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Olean upends Dunkirk, 55-37, in Division 1 West

Photo By Ron Szot Dunkirk’s Donavan Lockett (1) attempts to block a layup by Olean’s Dominik Henzel during Monday’s Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association Division 1 West basketball game at Dunkirk High School.

There are perks to having a young team, but there are also negatives. On Monday night, the Dunkirk Marauders experienced more of the negatives.

Though they led after the first quarter, the youthful Marauders were outdone by the gold standard of Section VI, the Olean Huskies, falling, 55-37, in a Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association Division 1 West basketball game.

The Marauders got off to a hot shooting start, leading 14-13 after the first frame, with Amarion Tell burying two 3-pointers, then Donnie Lockett hit a trey at the start of the second to go up 17-13. But the Huskies’ experience locked Dunkirk down for the remainder of the game.

“The value of these games for us is putting our kids who have never been in a pressure basketball game in these games as juniors and seniors,” said Dunkirk coach Luke Gullo. “The Olean kids have seen them as freshmen and sophomores and they’ve had a lot of success.”

Following Lockett’s trey, the Huskies ripped off 12 consecutive points and 15 of the last 17 points in the second quarter to storm out to a 28-19 halftime lead after holding the Marauders to just five points in the second. On the defensive end, the Marauders were able to hold their own, but continued to make unforced turnovers to give Olean more shot attempts, allowing the visitors to take that big lead.

Photo by Ron Szot Dunkirk’s Christian Ortiz, left, and an Olean player battle for possession of the ball during Monday night’s game at Dunkirk High School.

“We gave up 55, which is good for us, but we only scored 37. The more experienced team won tonight and we respect them greatly,” Gullo said. “In the long run, we played five juniors tonight and that experience will pay off for them.”

The trend continued into the third quarter. Olean scored the first 14 points of the third to really take a lead on Dunkirk, which continued making errant passes or losing the ball. Part of the problem for Dunkirk, outside of the turnovers, was the hot shooting went cold. After hitting those two threes in the first, Tell headed to the bench after picking up his second early foul and was never able to regain his stroke. That, combined with defensive adjustments from Olean, also played a part in stifling the Marauder offense.

“I think Olean was a little caught off guard early and they adjusted,” Gullo said. “Our guards had a hard time finding our shots after that.”

The Marauders are also playing shorthanded, losing a player who would have been a key piece of their offense in the game against Southwestern in junior Marcel Carter. Though Carter leaves a big hole in the guard spot, Gullo expects his kids to step up in his place.

“We miss Marcel Carter a lot. He was the straw that was going to stir this drink,” Gullo said. “But it’s an opportunity for other kids to battle. We’re taking this whole season as an opportunity to build for the future.”

Dunkirk regathered its footing a little bit, as it scored five straight points to end the third quarter, and the first six points of the fourth, cutting the lead to 47-32, but Olean’s senior standout, Jason Brooks, scored five points in a row to bury any comeback hopes Dunkirk had. The Marauders were able to hold Brooks to 19 points, but committed too many turnovers to match the effort on defense.

Despite the showing from the Marauder offense, Gullo thinks his team is continuing to improve and grow in every game it plays.

“We can’t have those lapses in offensive prowess, but we’re doing the right things,” Gullo said. “Christian Ortiz was the second highest rebounder in Chautauqua County coming into tonight and Tim Brown was ninth before tonight. The growth of the kids is what we’re all about. Now we gear up for a great game against Fredonia on Friday.”

Brooks scored a game-high 19 points, while Zion James and Kamdyn McClain each had 8. For the Marauders, Ortiz led the way with 12 points and nine rebounds, while Tim Brown had 9 points and 10 rebounds. Donnie Lockett added 6 points, eight rebounds and three assists.

The Marauders (2-4) look to rebound during rivalry week, against the Fredonia Hillbillies on Friday night in Fredonia at 7:30 p.m., while the Huskies (3-3) look to win their fourth in a row at Pioneer High School at 7:30 tonight.

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