Fredonia gets handled on the court in Panama, 61-36
PANAMA — One hundred wins as a rule isn’t a major accomplishment for a high school basketball coach.
But when that centennial victory comes in the first game of a coach’s sixth season on the bench, the milestone becomes a little more special.
Panama’s Jeff Angeletti reached the mark Thursday evening in the Panthers’ season-opening 61-36 nonleague win over Fredonia.
Since taking over the varsity program at the start of the 2014-15 season, Angeletti’s rather fast ride to 100 wins has included several highlights that take even the most veteran coaches decades to reach – if they do at all.
“I attribute it to the kids, the community, the dedication and the passion,” Angeletti said postgame. ” … This community has been there the whole way. You’ve seen it at states and regionals. This community, no matter what sport, they are going to support these kids.”
The 2014-15 team led by senior Brittany Lenart went 19-5 before losing to Heuvelton in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class D state semifinals.
Lenart surpassed 1,000 career points that season – becoming the first Panama girl to reach the milestone – and was the Panthers’ all-time leading scorer when all was said and done.
“I was jayvee coach for five years prior to that and I knew we were building something special,” Angeletti said. … The stars aligned perfectly. … It was just one dream after another.”
The 2015-16 squad went 21-5, making it one step further than the previous year before losing to Heuvelton in the state final. Senior guard Emilee Sperry and Taylor Bowen led that team.
“They made a lot of 3s,” Angeletti said of Bowen and Sperry. “Each year we’ve kind of had a different style. Now we are kind of a post presence, then we were a perimeter presence.”
Another 20-win season followed in 2016-17 as the Nicole Johnson-led Panthers again lost to Heuvelton in the state final.
“Nicole, the patented right-hand hook. … She probably took about 20 charges that year,” Angeletti recalled about the third state final team. ” … She needs to be a coach. She’ll be an excellent coach.”
The 2017-18 team led by senior guard Lauren Barmore went 20-2 before losing to Franklinville in the Section VI Class D final, and last year the Panthers went 19-2 before again losing to Franklinville in the sectional final.
All told, Panama is now 100-20, including three Section VI titles and three Far West Regional crowns in Angeletti’s five-plus seasons on the bench.
The 47-year-old Angeletti doesn’t remember his first varsity game on the bench – for the record it was a 73-15 win over Forestville during which Madalyn Bowen scored 17 points, Lenart had 14, Sperry had 12 and Taylor Bowen had 11 – but said his most memorable win was the 2017 Class D title game. Panama tied that game late in regulation before outscoring Franklinville 20-9 in overtime to advance to its third straight Far West Regional and eventually third straight state Final Four.
“We ran an overload, a high-low play. We were looking to dump it to Nat and everyone double-teamed on her. Nicole’s girl even came over, so we gave Abi a fake pass and finished with a layup to tie the game. … We went to overtime and won it,” Angeletti said. ” … That’s probably the one that stands out.”
Thursday night’s tilt was over by halftime as Panama built a 31-11 lead.
Despite getting a late start to the season due to the Panthers volleyball team playing in the state Final Four Nov. 23-24, seniors Kylie Schnars and Natalie Angeletti were up to their old tricks.
Schnars finished with a game-high 24 points to go along with nine rebounds, four steals and two blocked shots while Angeletti had 18 points, 15 rebounds, four steals, four blocked shots and three assists.
“She can knock down a shot so you have to get out on her,” Coach Angeletti said of Schnars. “Kylie has a natural knack to find the opening in the zone.”
Senior Kazlin Beers led Fredonia with 14 points and nine steals while senior Nagely Vazquez added 11 points and 10 rebounds.
“They ran the floor well,” Fredonia head coach Dan Vona said of the Panthers. “We need to get a little better at running the floor and conditioning.”
The Hillbillies played their best basketball in the final quarter, scoring or getting to the free throw line in each of their final eight possessions.
“In the last two minutes, we were in a deficit and we closed it a little bit by freeing ourselves and just playing basketball,” Vona said. ” … We have the ingredients. … They are good plays. When they run them … they work.”
But by then it was too late to keep the Panthers from getting Angeletti’s 100th win and this year’s team’s first victory of the season.
“We did what we needed to do,” Angeletti said.
NOTES: Freshman Mandy Brink had 11 points and five steals for the Panthers. … Panama shot 22 of 57 (38.6 percent) from the floor, including 7 of 17 (41.1 percent) from 3-point range, while Fredonia shot 14 of 54 (25.9 percent) from the floor, including 1 of 3 (33.3 percent) from 3-point range. … Panama won the jayvee game 35-15 as Kylie Morgan scored 13 points.
Beers 4 5 14, Tabone 1 1 3, Vazquez 5 1 11, Buchanan 3 0 6, Gullo 0 0 0, Marsh 1 0 2, Matos 0 0 0. Totals 14 7 36.
Brink 4 1 11, Lyon 1 0 3, Angeletti 7 2 18, Bailey 0 0 0, Watson 0 1 1, Morton 0 0 0, Lisciandro 0 0 0, Schnars 9 4 24, Harvey 1 2 4. Totals 22 10 61.
3-point goals-Beers, Brink 2, Lyon, Angeletti 2, Schnars 2.
Fredonia 7 4 12 13 – 36
Panama 17 14 20 10 – 61
Jayvees: Panama won 35-15.