Eagles’ Defense Stymies Randolph
RANDOLPH — Coach Dave McCann’s Ellicottville boys basketball team was in the zone Friday night.
And, as a result, the Eagles left Randolph Central School with a 48-40 victory in a nonleague game.
“It’s a good feeling to come in and steal one, really,” McCann said.
Sparked by a lock-down defense, Ellicottville limited the Cardinals to just 14 field goals and forced 19 turnovers, helping improve its record to 3-0.
“These kids have won a lot of games all the way up through,” McCann said. “Four guys have been with me for three years now, so they have been waiting for this year and the expectations have been high. Tonight we really wanted to prove we have something here.”
Senior Leif Jimerson led a balanced scoring attack with 15 points, senior Clayton Rowland added 11 and junior Logan Grinols chipped in 9, but it was their defensive effort that was the true eye-opener.
“Our defensive effort was outstanding,” McCann said. “I thought, even when we’re not at our best offensively, if we can defend like that we’re going to be in a lot of games.”
Jaiden Huntington paced Randolph (4-1) with 24 points, but nobody else had more than 6.
“We just couldn’t buy a bucket,” Cardinals coach Kevin Hind said.
Huntington got the hosts off to a promising start, scoring their first 10 points on their way to a 13-12 lead after one. But a 10-3 run to start the second half helped the Eagles lead, 24-20, at intermission and they never trailed in the second half. In fact, in the fourth quarter, Ellicottville held Randolph without a field goal for the first 5¢ minutes, built the lead to nine and converted enough free throws down the stretch to close out the victory.
“I think for the last two years, that’s kind of been our best attribute as a team,” McCann said of the Eagles’ defense. “Those guys fly around in that zone. It’s kind of been our bread and butter the last two years. We don’t have a lot of size, but we have a lot of speed and good athletes and they work hard on the defensive end.”
“They put five good athletes on the floor, and their pressure hurt us, no question,” he said.
For the game, the Cardinals shot only 14 of 41.
“It’s not the end of the world,” Hind said. “You go back in, tell them we have to get back to practice (because) we have three more weeks. There’s no time to sulk about it. It’s time to get better.”
Ellicottville didn’t shoot the ball especially well either (unofficially 17 of 45 from the field), but McCann’s defensive strategy stood up nicely against the Cardinals, who were coming off a three-game stretch in which they’d averaged 70 points per game.
“We got off to a hot start … and there was a little bit of false security,” Hind said. “I learned a lot about personnel and different things looking at the game. Now, you just go back to the drawing board and try and get better.”
Ellicottville returns to action Monday when it entertains Cattaraugus-Little Valley. Randolph, meanwhile, hosts Chautauqua Lake the same day.
Marsh 0 4 4, Jimerson 6 1 15, Dekay 1 0 2, Dietrich 1 0 2, Rowland 4 2 11, Chudy 2 1 5, Grinols 3 0 9, Palmatier 0 0 0. Totals 17 8 48.
Bushey 2 1 6, IHind 0 0 0, DHind 2 0 6, Nelson 0 1 1, DeBuque 0 0 0, Shields 0 0 0, Conley 1 0 3, Huntington 9 1 24. Totals 14 3 40.
3-point goals–Jimerson 2, Rowland, Grinols 3, Bushey, DHind 2, Conley, Huntington 5.
Ellicottville 12 12 15 9 — 48
Randolph 13 7 14 6 — 40