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Knights struggle in fourth quarter, lose to Ellicottville 54-42

SILVER CREEK — The Ellicottville Eagles played a solid fourth quarter on their way to a 54-42 victory over the Silver Creek Black Knights on Tuesday night, in the season opener for both teams.

“We had issues executing tonight,” Silver Creek coach Ralph Jackson stated. “We did not take advantage of some of the opportunities that we had and we gave up some easy looks defensively.”

It was a slow start for both teams in the first quarter. Silver Creek was up 8-5 with two three point shots from Sam Braidich, but Ellicottville was able to finish the quarter by beating Silver Creek’s press to go up by two.

The Eagles started off the second quarter with two quick baskets. Silver Creek showed its resiliency to make an 8-0 run halfway through the quarter as their defense was quick to get into the passing lanes. The Black Knights finished the half strong to go up 23-21 at halftime.

To start the second half, Andre Rosario hit a three to put the Black Knights up five. Shortly afterwards, Ellicottville responded with six points in as many seconds. Logan Grinols hit a three point shot and had a steal from the throw in and drained another three point shot. The Eagles would use that momentum to go up 33-27 before the Black Knights came back with a run as they effectively ran through their offense, finishing strong at the rim with its forwards.

“We brought out our press and that helps to spark the kids,” Ellicottville coach Dave McCann stated. “We had a lot of energy that carried over from our defense and that helped to carry us through into the fourth quarter.”

With the Black Knights up by a point entering the fourth quarter, Ellicottville turned up its game to another level, hustling around and paying attention to detail. The Eagles applied pressure on the Black Knights, which allowed them to move out quickly into transition and force turnovers to take a 42-40 lead. Solid ball movement and great discipline helped the Eagles to effectively run its offense to secure the victory as Harrison Newark capped off the scoring as he finished with two buckets inside.

“When we needed to step up, we made some foolish mistakes,” Jackson stated. “We settled for outside shots instead of attacking the rim, especially when they had foul issues late.”

Sam Braidich led the Black Knights with 19 points, including three 3-point shots. Spencer Harford chipped in with 10 rebounds while Dominic Jamison added eight points.

“Sam played a solid game offensively,” Jackson added. “He had a lot of good looks and hit his shot, but we need to spread the ball around more.”

Clayton Rowland played the game of his life, finishing with 15 points, 20 rebounds and six steals.

“Clayton plays as he does all the time, as he always gives it his all,” McCann stated. “This was the best game that I have seen him play in the three years.” Logan Grinols led the team with 20 points while Leif Jimerson finished with 11 points.

Both teams play again on Friday, as Ellicottville visits Gowanda while Silver Creek plays Westfield.

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