Tell steals the show
Hot shooting sends Marauders past Eden
Coming off a heartbreaking 61-59 loss Wednesday night to the Salamanca Warriors, a young Dunkirk basketball team entered Thursday night hungry for a win.
In the early stages of the game, no one was hungrier than junior Marauder Amarion Tell.
The Marauders topped Eden, 77-52, at Dunkirk High School, and Tell stole the show right out of the gate. He hit the first shot of the night, a 3-pointer, and made a second one just moments later. From then on, Tell knew it was his time.
“I was feeling it,” Tell said. “I took the first shot and made it, and after the second shot I was like, ‘Yeah, this is going to be my game.'”
And Tell’s game it was.
He would hit two more 3s in the first quarter, ending the frame with 12 of Dunkirk’s 18 points, but his torrid shooting didn’t stop there.
Tell continued to display his range in the opening two minutes of the second quarter, burying three more uninterrupted 3-pointers, spearheading what was an 11-0 run for Dunkirk, a lead from which it never relinquished. Tell, who is in his third year on varsity, is a player Dunkirk coach Luke Gullo is fortunate to have.
“Amarion was the only young man of the group of freshmen who was brave enough to come to varsity for me two years ago,” Gullo said. “He’s been through some trials, and saw the lowest points of the program and now he’ll be here for the peaks. You couldn’t ask for a nicer young man, and a more respectful young man. We lean on him a lot.”
Tell ended up with 21 points on seven 3-pointers. He didn’t make a shot the rest of the game, and that wasn’t an accident. For the remainder of the time, Tell was blanketed as soon as he crossed half court. The problem for Eden then became everyone else.
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The Dunkirk defense held Eden to just eight points in the quarter and, led by a few baskets from Christian Ortiz and another 3-ball, this time from Nick Morisroe, the Marauders held a 36-21 halftime lead.
The scoring did not stop there. Carlito Villafane buried another trey at the start of the third and, later in the quarter, Jaden Rodriguez hit back to back triples. Although Tell stopped hitting them, the rest of the Marauders proved to be a nightmare for Eden coach Don Genco.
“We had to adjust to (Tell) and we did. He didn’t make another one the rest of the game,” Genco said. “But then other kids started knocking them down.”
Dunkirk ended the game with 13 3-pointers, connecting on two more in the fourth on the way to the victory. The barrage of from the arc is the direction the game of basketball is heading, according to Gullo, and he’s tried to make his team aware.
“It’s the way the high school game has evolved,” Gullo said. “It’s not predicated on so much motion as it is sharing the ball. Our kids are having fun and that’s the greatest thing. I preach to them that when we play like this, it’s fun.”
Tell led the Marauders with 21 points, four rebounds, four assists, and three steals, while Ortiz had 14 points and 18 rebounds. Tim Brown also had a double-double, scoring 11 points and adding 10 rebounds, while Villafane ended the game with 12 points with three 3-pointers, Rodriguez had 10 points, and Donnie Lockett had six rebounds. Ortiz, in particular is a player Gullo said they leaned more heavily on, and although he’s still learning how to play basketball, having an athlete of his caliber is always an asset.
“You can see why he’s a Division I athlete for football,” Gullo said. “He’s an absolute terror out there.”
Tell’s goal for this year and next is simple: He wants to represent the maroon and white to the best of his abilities.
“We’ve had some ups and downs the last few years. I’m trying to make Dunkirk proud,” Tell said.
The Raiders coming into the season only returned two players from last year, and they both put on a show in the loss. One of them, Hunter Stetz, was a force for them in the low post, ending the game with 22 points, while the other, CJ Sroda, had 18 points on five 3-pointers. Genco believed his team left some points on the court.
“You add in 12 missed layups we had, and if we made 10 of those, that’s 20 points,” Genco said. “You talk about it and do it in practice, but you have to do it in a game. But it’s still early and we’re getting there.”
Eden (0-4) will look for their first win of the season against Cleveland Hill on Saturday on its home court at 2 p.m., while the Marauders (2-3) look to get back to an even record against the team that’s been the gold standard in their league for the last decade — the Olean Huskies.
“They’re the most decorated team in our area for … over a decade,” Gullo said. “They’re good, they press a lot and they’ve been hanging with everybody. We’ll expect the best out of them.”
The Marauders take on the Huskies on Monday at 7:30 p.m. in Dunkirk.