Night To Remember

High School Seniors Square Off At SUNY Fredonia’s Dods Hall

Westfield’s Haleigh Dellow drives to the basket as Jamestown’s Mickia Freeney defends during the Chautauqua County Exceptional Senior All-Star Game on Wednesday at Dods Hall at Fredonia State. P-J photo by Christian Storms

There’s not many better ways to spend your birthday than doing something you love, and that’s exactly what Sherman senior Paige Gratto did.

On Wednesday, Gratto laced it up one last time on the hardwood in the Chautauqua County Exceptional Senior All-Star Basketball Game at Dods Hall at Fredonia State University for the Black team. She did not disappoint on her special day either, she scored a team-high 12 points in a 77-54 win over White to earn the Most Valuable Player award.

“It was super cool,” Gratto said about playing the game on her birthday. “These are all my friends around the school. It was fun celebrating this and playing the sport I love on my birthday.”

Both teams were slow to start, but then Black’s chemistry off the court began to show up on the scoreboard.

With players from close communities like Clymer, Sherman and Panama, and Westfield and Chautauqua Lake, it did not take long for lone Cassadaga Valley senior Kylie Horton and Falconer senior Dani Krenzer to get familiar with their new teammates. Seven different players scored for Black in the opening quarter with great ball movement from the group.

Jamestown's Mickia Freeney attempts to dribble through Cassadaga Valley’s Kylie Horton, left, and Sherman’s Paige Gratto. P-J photo by Christian Storms

“The chemistry is definitely there,” Gratto said about Team Black. “We all play outside of sports, we travel together. It was all there and it was very fun.”

After one quarter, Black led White 18-7,and then in the second quarter the lead ballooned to 26. Sherman’s Hayden Fisher and Chautauqua Lake’s Natalie Gilkinson scored 6 points in the second as Fisher hit two triples and Gilkinson attacked the glass.

Team White struggled to get anything going in the first half with just three players getting a bucket. Jamestown’s Mickia Freeney scored 7 of her game-high 19 points in the first half and both Dunkirk’s Siera Jacques and Anadallane Rodriguez Otero hit a pair of baskets.

With a commanding 42-16 halftime lead, Black decided to forgo the break and played a game of knockout. It was only fitting that the last player standing in the game of knockout was also the last player standing among Chautauqua County schools in the postseason, Panama’s Mandy Brink.

Brink last played in the NYSPHSAA Class D semifinals in Troy last Saturday, coming up short against eventual state champion Hammond. But her and teammate Lilly Odell were back on the court Wednesday for one last game together securing the win.

Clymer’s Aurora Ordines looks to drive past Maple Grove’s Courtney Martin, middle, and Forestville’s Gracie Johnson. P-J photo by Christian Storms

Team White kept battling in the fourth quarter, led by Jamestown’s Freeney and Kylie O’Brien. The Red Raiders duo finished as the team’s top scorers with Freeney scoring 19 and O’Brien ending with 12, all of which were scored in the second half.


With their female counterparts finishing strong in their game, the Jamestown boys were the top three scorers in Team Black’s 84-78 victory over Team White.

“It felt good to come back out,” MVP Jamestown’s Darius Freeney stated. “This is the first sport I actually fell in love with and it just feels good to play my final game at the All-Star game and win MVP.”

Freeney scored 15 points, Trey Drake matched Freeney with 15 of his own and Sean Paige added 12. On top of their ability to put the ball in the basket, the trio showed off their passing ability with some slick trick passes to one another.

Maple Grove's Erin Mansfield puts up a shot in front of Panama's Lilly Odell. P-J photo by Christian Storms

“Hooking my friends up, hooking my teammates up with passes,” Freeney added. “Just making sure everyone’s getting the ball and having a good time.”

All but three players from Team Black got in on the scoring, with Frewsburg’s Zack Carr following up the Jamestown trio with 11 points.

Team White was led by its big man, Chautauqua Lake’s Lawson Ormsby, who scored a game-high 23 points. Ormsby scored several hard-fought baskets right under the rim and stepped out to drill one triple.

Also hitting double-digits for Team White were Fredonia’s Ethan Fry and Westfield’s Chris Rotunda with 13 each. Fry and Team Black’s Carr led the evening with three 3-pointers each.

The boys game was back and forth until the fourth quarter when Drake and Paige scored 6 and 8 points respectively to secure the victory.

Jamestown's Sean Paige blocks a shot by Fredonia's Ethan Fry. P-J photo by Christian Storms


BLACK (77)

Brink 3 1 7, Schauman 0 0 0, Krenzer 5 1 12, Ordines 0 0 0, Dellow 2 1 6, Gratto 4 3 12, White 2 0 5, Mortimer 2 0 5, Horton 0 0 0, Swan 1 0 2, Fisher 3 0 9, Gilkinson 4 0 8, Odell 3 1 10. Totals 29 7 77.

WHITE (54)

Martin 2 1 6, Freeney 8 0 19, Becker 1 0 2, Salerno 0 1 1, Kenner 0 0 0, Pacheco 1 0 2, O’Brien 6 0 12, Johnson 0 0 0, Mansfield 0 2 2, Otero 2 0 4, Jacques 2 1 5, Collver 0 0 0. Totals 22 5 54.

Chautauqua Lake’s Lawson Ormsby moves between Clymer’s Blake Kopta, left, and Austin White. P-J photo by Christian Storms

3-point goals–Krenzer, Dellow, Gratto, Mortimer, Fisher 3, Odell 3, Martin, Freeney 3.

Black 18 24 22 13 — 77

White 7 9 8 30 — 54


BLACK (84)

Smith 2 0 4, McPherson 3 0 8, Roth 1 0 2, Paige 4 3 12, Swabik 0 0 0, Bower 2 0 4, Freeney 5 5 15, Drake 7 0 15, Carr 4 0 11, White 1 0 2, Michael 1 0 2, Murray 0 0 0, Kopta 1 0 2, Rames 0 0 0, Hayes 2 3 7, LeBaron 0 0 0. Totals 33 11 84.

WHITE (78)

Thomas 4 0 9, Lewis 3 1 8, Smith 1 0 2, Villafranca 1 0 3, Fry 5 0 13, Vigue 0 0 0, Bogdanowicz 0 0 0, Jamison 1 0 2, Oakes 1 0 2, Ormsby 11 0 23, Tabone 0 1 1, Hemphill 0 0 0, Hawk 1 0 2, Rotunda 6 0 13. Totals 28 2 78.

3-point goals–McPherson 2, Drake, Carr 3, Thomas, Lewis, Villafranca, Fry 3, Ormsby, Rotunda.

Black 23 18 20 23 — 84

White 20 20 20 18 — 78

Jamestown’s Darius Freeney, right, and Sherman’s Brayden Hayes surround Forestville’s Garrison Hemphill. P-J photo by Christian Storms

Westfield’s Chris Rotunda pulls up for a jumper in front of Clymer’s Dylan Michael. P-J photo by Christian Storms

Jamestown’s Sean Paige lays in a basket for Team Black. P-J photo by Christian Storms


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