Stars Come Out
Jamestown’s Inside Game Takes Over In Defeat Of Fredonia
When Zack Panebianco ruled the court at McElrath Gymnasium from 2011-15, he did so primarily from the perimeter, a guard who finished his career with 1,332 points and a school-record 178 3-pointers.
But Panebianco, who had his No. 11 jersey retired in a pregame ceremony, had to be impressed with how the 2017-18 Red Raiders went about their work closer to the basket Saturday night.
Forwards Marcus Rojas, Kameron Grant and Shaheem Freeney combined for 42 points (on 19-of-32 shooting from the floor) and 22 rebounds to lead Jamestown to a 70-50 victory over Fredonia in the nightcap of the United Way Showcase.
The win, the Red Raiders’ second of the season against the Hillbillies, raised their record to 7-2. Fredonia fell to 1-8.
Jamestown exerted its dominance early, racing to a 19-2 lead in the first six minutes behind a outstanding performance in the paint. Rojas (21 points, 9 rebounds), who was named the Red Raiders’ Most Valuable Player, scored the first three field goals from close range, followed by a bucket by Freeney (10 points, 9 rebounds), three layups by Elijah Rojas and a pair of drives by Grant (11 points, 4 rebounds).
Armed with a 21-8 lead after the first quarter, Jamestown was never really threatened the rest of the game.
“We sat and watched the film today and the first game we played them was very similar,” Hillbillies coach Greg Lauer said. “We got down 19-6 and then we lost by seven at our place. All it was was Rojas on the glass or the high-low with Freeney. It was the exact same thing (last night) to start the game.”
Team MVP Nate Shuart and Parker Rivera scored 18 and 15 points, respectively, for Fredonia, but the Hillbillies didn’t have an answer on the low block.
“I was happy with the way we started the game,” Red Raiders’ coach Ben Drake said. “Our No. 1 key for tonight was to get the ball inside. That was an advantage for us when we played up there last month. We knew we had a height advantage inside and we tried to take advantage of that.”
Amazingly, Jamestown didn’t make a perimeter field goal until Marcus Rojas’ foul-line jumper with 3:42 left in the second quarter. In fact, the hosts had only three field goals from the perimeter– two were 3-pointers by Matt Hill — in the first half, which ended with the Red Raiders owning a 42-26 lead.
Fredonia didn’t get closer than 15 points in the second half.
“I keep telling the guys we’ve been in every single game,” Lauer said. “We just played three tough league opponents on the road. Now we get them at home in the second half. We’ve got to forget about what the record is and keep pushing and you have to peak at the end of the season, and that’s what we’re going to try and push for.”
Meanwhile, the Red Raiders will take to the road on Tuesday where they’ll meet West Seneca West, which is 10-0 and, like Jamestown, unbeaten in Division 1 of the Erie County Interscholastic Conference.
“Tuesday will be a great test for us to see where we’re at,” Drake said. “They have the most talented team in the league … and they haven’t had lot of close games, to be honest. I like the way we’re playing right now. We’re going to have to go up there and play to our strengths and execute well.”
NOTES: Panebianco is the fifth player in school history to have his jersey retired, joining Donn Johnston, Terry Chili, Justin Johnson and Maceo Wofford in that select fraternity. A two-time Post-Journal Player of the Year and the Western New York Player of the Year as a senior, Panebianco is the only Red Raider to be named all-state three times (seventh team as a sophomore, fourth team as a junior, and second team as a senior). He is currently a junior on the SUNY Geneseo basketball team.
Field 0 0 0, Kowalski 0 0 0, Myers 1 0 2, Nicosia 0 0 0, Piper 1 1 3, Plaister 0 0 0, Putney 0 0 0, Rivera 4 4 15, Shuart 6 6 18, Swartz 1 0 2, Tarnowski 3 1 7, Tinstman 0 0 0, Levens 1 1 3. Totals 17 13 50.
Hill 3 0 9, Holt 1 0 3, ERojas 3 1 7, Garland 0 0 0, Grant 5 1 11, Faulkner 1 0 2, Malarkey 0 0 0, Crofoot 0 2 2, MRojas 9 2 21, Butts 2 0 5, Freeney 5 0 10. Totals 29 6 70.
3-point goals–Rivera 3, Hill 3, Holt, MRojas, Butts.
Fredonia 8 18 9 15 — 50
Jamestown 21 21 13 15 — 70