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Heartbreaker in Fredonia

Salamanca hits last-second 3 to down Hillbillies

OBSERVER Photo by Anthony Dolce Members of the Fredonia Hillbillies huddle up prior to the second half against Salamanca on Tuesday at Fredonia High School.

Salamanca freshman Lucus Brown was a thorn in the side of the Fredonia Hillbillies for their whole game on Tuesday night.

As the clock struck zero, the thorn turned into a dagger.

Brown drained a deep 3-pointer after pump-faking two Fredonia defenders to snatch a 61-60 victory for the Warriors at Fredonia High School.

With 9 seconds left on the clock, Brown received the inbound from under his own basket and raced the length of the court. Despite the Hillbillies having three fouls to give, they let Brown go up the court without contact. Fredonia coach Nick Bertrando instructed his team to foul, but the opportunity didn’t come up.

“We said in the huddle we were going to foul prior to that,” Bertrando said. “We did not and you see the end result.”

The 3 capped off an excellent performance for Brown, who scored 25 points and confounded the Fredonia defense all game, with the help of senior big man Jarod White.

“Hats off to Salamanca,” Bertrando said. “Lucus Brown is legit, Jarod White is legit, he’s a force inside on both ends. It was a great game, we didn’t come out on the end we’d like to but we have a lot of season left.”

Brown and the Warriors got off to a quick start against Fredonia, scoring the first six points of the game Fredonia was able to close the gap a touch, but Salamanca ended the quarter on a 10-2 run to storm out to a 18-9 lead at the end of the first, as Fredonia’s first quarter woes continue.

“It’s been like this all year,” Bertrando said. “It’s not like we don’t have the firepower, it’s not like we don’t have the capability to put the ball in the basket. We have gotten off in just about every game to just atrocious starts. Luckily we keep playing with fire and keep coming back but we have a lot of games to figure it out hopefully.”

The second quarter was played at an even pace, as Fredonia was able to inch a bit closer. Although White and Brown continued to find holes in the Fredonia defense, Fredonia found their stroke from beyond the arch, hitting four 3s in the quarter, two of which came from Tyler Putney. After only scoring 7 points against Dunkirk on Friday night, Putney put up 10 in the second quarter alone.

“It’s never the focus to get one player the ball,” Bertrando said. “We look for opportunities to get mismatches with him, and like anything else, depending on how those looks came out, if he wasn’t open we would get the ball to the other guys.”

After going into the half trailing 34-29, the Hillbillies started off the third quarter red hot, scoring the first seven points of the quarter, and taking their first lead of the game, 36-34. The Fredonia lead got to as much as three before Salamanca took control back, ending the third quarter on a 12-4 run, with six of those points coming from Brown and four coming from White.

In a game that ended up being a war, the fourth quarter was the biggest battle. Salamanca was able to extend its lead up to seven in the early stages and led 56-50 as the quarter wound down, but thanks to some strong defense, Fredonia scored eight points in a flurry, regaining the lead 58-56 with under two minutes to go. The big play of the run came from Fredonia’s Dominic Gullo, who had a big steal and a layup to tie the game with 2:05 remaining. Prior to Brown’s dagger, Gullo looked like he’d be the hero for Fredonia

With 19 seconds left and Fredonia up 59-58, Salamanca took the ball back with a chance to take the lead, but Gullo forced another big steal and got the ball to Michael Berg in transition. Berg was fouled and hit one free throw to give Fredonia the two-point lead before Brown’s game-winning 3.

Brown led the way for the Warriors with 25 points while White scored 16 in the victory. Fredonia was led by Tyler Putney’s 20 points, with Berg adding 17, while Troy Lemiszko and Ethan Fry each scored 9.

Fredonia (6-3) is next in action against the Olean Huskies at Olean High School on Friday at 7:30 p.m. while Salamanca (4-4) will battle the Allegany-Limestone Gators in Salamanca on the same day.

SALAMANCA (61)

Hoag 2 0 4, McKenna 2 0 4, Pond 3 0 6, Hedlund 0 0 0, Maybee 3 0 6, Brown 10 1 25, Herick 0 0 0, White 8 0 16. Totals 28 1 61.

FREDONIA (60)

DGullo 2 0 5, Putney 7 3 20, Berg 7 1 17, Frazier 0 0 0, Lemiszko 3 3 9, Fry 2 4 9, Schrader 0 0 0. Totals 21 11 60.

3-point goals–Brown 4, DGullo, Putney 3, Berg 2, Fry.

Salamanca 18 16 14 13 — 61

Fredonia 9 20 14 17 — 60

Jayvees: Fredonia won, 53-46.

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