Not quite good enough

Olean shows experience in taking down Dunkirk

OBSERVER Photos by Mary Ann Wiberg At left, Dunkirk’s Devaun Farnham drives to the basket during Thursday’s CCAA West 1 boys high school basketball game against Olean. At right, Dunkirk’s Tyrese Kristan-Johnson goes up for a shot while being surrounded by Olean defenders.

The final score tells one story, but the gameplay told another in a 67-53 CCAA West I boys basketball victory for the Olean Huskies (15-2, 8-1) over the Dunkirk Marauders (9-8, 2-2) on Thursday at Dunkirk High School.

Trailing 26-14 early in the second quarter, Dunkirk went on what would be one of multiple hot streaks throughout the game.

Over the next few minutes, the Marauders’ Shamon Stewart scored 10 points — including two 3’s — to bring the score to 32-28 Olean. The Huskies answered with a putback basket by Mike Schmidt before Dunkirk’s Tyrese Kristan-Johnson scored inside to cut the lead to four points at 34-30.

Following an Olean turnover, Stewart had another chance to bring the crowd to their feet, but the shot fell short and the Huskies answered with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Monty Shoemaker for the 37-30 halftime lead.

“Olean is an experienced team,” Dunkirk coach Jack O’Brien said. “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, with Fredonia and Olean in this division, that’s who we strive to be like. These are games where you get your experience and learn about yourself. You learn to deal with your emotions. When things are going good, you need to keep things in check and the same when things aren’t going well. Olean did a great job of doing just that tonight.”

The Marauders came racing back in the third once again, this while trailing, 41-33.

Darnell Butts started the comeback with consecutive 3’s, followed by a point from the free throw line. A driving bucket by Devaun Farnham cut the lead to 43-39 and another 3 by Butts cut the lead to a single point, 43-42.

At the other end, Schmidt cut through the lane for a bucket, which was answered by a Farnham 3-pointer to even the score, 45-45, for the first time since the opening minute.

As was the case all game, just when it seemed Dunkirk had Olean in its sights, the Huskies’ experience shone through.

Schmidt converted an old-fashioned three-point play and Tristen Snyder laid the ball in for Olean with two seconds left in the third to take a 52-47 lead into the fourth.

That’s where Olean took over.

The Huskies went on to outscore Dunkirk 15-6 in the period as the home team struggled to find baskets and Olean slowed the pace and controlled the waning minutes.

“We need to be a tough team. When another team goes on a run we need to be able to find a way to stop their momentum and stop their runs. When we’re on a run we need to find a way to feed off it,” O’Brien said. “I thought when we were hot on offense, we did play harder on the defensive end. When we had shots falling, we had guys taking travels and getting down for loose balls. When (Olean) was on their runs, they had possessions where they’d miss shots, get offensive rebounds and keep extending possessions. We need to be mentally stronger in a big game like this. This is a high-emotion game and if we are a little stronger mentally I think it ends up being a lot closer game.”

Stewart finished with 14 points and five rebounds. Butts added 12 points while Kristan-Johnson had 12 points and seven rebounds. Evon Hernandez dished out six assists in the loss.

Shoemaker led Olean with 27 points. Schmidt had 16 points in the win and Snyder added 14 of his own.

Next up for Dunkirk is a Feb. 6 road matchup with Southwestern.