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Brown’s wrath

Salamanca star scores 36 points to lead Warriors past ‘Billies 70-61

Salamanca’s Lucus Brown follows through on a 3-pointer as Fredonia’s Jay Hawk defense during Monday's game in Fredonia. OBSERVER Photo by Braden Carmen.

Monday night had a Section VI final feel to it as the Salamanca Warriors took on the Fredonia Hillbillies in a showdown of two of the top teams in one of the toughest leagues in Western New York.

After Fredonia fell behind by double digits in the first quarter, the Hillbillies had to fight to make it a game — and they did — but deadlocked at 46-all with 10 minutes remaining, the first-place Warriors showed exactly what kind of team they are.

Behind a spectacular 36-point performance from Lucus Brown, Salamanca came away with a 70-61 victory in a Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association Division 1 West game at Fredonia High School.

“We talk all the time that you don’t figure out who you are until you face adversity,” said Salamanca head coach Adam Bennett. “I’m so proud of them. When our backs were against the wall, that’s when we played our best. … It’s fun to coach them, that’s for sure.”

Fredonia (11-5, 4-2) scored the game’s first two buckets, but Salamanca (13-2, 6-0) quickly responded with an 8-0 run to claim the lead. From that point on, the Warriors never trailed.

Fredonia’s Jay Hawk puts up a shot over Salamanca’s Jaxson Ross during a Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association Division 1 West game on Monday in Fredonia. OBSERVER Photo by Ashleigh Brown

“They are a phenomenal team,” said Fredonia head coach Nick Bertrando. “These guys are the real deal. We already knew that, but it just solidified that. They are hungry. They want it. They are out there with a chip on their shoulder with something to prove, even though they have nothing to prove.”

In the first quarter, Brown scored 12 straight points for the Warriors. That was part of a 15-point opening quarter for the junior who already holds Salamanca’s all-time scoring record. Monday’s performance was just another example of Brown’s exceptional scoring ability.

“He’s an outstanding player. He’s a great kid, a great teammate — and we needed him tonight,” said Bennett. “He brought his game to a different level.”

The Warriors maintained a comfortable advantage until the very last moment of the first half, as Davi White hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to send the Hillbillies into halftime only down six points, 35-29. The shot capped a 9-0 Fredonia run to finish the second quarter.

“Especially on their home floor, we knew they would come out with a lot of intensity,” Bennett said. “Coach Bertrando is an outstanding coach. He had them well prepared.”

Salamanca’s Lucus Brown protects the ball from Fredonia’s Davion White. OBSERVER Photo by Ashleigh Brown

Over the first six minutes of the third quarter, Fredonia continued its run in front of an energized home crowd. Behind three 3-pointers in the third quarter by Mike Hahn, the Hillbillies completely erased the 15-point deficit and evened the score at 46-46.

“Their pressure really puts you in positions that turn you over. They really disrupt what you like to do on offense,” Bertrando said. “Once we finally settled ourselves down in the second half, we gave ourselves some opportunities to creep back in and we took advantage of it.”

Over the final 10 minutes, Salamanca was just too much for Fredonia to handle. The Warriors outscored Fredonia 7-0 over the final two minutes of the third quarter, then Brown and Maddox Isaac combined for all 17 Salamanca points in the fourth quarter to come away with the victory.

“It was almost a culmination of the entire game. They beat us up on the offensive glass. They got the 50-50 balls. … That was the last two minutes in a nutshell,” said Bertrando. “To have it kind of fall apart is frustrating and a little bit deflating. … It’s one of those games where it stings.”

Only four players scored for Salamanca on the night, but they all made an impact. Brown’s 36 points featured 15 in the first quarter, 4 in the second, 8 in the third, and 9 in the final quarter. Isaac had 12 points, with 8 in the fourth quarter. Andy Herrick had 14 points, while Jaxson Ross had 8 points.

“For (Brown) to go for 36 is a testament not only to him, but to his teammates,” said Bennett. “They found him in good spots, they set good screens. … We knew where to go with the ball tonight with the way he was playing. He was outstanding,” Bennett said.

Fredonia had six players score in the game, led by White’s 17 points, 15 of which came in the first half. Hahn had 15 points on five 3-pointers. Ethan Fry had 14 points, while Jay Hawk had 8 points.

Up next for Fredonia is a rivalry rematch with the Dunkirk Marauders on Thursday night at Dunkirk High School. Salamanca hosts Allegany-Limestone on Thursday in a matchup of teams with only two losses apiece on the season.

SALAMANCA (70)

Ross 2 2 8, Isaac 6 0 12, ABrown 0 0 0, Galante 0 0 0, LBrown 14 1 36, Holleran 0 0 0, AHerrick 6 2 14. Totals 28 5 70.

FREDONIA (61)

Hahn 5 0 15, Whitfield 2 0 4, Fry 6 0 14, Putney 1 0 3, Tabone 0 0 0, White 6 3 17, Hawk 4 0 8, Hall 0 0 0. Totals 24 3 61.

3-point goals–Ross 2, LBrown 7, Hahn 5, Fry 2, Putney, White 2.

Salamanca 22 13 18 17 — 70

Fredonia 12 17 17 15 — 61

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