The Jamestown Red Raiders reached their first set of goals Friday night.
Now, it's on to the second season.
Senior Tommy Campion scored 22 points, sophomore Zack Panebianco added 18 and the Red Raiders clinched their third straight Erie County Interscholastic Conference Division 1 regular-season title and the top seed in the upcoming Section 6 Class AA playoffs following a 70-43 victory over Orchard Park on Thursday night at McElrath Gymnasium.
Tommy Campion of Jamestown goes up for a layup over an Orchard Park player during Thursday night’s ECIC Division 1 game at the McElrath Gymnasiun. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J photo by Scott Kindberg
The win improved Jamestown's record to 16-2 overall and 11-1 in the division, capping a five-week stretch in which they've won nine straight games since a home loss to Williamsville North on Jan. 5.
''One of our main goals each season,'' Coach Ben Drake said, ''is to win the league championship. It was a great accomplishment this year after losing the first game against Williamsville North and running the table since then.''
Not surprisingly, it was Campion, playing in his last regular-season home game, and Panebianco, his backcourt sidekick, who led the way.
After a lackluster first quarter - the Red Raiders trailed, 15-9, with a minute remaining - Campion and Panebianco ignited a 23-2 run with seven points apiece to essentially put the game away by intermission. Together, the tandem shot 14-of-30 from the field, including five 3-pointers. Campion also had four assists and four steals.
''It seems like Tommy has been around forever and he actually has,'' Drake said. ''He started in fourth grade as a manager and he never missed a workout or an open gym. I'm so used to him being in the program and we're definitely going to miss him.''
Panebianco has apparently been taking mental notes.
''(Zack) seems to be gaining more confidence,'' Drake said. ''He's not hesitant to shoot open shots anymore and he knocks them down. He waits for his opportunity, doesn't force anything and that's why he shoots a good percentage.''
For the record, the Red Raiders have won 14 league championships in their history. Nine of them, including the last three in a row, have come since Drake took over the program at the start of the 1998-99 season. Now with their first set of goals realized, they look to the sectional playoffs, which will begin for them a week from tonight when they entertain a team to be determined.
''We're excited,'' Drake said. ''We need to take it one step at a time. We're looking forward to going back to Buffalo State (for the sectional final four) and competing for the sectional championship. It's our expectation and, hopefully, we can play ourselves back there again.''
For Campion, Jamestown's lone senior, a road trip to Buffalo State has become an expectation.
When he retired to the bench with 5:34 remaining and his team in front by 28 points, Campion received a nice ovation from the crowd, which included his friends in the student section. Several of his buddies, in fact, were holding poster-sized Campion photographs. The recognition was well-deserved, because Campion, who now has 1,078 career points, has placed himself among the school's all-time best players, which is a tribute to his hard work.
''He didn't just show up,'' Drake said. ''He showed up to get better.''
NOTES: Jamestown held a 40-15 rebounding edge and sophomore Branden Kellam led the way with 13. ... The Red Raiders also shot 26-of-59 from the floor compared to Orchard Park's 17-of-53. ... Jamestown's junior varsity finished the season with a 14-4 record after posting a 69-49 victory. Ben Larson led the way with 22 points, Zacc Kinsey had 14 and Derek Foe 13.
ORCHARD PARK (43)
Heath 0 2 2, AGoltz 5 0 12, Cimorelli 1 0 2, Atkinson 0 0 0, KGoltz 2 0 6, Eusanio 0 0 0, Hadzic 2 0 4, Murray 1 1 3, Shaffner 2 0 4, Biddle 2 1 5, Roman 1 1 5, JHeath 0 0 0, Totals 17 5 43.
Campion 7 6 22, Frank 0 0 0, Colwell 2 0 4, Park 1 0 2, Sisson 2 0 5, Panebianco 7 1 18, Hoaglund 3 0 8, Carlson 0 1 1, Kellam 1 0 2, Lee Yaw 3 2 8, Totals 26 10 70.
3-point goals-AGoltz 2, KGoltz 2, Campion 2, Sisson, Panebianco 3, Hoaglund 2.
Orchard Park 15 4 9 15 - 43
Jamestown 12 20 26 12 - 70
Jayvees: Jamestown 69, Orchard Park 49