Olean tops Marauders

In what was billed as one of the most important games of the year in CCAA West 1 high school boys basketball, Olean played like its record spoke — there is no team in the division close to the Huskies. Olean (16-1, 9-0) defeated the Dunkirk Marauders, 69-45, on Friday night at Dunkirk High School.

Dunkirk (11-6, 7-2) played close against Olean early, trading blows back and forth like the heavyweight battle the game was supposed to be. No team led by more than three points in the first quarter, which featured eight lead changes. Olean led 19-16 heading to the second quarter.

Olean started to pull away in the second quarter, extending the lead to as large as 14 points. The Huskies had smothering defense on the leading scorers of Dunkirk — Tyrese Kristan-Johnson and Devaun Farnham — which really limited Dunkirk offensively. Olean led 34-23 at halftime, with Farnham held to seven points and Kristan-Johnson with only six.

“They’re two very good players,” said Olean coach Jeff Anastasia. “We knew we had to contain them a little bit.”

Clearly frustrated, Dunkirk came out in the third quarter with buckets on its first three possessions. Farnham had the first two, with Kristan-Johnson adding the third. Dunkirk was within five points, and immediately, Anastasia called a timeout.

After the timeout, Olean went right back to the smothering defense it had in the first half, which sparked a 9-0 run for the Huskies. After the initial spark from Dunkirk, Olean finished out the quarter with a 21-6 advantage the rest of the way. With a 20 point lead heading to the fourth quarter, the suspense of the matchup was long gone.

Alex Weakfall came off the bench and scored a game-high 21 points for the Huskies, while Mike Schmidt had 15 points.

“Alex is a very good player,” said Anastasia. “He doesn’t start for us, but he could… he doesn’t let it bother him. He’s had a great season for us so far.”

Schmidt had 17 to lead Olean in the last matchup. That may have been on Dunkirk’s mind tonight.

“When Schmidt drives, it gives them open looks,” said Dunkirk coach Andrew Krenzer. “Somebody is gonna get them. He got ’em.”

The “big guns” for Dunkirk were certainly off their game on Friday. Farnham led the way for Dunkirk with 13 points, while Kristan-Johnson had 10. Andre Lockett added nine points.

“The final score may not reflect it, but we played better this time than we did last time against Olean,” said Krenzer. “Olean is just a very good team.”

The win puts Olean comfortably ahead of Dunkirk in the standings, with only a few games to play. Olean extends its streak of consecutive wins over Dunkirk to 16 games.

“This is the best defensive team I’ve seen Olean have in, probably, 15 years,” said Krenzer. “They are a very, very good defensive team.”

Dunkirk heads to Southwestern — Krenzer’s former team — on Tuesday in another CCAA West 1 matchup.

Twitter: @bradencarmen