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Marauders fall to Olean

Dunkirk’s Donnie Lockett, left, looks to drive past an Olean defender during Tuesday’s CCAA Division 1 West boys basketball game at Dunkirk High School. OBSERVER Photo by Ron Szot.

The Dunkirk Marauders have had an up and down start to their season, now about half way in. On Tuesday night, they tipped off against the Olean Huskies trending more toward the downward direction.

Without their two captains, Davon Kubasik and Earl Stewart, the Marauders had to rely more on their younger guys to lead the cause. With an experienced team like Olean, this caused some problems for the newly initiated Marauders.

“We have a lot of young kids, and a couple older guys couldn’t go tonight,” said Dunkirk coach Luke Gullo. “It’s a great opportunity for the next wave of young athletes. Tonight it was sophomores and juniors who had to take us the whole way. Olean is really good. They’re very well coached and they play hard, you have to tip your hat to them. They did a fine job.”

The Huskies walked out of Dunkirk with an 82-28 victory over the Marauders, who missed their veteran presences of Stewart and Kubasik. The Huskies got off to a quick start, scoring the first eight points of the game, and being the ignition for the hot first quarter that the Huskies’ Daniel Klein had. Klein scored two of the eight points of the opening run, and had eight more points in the first quarter, giving him 10 at the end of the frame, which propelled the Huskies to their 27-6 first quarter lead.

The second quarter continued in favor of the Huskies, this time led by Covi and Zion James, who each had five points in the quarter, each burying a three pointer along the way. The Huskies trotted into halftime with a 44-9 lead, as Dunkirk only managed one basket and a free throw in the second quarter, with Dominic Corsi hitting the field goal, and Christian Ortiz splitting a trip a the line.

The Huskies continued to dominate into the third quarter, outscoring the Marauders once again 23-4. Covi James scored eight more points for the Huskies, while Jason Brooks had 10 in the quarter for the Huskies.

The Marauders were able to win the fourth quarter, 15-13, ending an otherwise bleak night on a higher note for Dunkirk. Jayshawn Couser scored five in the quarter, while Carlito Villafane was able to bury a couple threes to help salvage a little bit of the game for Dunkirk.

In a game that so heavily favors one side of the ball, Gullo has to look to take positives where he can, and he was able to find one that could be good for Dunkirk’s longterm success.

“I think we have spurts of giving kids the ability to raise game awareness,” Gullo said. “That’s what a game like this does, it gives kids a chance to see where their shortcomings are and try to overcome them. We’re a little immature, but that’s part of growing up. We face a lot of adversity, if the kids simplify to those things and fight through the pressure Olean put on, they’ll be good. Our young guys did a tremendous job facing that for the first time.”

The Marauders (4-8, 1-3) are next in action on the road against the Allegany-Limestone Gators on Friday, Jan 17, which will be another tough match up the Marauders will hope to learn from.

“That’ll be another big task, and we’re looking forward to it,” Gullo said. “They have a few different pressure options we have to go over. It’s going to be another learning experience, and we take every game as a learning experience.”

Olean was led by Brooks’ 17 points, while Covi James ended with 16, Kamdyn McClain added 12, and Daniel had 10. Villafane led the Marauders with six points, while Ortiz and Couser each had five.

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