Dunkirk escapes Southwestern with close win
Upset-minded Southwestern had Dunkirk right where it wanted the Marauders late in the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s CCAA Division 1 West matchup in West Ellicott.
But the Marauders made plays in the final two minutes and the Trojans didn’t as Dunkirk escaped with a 63-55 victory.
Southwestern took a one-point lead on junior Faizan Munir’s fourth 3-pointer of the game, but the Trojans went scoreless over their final eight possessions, which included five turnovers.
Marauders senior Noah Sobilo answered Munir’s 3-pointer with one of his own just nine seconds later to give his team a 57-55 lead.
“The game plan was to make them try to beat us from the outside. Hats off to them, they were able to do that,” Southwestern coach Aaron Emley said. “Noah hit a couple of really big shots. Good for him. Those are big-time shots and he made them.”
Seniors Issiah Velez and Devaun Farnham-DeJesus converted turnovers into points and Dunkirk (12-6, 9-2) was quickly up six. Southwestern (12-5, 6-4) then missed a second chance at a 3-pointer and had a shot blocked in the lane before turnovers on its final three possessions allowed the second-place Marauders to hold on for the victory.
“We really finished,” Dunkirk coach Andrew Krenzer said. “Defensively, we did a much better job in the second half. I’m really proud of them for that.”
Farnham-DeJesus led the visitors with 17 points to go along with three assists and two steals while Sobilo had 15 points, including three 3-pointers.
“At times Devaun can be the best guy on the floor. He just has to choose that he’s going to be the best guy on the floor,” Krenzer said.
“I told Noah, he’s the X-factor. … He really can shoot the ball. He stepped up and did a nice job.”
Junior Alex Card led the Trojans with 17 points to go along with five rebounds and four assists while Munir added 16 points.
The Marauders won the first meeting between the teams Jan. 8 in Dunkirk by 23 points and it looked like Tuesday evening’s game may go the same way early.
After the game was tied at 5, Farnham-DeJesus scored seven straight points, including a 3-pointer, to give the Marauders an early cushion. After 3-pointers from Munir and Card made it a one-point game, Dunkirk finished the quarter on a 8-2 run to lead 20-13 after eight minutes.“I knew it was going to be this way, but convincing my kids it was going to be this way was maybe a different story,” Krenzer said. “It’s always hard to play here. … Southwestern does an awesome job of taking away the paint. You have to hit from the outside to beat them.”
The Trojans chipped away in the second quarter, and eventually an 11-0 run capped by a Munir bucket with 40 seconds left in the half made it 28-all at the break.
Munir’s 3-pointer with 7:04 left in the third quarter gave Southwestern its first lead since 5-3 and the rest of the period featured five lead changes and three ties.
“He’s been doing that the last few games. He’s been coming in, hitting some big shots for us,” Emley said of Munir. “He plays great defense and gets on the rebounds. We need him.”
Farnham-DeJesus was fouled and converted a layup with 57.8 seconds left in the quarter to give the Marauders a 45-43 edge heading into the fourth.
Southwestern sophomore Cooper Pannes tied the game at 45 before Sobilo and Trojans freshman Mitchell Pascarella traded the lead for their teams on back-to-back possessions. Dunkirk senior Tyrese Kristian-Johnson scored on a third opportunity for a 49-48 lead, but Card answered to give the Trojans the lead with 4:54 remaining.
“Southwestern is the third-place team in the league. They are a good, solid team,” Krenzer said. “They are going to give people fits all the way through.”
After Munir stretched the Southwestern lead to three, Velez answered with his only 3-pointer of the game to tie things up with 3:37 remaining. Sobilo then gave the Marauders the lead before Munir scored the Trojans’ final bucket with 2:54 left.
“We had a lot of turnovers, unforced turnovers and mental errors,” Emley said. ” … Some easy finishes at the rim that we need to clean up and get better.”
With Olean (17-1, 10-0) all but a shoe-in for the league title, both teams will play out the regular season in preparation for the Section VI Class B playoffs.
“The competition is very good,” Krenzer said. “It’s stacked with Lackawanna, CSAT, Medina, Newfane, Olean. There are some very talented B schools in there.”
The Trojans currently sit as the No. 6 seed in Class B2 while the Marauders would be the Class B1 No. 7 seed if the postseason started today.
“Any time teams start getting in the 60s I get a little worried,” Emley said. “If we can hold teams in the 50s we have a chance against anybody.”
NOTES: Pascarella had six steals and six assists while junior Mayson Mathews led the Trojans with seven rebounds. … Kristian-Johnson had 12 points and six steals while senior Felix Garcia had eight assists and three steals for the Marauders. … Dunkirk won the jayvee game, 59-51, led by Earl Stewart’s 23 points and Conrad Thomas’ 16. Aidan Kennedy led Southwestern with 15 while Dominic Certo had 14.