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Fredonia Holds Off Frewsburg

Fredonia’s Nick Whitfield (22) throws down a dunk over Frewsburg’s Andrew LeBaron (31) in Sunday’s nonleague basketball game at Jamestown Community College. P-J photo by Matt Spielman

Early Sunday afternoon, Nick Whitfield announced where he intended to continue his athletic and academic career next fall.

Hours later, he made sure people knew that he still had a few months remaining with the Fredonia Hillbillies.

Whitfield scored 8 of his team-high 18 points in the fourth quarter, including three thunderous dunks, as Fredonia won the final game of the CCAA Showcase at Jamestown Community College’s Physical Education Complex 67-58 over Frewsburg.

“Rob (Collver) does a great job and has a really nice group over there,” Fredonia head coach Nick Bertrando said of the Bears. “I see them making some noise in Class C this year. To play on a Sunday in this type of venue, we’re hoping it pays dividends at the end of the year.”

Early in the afternoon, Whitfield posted on his Twitter account that he intended to sign with NCAA Division I FCS St. Francis University to play football for the Red Flash after graduation.

Fredonia’s Ethan Fry (12) puts a shot over Frewsburg’s Zack Carr (5) on Sunday at JCC. P-J photo by Matt Spielman

But he still has unfinished business on the basketball court, where the Hillbillies are the defending Section VI Class B2 champions.

Sunday’s game was tied at 37-all late in the third quarter, but Fredonia ended that period on a 7-2 run thanks to a pair of buckets from Whitfield and a 3-pointer by Ethan Fry to take a 44-39 lead into the final eight minutes.

“Not just Nick (Whitfield), but Nick Creeley and Jay Hawk and Davion White, and even Ethan Fry, we’re trying to be aggressive and put pressure on the defense,” Bertrando said. ” … We are looking for those opportunities, but it’s kind of 50-50 whether we are getting those right now.”

When Frewsburg senior Zach Winters picked up his fourth foul, Whitfield took aim at the rim.

“Zach’s foul trouble kind of pulled him off of being physical. He loves to play physical. When he’s playing physical and disrupting offensive players, that’s a big bonus for us,” said Collver, Frewsburg’s head coach. ” … His foul trouble made him a little hesitant and Whitfield took advantage of that.”

Frewsburg’s Connor Murray (23) goes for a layup during Sunday’s game against Fredonia at JCC. P-J photo by Matt Spielman

Whitfield cleaned up his own miss inside with a putback to give his team a seven-point lead to open the quarter. The Bears’ Zack Carr then hit a 3-pointer before Fry scored and Carr answered with a 2-pointer to make it 48-44.

Whitfield then put down his first of three dunks in the quarter to push the Hillbillies’ lead back to six. Later, another dunk made it 56-47, but Winters answered with a 3-pointer to make it 56-50 with 4:23 remaining.

Not to be outdone, Whitfield put down his final dunk of the night to make it 58-50.

“Our defensive rotation on the backside was too slow; we didn’t rotate over quick enough,” Collver said. “We were only down four at one point, we just couldn’t get back in it.”

Murray scored on a Whitfield goaltending violation to pull Frewsburg back within six, but the Bears came up empty on their next four trips and couldn’t close the gap. Fredonia then scored on its final four possessions to put the game away.

Fredonia's Nick Whitfield soars to the rim to throw down a dunk against Frewsburg on Sunday at JCC. P-J photo by Matt Spielman

“Our target is to get (Murray, Gavin Smith and Carr) in double digits and then Zach (Winters) will do whatever he does,” Collver said. “If he gives us 15, 20 or 25, then we’ll be successful. Our goal every game is for those three guards to kind of go off a little bit.”

Sophomore Mike Hahn started out hot for the Hillbillies with a trio of 3-pointers in the first five minutes as Fredonia led 12-4 midway through the first quarter. Frewsburg closed the gap to five after eight minutes.

“Mike is one of those guys who hasn’t seen a lot of time so far, but just with his consistent effort and attitude, and progression throughout the year,” Bertrando said, “we’re hoping to find him some more minutes to be able to put him in position to be successful.”

The Bears led at 28-26 late in the second quarter on a bucket from Murray, but Nick Whitfield and Keegan Whitfield scored back-to-back buckets to give the Hillbillies a 30-28 halftime lead.

The third quarter featured six lead changes and a pair of ties until Fredonia took its five-point lead into the fourth quarter and hung on down the stretch.

“That’s the issue when you press. Are you getting more buckets, more steals than you are giving up layups?,” Collver said. “When you press, you are going to give up a few layups or 3s. Are you on the plus side of that number? If you are not, your press isn’t really effective.”

NOTES: Nick Whitfield had a team-high eight rebounds and four blocked shots to go along with his 18 points while Fry had 17 points and four assists. … Murray had a team-high 20 points; Gavin Smith had 15 points, five assists and three steals; and Winters had 10 points and eight rebounds for the Bears. … Fredonia shot 28 of 54 (51.9%) from the field, including 6 of 18 (33.3%) from 3-point range, and turned the ball over 18 times. … Frewsburg shot 24 of 60 (40.0%) from the field, including 4 of 15 (26.7%) from 3-point range, and turned the ball over 11 times.

FREWSBURG (58)

Wiltsie 0 0 0, Brink 0 0 0, Carr 2 0 5, Smith 5 4 15, Spencer 0 0 0, Murray 9 1 20, Sears 2 0 4, LeBaron 2 0 4, Bragg 0 0 0, Winters 4 1 10. Totals 24 6 58.

FREDONIA (67)

Hahn 3 0 9, Tabone 0 0 0, Field 0 0 0, KWhitfield 1 0 2, Fry 6 2 17, Quinn 0 0 0, Creeley 3 0 6, NWhitfield 8 2 18, Schrader 1 1 3, Hawk 2 0 4, White 4 0 8. Totals 28 5 67.

3-point goals–Carr, Smith, Murray, Winters, Hahn 3, Fry 3.

Frewsburg 9 19 11 19 — 58

Fredonia 14 16 14 23 — 67

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