory. Card, Graham and Robson each pulled down six rebounds.
Of Brocton's 27 turnovers, only 11 were forced.
The Bulldogs look to get their first league win Friday when they travel to Chautauqua Lake.
Clymer 63, Westfield 54
WESTFIELD - The Clymer Pirates (7-6, 4-3) slowly but surely pulled away from the Westfield Wolverines (7-6, 3-4) on Wednesday in a 63-54 decision in CCAA West II boys high school basketball.
The Wolverines held a slim 12-11 lead after the first quarter, but trailed, 28-27 at halftime. The Pirates went on to outscore the home team 35-27 in the second half for the win.
The Pirates received balanced scoring as three players scored in double digits, led by Mitch Einink's 24 points. Jake Wiggers added 14 points and Matt DeStevens had 13 in the win. Jared Dunewald and Einink combined for 21 rebounds, while the Wolverines had just 24 as a team. DeStevens also had five assists in the win.
Westfield was led by Jacob Gray's 12 points and eight rebounds. Jessie Rodriguez had 11 points in defeat.
The Wolverines travel to Panama next Tuesday.
Gowanda 73, Allegany-Limestone 68
ALLEGANY - The Gowanda Panthers (9-6, 2-5) were clicking from the perimeter and inside the paint Wednesday and needed every bit of offense they could find as they defeated the Allegany-Limestone Gators, 73-68 in overtime, in a CCAA East I boys high school basketball game.
Zach Stevens led the attack with 23 points in the paint while Chase Williams added 22 points - including three treys.
Stevens also had 14 rebounds. Brennan Geiger had 15 points for the winners.
The two teams face off again Friday at Gowanda.
Forestville 62, Pine Valley 40
FORESTVILLE - It took three quarters, but the Forestville Hornets (6-7, 5-1) finally got their offense rolling as they rallied past Pine Valley (3-9, 2-3), 62-40, Wednesday in CCAA East II boys high school basketball.
Trailing by three points heading into the final eight minutes, Dylan Szumigala and Jake Nosbisch combined for 15 of the team's 28 points, while holding the Panthers to just three points the rest of the way.
"I knew it was going to be a tough one," Forestville coach Ralph Jackson said. "Pine Valley kept fighting. They played hard until the end. I am glad my guys finally woke up."
Szumigala and Nosbisch each finished with 13 points while Caleb Makuch added 12 and Wayne Hartloff had nine. Makuch and Logan Youngberg combined for 16 rebounds. Nosbisch had seven steals and Szumigala had six steals and five assists for the winners.
The Panthers were led by Jake Wilcox's 11 points and 10 rebounds and Bryce Jay's 10 points and as many rebounds.
The two teams go at it again Friday at Pine Valley.