Cassadaga Valley Rallies Past Short-Handed Silver Creek
SILVER CREEK — Cassadaga Valley could not have asked for much better of a result than they got in its final road game of the regular season Monday night.
Behind four clutch free throws in the final 30 seconds from Owen Meyers and Austin Main, the Cougars got out of Silver Creek with a 49-46 victory over the short-handed Black Knights in Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association Division 1 East boys basketball action at Silver Creek High School.
“It’s a huge win for us,” said Cassadaga Valley head coach Greg Frank. “That’s a huge win for our program. I’m really excited about that.”
After a five-point advantage at halftime, 25-20, Cassadaga Valley (6-13, 2-9) took its five-point lead into the final period. The two teams played an even 14-14 third quarter.
“They played real hard, real scrappy,” Frank said. “They played good defense and we were struggling to keep the ball moving.”
Silver Creek (10-6, 5-4) fell behind by as many as 10 points in the second half, but the Black Knights gave themselves a chance to come back in the final minute. With a five-point deficit with under a minute left, Aidan Jamison connected on a 3-pointer with 47.2 seconds remaining to cut the Cassadaga Valley lead down to 45-43.
“The only thing you can ask for is to give yourselves an opportunity, and we did,” said Silver Creek head coach Ralph Jackson.
Then it was up to the Cougars to extend the lead from the free-throw line, as Meyers was fouled in the post with 29.5 seconds left. He calmly hit both free throws to extend the lead to two possessions, 47-43.
But Silver Creek wouldn’t give up, as Jamison eluded a defender and knocked down a straightaway 3-pointer with 11.3 seconds remaining. Jamison’s eighth 3-pointer of the contest put the Black Knights within a point at 47-46.
“He hit a bunch of great shots, some really tough shots,” Frank said of Jamison’s performance.
The Cougars drew another quick foul and sent Main to the charity stripe with a one-point lead. Just as Meyers did before him, Main stoically drilled both shots to put Cassadaga Valley ahead by three points yet again, 49-46.
“That’s huge, a huge part of the game,” said Frank.
With only 10 seconds left and in need of a 3-pointer to even the score, Silver Creek rushed up the court without a timeout. The ball came free in the corner of the floor on the opposite side of the benches, as Jamison and multiple Cougars battled for possession. The referees blew the whistle and called for the possession arrow to decide the play, and Cassadaga Valley was awarded the ball with only one second left to play.
The Cougars successfully inbounded the ball down the middle of the court and the final horn sounded for one of the biggest wins of the year for Cassadaga Valley.
“I’m just so proud of how they just hung in there. They don’t play a lot of close games, and they made good decisions for the most part down the stretch,” Frank said of his team. “I was really proud of them.”
On the losing side, the Black Knights lost more than just the game Monday night, as senior guard Matt Woleben went down with a foot injury in the second quarter. Woleben appeared to have stepped on the foot of another player as he drove to the basket. He left the game and did not return.
Coming into Monday night, Woleben had 1,000 career points well within reach, with five-regular season games left to play including Monday. His older brother, Brady, reached 1,000 career points at Silver Creek in January of 2019, before continuing his basketball career at Fredonia State. Now after Monday’s injury, the milestone is left in question for the younger Woleben brother. He left the gym in a wheelchair, though he remained in good spirits and was joking with teammates on his way out.
Jamison led all scorers on Monday with 24 points, all coming on eight made 3-pointers. No other player scored more than 6 points for the Black Knights.
Cassadaga Valley was led by Owen Meyers with 12 points, including 4 for 4 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter. Ace Pierce added 11 points, nine of which came in the first half. Kole Hawkins had 8 points, including two 3-pointers in the third quarter.
For the Black Knights moving forward, a team that came into the season with two of the top five returning scorers in Section VI is now without both of them with four games remaining in the regular season. Junior forward Ray Cortes also remains out with a lower body injury.
“We just need people to step up when someone is out. We’ve been dealing with that pretty much all season,” Jackson said.
Up next, the Black Knights travel to Falconer on Thursday, possibly without Woleben and Cortes.
“It’s tough, obviously. A lot of stuff goes through them,” said Jackson. “Hopefully we get at least one of them back soon. We’ll wait and see.”
Cassadaga Valley concludes its regular season on Thursday at home against Portville.
CASSADAGA VALLEY (49)
Pierce 4 0 11, Hawkins 2 2 8, Johnson 2 0 5, Main 3 3 9, Edson 2 0 4, Meyers 4 4 12, Cleland 0 0 0. Totals 17 9 49.
SILVER CREEK (46)
Parsell 2 0 4, Steinwachs 2 1 6, Farley 0 1 1, White 3 0 6, Jamison 8 0 24, Fiegl 1 0 2, Woleben 1 1 3, Kelly 0 0 0. Totals 17 3 46.
3-point goals–Pierce 3, Hawkins 2, Johnson, Steinwachs, Jamison 8.
Cassadaga Valley 16 9 14 10 — 49
Silver Creek 6 14 14 12 — 46