High school hoops could see statement games this week

OBSERVER File Photo Dunkirk’s Tyrese Kristan-Johnson (12) defends during a high school basketball game earlier this season. Kristan-Johnson and the Marauders have a key game Tuesday at Southwestern.

As the regular season nears its end in high school basketball, teams need to be playing at the highest level of the season in order to make a postseason run. This week, many local teams have a shot at statement games in their leagues to head into the final week.


Dunkirk at Southwestern,

Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

After its second CCAA West 1 loss of the year, both to Olean, the Marauders are looking for a bounce-back victory before the season comes to a close. What better way to do it than against coach Andrew Krenzer’s former squad, the Southwestern Trojans.

The last time these two teams faced off, Dunkirk (11-6, 8-2) came away with one of its most impressive victories of the season, a 61-38 final. Both Devaun Farnham and Tyrese Kristan-Johnson had 22 points in the Dunkirk win. The Marauders need big games from both players once again, especially coming off less than stellar performances against Olean. Interestingly enough, the last matchup also took place coming off a Dunkirk loss to Olean. Dunkirk used its win over Southwestern as the first of five consecutive wins before falling to Olean on Friday. The Marauders are hoping for the same sequence of events this time around.

Southwestern (12-4, 6-3) had a similar sequence as well, however. The Trojans bounced back from the loss to Dunkirk and won five in a row of its own, before a loss to those same Olean Huskies. Both the Trojans and the Marauders have similar seasons and similar overall records. This time around, expect a much closer game.

Olean at

Chautauqua Lake,

Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Another important CCAA West 1 contest this week takes place in Mayville on Friday night, as the Chautauqua Lake Thunderbirds host the league-leading Olean Huskies. Though the league could be all wrapped up in Olean’s favor before tip-off, this game is all about what happens moving forward into the postseason.

When the two teams met last time in Olean, the Huskies handled Chautauqua Lake easily, to the tune of an 89-55 defeat of the Thunderbirds. The loss was the largest margin of defeat all season for Chautauqua Lake. Devin Pope, the leading scorer in all of Section VI, was held to a season-low 13 points, while Huskies guard Mike Schmidt had 23 points and 15 assists. It’s not often that Pope is not the best player on the court, but last time out, Schmidt and the smothering Huskies defense had the upper hand. Look to see how Pope responds this time around.

One approach Thunderbirds coach Mike Putney could take is to focus on the other scorers getting more involved this time. Pope is not only a great scorer, he is also one of the top assist leaders in Section VI. After a 20 point game against Fredonia on Friday, Kyler Majka could have a big impact this time around, as well.

Regardless of the result, expect Chautauqua Lake to put up much more of a fight this time around on its home court.


Olean at Dunkirk, Wednesday, 7:30 pm.

The Dunkirk girls host Olean in a rematch of last week’s 59-55 win by the Marauders on the road. This time, not only is it a home game for Dunkirk, it’s the final home game of the season.

For Dunkirk to come away with the win on Senior Night, the Marauders need to keep the recent offensive production up. Kymi Nance and the rest of the talented sophomore class of Dunkirk need to seize the moment on Wednesday to have any chance at a favorable postseason matchup.

This Olean team is not like many of the past. This team is vulnerable. Dunkirk and Fredonia have both won in Olean this season. With the recent emergence of Nadara Odell, along with Amari Carter and Jessica Beehler, the Dunkirk sophomores may steal the show on Senior Night.



Boys swimming championships in classes A, B, and C all take place this weekend. Class B begins on Friday, while A and C are Saturday. Also on Saturday, wrestling state qualifiers will be decided.