Westfield erases double digit deficit to beat Brocton, 61-48
WESTFIELD — It appeared as if the Westfield Wolverines would trail by double digits headed into halftime of Tuesday’s rivalry matchup with the Brocton Bulldogs.
Evan Hauser had other plans.
After Hauser’s buzzer-beater from half-court, the Wolverines trimmed the Brocton lead to only seven at the break, then ran away with the second half en route to a 61-48 win to open up the league schedule for both teams in CCAA Division 2 West boys basketball action at Westfield Academy.
“We needed something, because we were not doing anything well in the first half,” said Westfield coach Bob North.
Westfield (3-2, 1-0) found itself locked into a tight game with Brocton (2-1, 0-1) after a first quarter that featured a tied score six times in the opening frame. The score remained tied, 15-15 after the first quarter.
“We knew it was going to be a big test,” said Brocton coach Collin Mulcahy.
Brocton took control of the second quarter, as the Bulldogs began the period on a 14-2 run to take a 29-17 lead with 2:20 remaining in the first half.
“Our defense was definitely leading to our offense,” said Mulcahy. “We take pride in our defense. We were getting stops, and that was leading to our transition game, and we were knocking down shots.”
The next two minutes were even, as the final seconds of the half ticked down. That’s when Hauser pulled up from half-court and drilled a 3-pointer to electrify the packed Westfield gym.
“Evan is a great player. He’s going to score regardless of what quarter it is,” said Mulcahy. “We knew we had to come out with the momentum on our side in the second half, and we came out a little flat. (Westfield) took the momentum in the third quarter and we had a hard time stopping (Hauser).”
Once the second half began, it was all Westfield. Another 3-pointer from Hauser, followed by an and-one layup from Hauser and a 3-pointer from Nathan Culbreth put the Wolverines within one point of Brocton, just over two minutes into the second half.
“In the second half, we talked about matching their intensity, and we did that,” said North. “I feel like we’re a pretty talented team, but we can’t come out and not match the other team’s intensity.”
Westfield finally took the lead with two minutes remaining in the third quarter, on a 3-pointer by — you guessed it, Evan Hauser. He wasn’t done yet, however, as Hauser drilled one final 3-pointer as time expired in the third quarter. The Wolverines led 48-41 after three quarters and did not give up the lead for the rest of the way.
“Our guys did a much better job in the second half, coming out and playing hard,” said North.
“Down the stretch, things didn’t go our way,” said Mulcahy. “But I couldn’t be more proud of these guys.”
Hauser finished with 22 points to lead all scorers. He also added six rebounds and two blocks.
“When Evan (Hauser) makes shots, that opens up everything for everyone else,” said North. “He’s been struggling a little bit from the outside lately, but he made almost everything he looked at (Tuesday).”
Mike Johnson was second on Westfield with nine points. Dylan Scriven added eight points and six rebounds, while Culbreth had six points and six rebounds. Westfield had 33 rebounds as a team.
Ronald “Bubba” Brown led Brocton with 15 points. Caleb Chelton was next on the team with eight points, all in the first three quarters.
Despite the loss, for a team that only won two games a year ago, Brocton proved that, at times, the Bulldogs are capable of playing with anyone in their league.
“Give (Brocton) a ton of credit. Collin (Mulcahy) has them playing well,” said North. “They totally outhustled us and outplayed us in the first half.”
“We looked like what we were capable of,” said Mulcahy. “I think we surprised ourselves and we surprised a lot of people tonight with how well we played. … we played with confidence tonight and we could play with just about anybody from Chautauqua County.”
Westfield is at Clymer next, on Friday. Brocton hosts Falconer on Thursday. Both games are league contests.
“Our league is going to be better than some people think. If you give away a home game, you’re in trouble,” said North. “We kind of escaped with one here, because, like I said, they came out and played really well in the first half. We need to put two halves together against everybody.”