By GIB SNYDER III
OBSERVER Sports Reporter
ROCHESTER - Some coaches know when to let their star players take over a game.
OBSERVER?Photos by Gib Snyder III
Members of the Silver Creek Black?Knights celebrate after defeating Mynderse, 53-47, Saturday in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association’s Class C boys basketball Far West Regional game at the Blue Cross Arena.
Silver Creek’s Kaine Kettle scores on a layup.
Silver Creek's Rob Genco is no different.
After a slow start to Saturday's New York State Public High School Athletic Association's Class C boys basketball Far West Regional, the Black Knights' Zeddie Williams got going in the second half, as he helped Silver Creek (23-0) to a 53-47 win over Section V's Mynderse (18-6).
"It's three games in a row where he's got that look in his eye and you just kind of let him do what he does," Genco said of Williams. "If it starts to get sloppy, sometimes I'll pull back on the reins and we'll get back into our sets."
The Blue Devils contained Williams in the first half, holding him to just four points, but they were unable to keep the pressure on in the third and fourth quarters, as the senior standout scored 12 of his game-high 16 points to help the Black Knights reach the state's Final Four.
"When he gets that look in his eye, I'm not going to be the one who tries to slow him down or contain him," Genco said. "I'll let the other team try and contain him."
After a back-and-forth first half which saw the Blue Devils take a 25-24 lead into the break, the Black Knights' offense got going in the third quarter.
After a basket by Mynderse's Brandon Passalacqua put the Blue Devils up three, 27-24, Brennan White connected on a game-tying 3-pointer. Passalacqua answered right back with a trey of his own to put the Blue Devils up 30-27. From there, however, it was all Black Knights, as they closed the third quarter on a 14-2 run, highlighted by a buzzer-beating layup by Williams, that put Silver Creek up 41-32 as the teams headed into the final quarter.
"It was awesome," Genco said of Williams' buzzer beater. "It was just sheer work and effort on our part to get (the ball) down the court and get that quick bucket."
The fourth quarter began with the Black Knights extending their run to 18-2 and a 45-32 lead, but the Blue Devils weren't done as they put together a 10-4 run of their own to pull within 49-45 with 3:17 left in regulation.
"We couldn't pressure them," Genco said. "Their guards were that good. I think we underestimated the quickness of (Jimmy Ricci, Jason Anderson and Brandon Passalacqua). I think we kind of came in thinking they wouldn't be able to handle defensively what we wanted to do, and they did. They slowed the ball down on both ends."
Over the final three minutes, the teams traded buckets, with Mynderse getting as close as 50-47, but Silver Creek was able to get a basket from Billy Brooks and a free throw from Steven Marcey to salt the game away.
"They started getting back a little bit quicker and (Ruddy) was just hustling down the court to stop the break," Genco said. "We just exchanged punches the rest of the game."
The Blue Devils controlled the pace of the game early, holding the Black Knights to just nine first-quarter points. Mynderse was helped by six points from Connor Miller as it took a 13-9 lead into the second quarter.
"Coming in, we said we were going to leave (Miller) open and let him win the game for them," Genco said. "We thought everybody else on the team could hit shots."
Silver Creek was able to get into a better offensive flow in the second quarter as it outscored Mynderse, 15-12, as Marcey led the way with five of his 12 points on the afternoon.
"(Mynderse) has played four games here," Genco noted. "It's a big stage and it's a big arena and there was a little (problem with) depth perception with the baskets. I thought right away we were just a little too wound up and then we relaxed."
A big help Saturday was the Black Knights' ability to contain Blue Devil big men Miller and Ruddy, who came in averaging nearly 26 points combined. The duo scored just 23 points on the day - 13 for Miller and 10 for Ruddy.
"With Billy (Brooks) there, it's different," Genco said. "He makes it hard for anybody, but they had more size than us. And we knew that coming in. And that's what scared me. That's what kept me up at night, was that we didn't have that other big guy."
Now, the Black Knights will work to get ready to face Section 9's Pine Plains, a 44-39 winner over Section 11's Stony Brook Saturday. The Bombers are the state's top-ranked Class C team while the Black Knights will enter the game ranked second.
"I told these guys, 'Let me do the work and you just show up focused,'" Genco said. "We're not going to do anything different. We're just going to keep doing what we're doing and each team will have a different game plan."
One thing the Black Knights will have to improve upon is their shooting percentage from the field, as they were just 19-of-53 Saturday. And Genco has an idea of who he'll be looking to to improve that statistic.
"I need Kaine to pop off," Genco said. "I need Kaine to start hitting shots again. When he's hitting, everybody's hitting. He's hit a big one here and there - he did it against Middle Early College. Once Kaine gets going again, we'll be hard to beat the rest of the way."
NOTES: Williams added nine rebounds and four steals to go with his 16 points ... Brooks finished with 13 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks ... Marcey chipped in five rebounds to go with his 12 points and Kettle hauled down 10 rebounds ... Passalacqua had a team-high 15 points for the Blue Devils ... Miller led Mynderse with 12 rebounds while Ruddy finished with eight rebounds.