Cream Of The Crop
Jamestown Secures At Least A Share Of ECIC 1 Title
Jamestown took care of business Friday night.
It just took Coach Ben Drake’s crew a while to put away stubborn Clarence.
Elijah Rojas scored 22 points and Demarri Jones added 19 to lead the Red Raiders to a 57-50 Erie County Interscholastic Conference Division 1 victory at McElrath Gymnasium.
The win raised Jamestown’s record to13-6 overall and 9-2 in the league, heading into Monday afternoon’s regular-season finale at home against Orchard Park.
Should the Red Raiders prevail over the Quakers (13-5, 7-3), they’ll secure the league title outright and a No. 2 seed in the upcoming Section VI Class AA playoffs.
“This win tonight at least solidified a share of the league championship,” Drake said. “That’s always a goal coming into (the season) is to win the league, and it feels good to call ourselves league champs.
“Now we just need to come back with a good effort Monday. Orchard Park is a good team.”
Clarence showed it wasn’t bad either, even if its record — 7-12 overall and 2-9 in the division — doesn’t indicate it. All told, the Red Devils connected on nine 3-point goals and closed to within two midway through the fourth quarter, but Jamestown limited the visitors to one field goal the rest of the way to secure the win.
“To Clarence’s credit, it seemed like every time we had a breakdown, they made a shot,” Drake said. “They passed the ball really well and they’re a good shooting team. They’ve had a tough year, but they’ve been in every game. I give them credit. They played well.”
In the end, the Red Raiders were just enough better down the stretch.
After Cole Harris’ floater in the lane trimmed Jamestown’s lead to 50-48 with 4:02 left in the game, Rojas connected on a pair of free throws and scored on a drive to the basket after teammate Jordan Crofoot forced a turnover. Armed with a 54-48 advantage with a little more than a minute remaining, the Red Devils never got closer than four points the rest of the way.
It was only fitting that Crofoot found himself in the middle of the hustle plays down the stretch as he and senior teammates Tyler Swegles and Evan Anderson were honored in a pregame ceremony.
“Swegles hit a couple of big shots for us,” Drake said, “and Jordan is our best communicator on defense. … Those last two minutes he was a hustler. You need guys like that to win.”
Now it’s on to Monday afternoon and a rematch with Orchard Park, which Jamestown knocked off, 56-54, earlier this week on Trey Drake’s putback in the closing seconds. The Quakers will close out their regular season next Wednesday against Lancaster.
“We were ready to play up there,” Drake said. “We were very emotional and we played with aggression. We’re going to need to do that again on Monday. We can’t have any letdowns. They’re obviously playing for a lot, so it should be a good battle. We’re two pretty evenly matched teams.”
NOTES: Rojas had one of his best games of the season. In addition to his 22 points, he grabbed six rebounds to go along with three assists and two steals. … He and Jones combined to shoot 17 of 26 from the floor. … Jones also grabbed a team-high eight rebounds. … Swegles was 2 of 4 from the arc. … Harris had 14 points to lead Clarence. … Jamestown, which led by as many as 14 points midway through the third quarter, held a 31-19 edge on the boards and shot 23 of 49 from the field compared to 19 of 51 for Clarence. … In the junior varsity game, Clarence downed Jamestown, 56-40. Thakari Warren led the Red Raiders (12-6) with 8 points. … Monday’s varsity game against Orchard Park will start about 1:30 p.m. following the jayvee game, which is scheduled for a noon tip. … Former Jamestown High School star Jaysean Paige was in the stands and received a nice ovation from the crowd when his name was announced before the game. A point guard for the Maine Red Claws, Paige was back in town during the NBA G League all-star break.
Harris 6 0 14, Ianello 2 1 7, Hand 3 0 7, Raymond 1 0 3, White 1 2 4, Brooks 3 0 6, Chenevert 3 0 9. Totals 19 3 50.
Rojas 9 4 22, Anderson 0 0 0, Crofoot 0 1 1, Swegles 2 0 6, Jones 8 3 19, Drake 2 0 5, Butera 1 0 2, Farmer 1 0 2. Totals 23 8 57.
3-point goals–Harris 2, Ianello 2, Hand, Raymond, Chenevert 3, Swegles 2, Drake.
Clarence 11 10 18 11 — 50
Jamestown 12 16 18 11 — 57
Jayvees: Clarence 56, Jamestown 40.