Chautauqua Lake downs Westfield on court, 69-54
MAYVILLE — Despite trailing 11-1 midway through the first quarter of Thursday night’s nonleague game against Westfield, Mike Putney had a sense of calm about him.
Despite his team playing just its fourth game of the season, the Chautauqua Lake head coach had a feeling his Thunderbirds would be just fine.
Although it trailed at the end of each of the first three quarters, Chautauqua Lake outscored the Wolverines, 26-9, over the final eight minutes to pull away for a 69-54 victory.
“I’ve coached for a while now,” Putney said. “This is probably the first year that I’ve been pretty calm during something like that, just because I knew that we’d come around.”
Junior Nate Adams led the Thunderbirds with 27 points to go along with four steals as the hosts received scoring from nine different players.
“We used a lot of guys and I felt like all of the guys that came in contributed to the success of this win,” Putney added.
Westfield took a 45-43 lead at the end of the third quarter as junior Nate Culbreth hit a jumper in the lane as time expired, but Chautauqua Lake took control from there.
Senior co-captain Bryan Anderson rebounded a missed 3-pointer and scored to tie the game at the start of the fourth quarter and after senior captain Evan Hauser gave the lead back to the Wolverines, Anderson converted a three-point play to give the Thunderbirds a lead they would never relinquish.
“On any given night, everybody has to be able to step up,” Putney said. “Bryan Anderson has been doing a phenomenal job for us. It’s all the little things that you don’t always see. … Those things are huge for our team.”
In the final eight minutes, Westfield turned the ball over eight times and shot just 4 for 11 from the field.
At the same time, Chautauqua Lake scored on 12 of 18 possessions and turned it over just once.
“I was very disappointed with the way we played in the fourth quarter,” Westfield coach Bob North said. “They came out and played man-to-man. We’ve run our man offense multiple times … but we got rattled and took bad shots.”
As the Thunderbirds ran out the clock, all that was left was for senior Andrew Kuhn to score his first career basket, which he did on a baseline jumper with under a minute remaining.
“He’d been the manager for years. He tried out every year, and this is the first year that he worked his butt off to get on this team. There was an opening and he earned it,” Putney said of Kuhn. ” … All the guys are super-excited for him. He works at that shot and I didn’t expect anything less of him.”
Hauser led the Wolverines with 21 points while junior Ryan Jafarjian added 14 and junior Andrew Baribeau chipped in 12.
“They had a 5-foot-10 kid guarding our 6-5 kid and we didn’t get him the ball,” North said of Baribeau’s output. “Until you execute against man, you won’t beat good teams. That disappointed me.”
Westfield led 11-1 after junior Dylan Scriven made a free throw just over midway through the first quarter. The Thunderbirds struggled to get their offense going to the tune of 0-for-14 shooting and just five made free throws through a 16-5 first quarter.
Senior co-captain Kyler Majka converted a three-point play midway through the second quarter for Chautauqua Lake’s first made field goal, and the hosts eventually clawed back to a three-point deficit at 20-17 after seven straight points from Adams.
“It should’ve been more,” North said. “We got that nice lead and then I think we were at 20 for about six-and-a-half minutes in that second quarter. We just couldn’t put the ball in the basket.”
Adams, junior Zach Martin and senior co-captain Alex Gleason eventually hit back-to-back-to-back 3-pointers that gave the Thunderbirds a 28-27 lead with 1:15 remaining in the first half, but Hauser hit a corner 3-pointer with 5 seconds left that gave the Wolverines the lead heading into the locker room.
“When you get somebody down and get a little lead, you want to build on that,” North said. “We didn’t.”
Hauser then gave Westfield a 41-37 lead with 2:40 left in the third quarter, but another Gleason 3-pointer and a three-point play from Adams helped the Thunderbirds tie the game before Culbreth’s buzzer-beater.
“We looked young, but we’re not,” North said. “I have four juniors who all played varsity basketball last year. It looked like their first varsity game today come crunch time. That I’m disappointed in.”