Anderson leads Thunderbirds to 57-52 win over Sherman
Winter Classic is underway
WESTFIELD — Friday night in the first of two varsity boys basketball contests in the annual Westfield Winter Classic tournament at Westfield Academy was more than just the first game of the year for the Sherman Wildcats and the second of the year for the Chautauqua Lake Thunderbirds.
Chautauqua Lake ended up with a 57-52 victory and a spot in Saturday night’s tournament title game, but it was even more of a fight than that score indicated.
Chautauqua Lake took a 24-16 lead over Sherman into the second half after Michael Anderson drilled a Hail Mary 3-pointer falling away from the basket was drilled at the buzzer.
“He hit a great shot,” said Sherman coach Cory Emory. “Some may call it lucky, but I say it’s a great shot.”
It was an immediate answer to a chase down block by Sherman that sent the Wildcats bench into a frenzy.
The way the first half ended, each side walked off the court with bad blood, as both sides clapped back at each other and shouted in the other’s direction.
Down eight, Sherman (0-1) came out ready for a battle in the second half. The Wildcats started with five straight points by Justiss Hannold to cut the deficit to just three, but Anderson answered with a 3-pointer to double the lead to six. Sherman’s Paul Majchrzak had a pair of and-one layups in the final minute of the third quarter to bring the score within a point, but after missing the free throw on the second layup, the ball found its way back to Majchrzak for another layup to take the lead, 34-33. That was the score heading into the fourth quarter.
“I liked our hustle, I liked our work, and I liked our attitude,” said Emory. “We played a great third quarter. We were hitting our shots.”
Chautauqua Lake (1-1) came out in the fourth quarter the same way Sherman did in the third. The Thunderbirds immediately reclaimed the lead on an 8-0 run over the first 84 seconds, capped off by another one of Anderson’s five 3-pointers on the night. From then on, Chautauqua Lake led the rest of the way. The lead was at it’s largest on the night at 52-42 Chautauqua Lake with 2:10 left, but Sherman cut the deficit to just three points in the final 20 seconds of play. Chautauqua Lake finished the game off with a pair of free throws.
“We managed to shoot the ball really well tonight,” said Chautauqua Lake coach Alex Reyda. “The pieces are starting to come together a little bit.”
Anderson led all scorers with 19 points, while Noah Adams had 17 points of his own.
“The other night, it was (Luke) Waters who led us. Tonight it was Anderson. … It’s tough to key on us when we’ve got a couple going,” said Reyda.
Sherman’s John Swabik led the Wildcats with 15 points, while Hannold had 10.
“We had open looks, we just didn’t knock them down,” said Emory, whose team didn’t practice much together prior to this week because of the success of the CSP Wolfpack football team. “It’s just the early season. That happens whether your football team goes deep into the season or not.”
Look for coverage of Saturday’s tournament games in Monday’s OBSERVER or online at observertoday.com.