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JHS Returns To Semifinals

Red & Green Rally In 2nd Half To Beat Clarence

Jamestown’s Greg Brumagin attempts to get by a Clarence defender on his way to the basket during Friday’s Section VI Class AA1 quarterfinal boys basketball game at McElrath Gymnasium. P-J photo by Scott Kindberg

Greg Brumagin hasn’t made a lot of headlines during his four-year varsity career, but he’s a player who Jamestown basketball coach Billy Miley couldn’t do without.

Friday night was a perfect example of why.

For the record, the senior guard scored 10 points — he was 2-for-4 from the arc and 4-for-4 from the foul line — grabbed three rebounds, dished out an assist and had one huge steal as the top-seeded Red & Green (17-4) rallied for a 61-54 victory over No. 8 Clarence in a Section VI Class AA1 quarterfinal on Friday night at McElrath Gymnasium.

The win sets up a semifinal matchup at 8 p.m. Monday at the Buffalo State Sports Arena against No. 4 Orchard Park (17-4), a 71-53 winner over No. 5 Hutch Tech.

Jamestown may not have been making yet another trip to its postseason “home away from home,” however, without Brumagin’s hustle play in the closing minutes.

Jamestown’s Elijah Farmer (0) challenges a shot from Clarence’s Ryan Ameis during Friday’s Section VI Class AA1 quarterfinal boys basketball game at McElrath Gymnasium in Jamestown. P-J photo by Scott Kindberg

Leading 56-52 with the ball, the Red & Green, who were in the midst of a 14-5 run, had a turnover near the Red Devils’ basket and Clarence appeared poised to have a fast-break opportunity that could have resulted in an easy basket that would have cut Jamestown’s lead to two points.

Brumagin had other ideas.

“This playoff stretch is probably the last time I’ll get to play in real games,” said Brumagin, who plans to attend SUNY Fredonia in the fall to run track, “so every play matters.”

Trailing the play, he caught the Clarence ball-handler from behind, knocked the ball away and the Red & Green took possession. Ten seconds later, senior Bishop Butts hit one of two free throws to push Jamestown’s lead to 57-52 at the 1:10 mark, and then sophomore Dominic Gonzalez and senior Jaydian Johnson both connected twice from the charity stripe in the final minute to preserve the lead and the win.

“(Brumagin’s) effort is just nonstop,” Miley said. “Kids nowadays want to score, score, score, and he can certainly shoot the ball, but he does so many other things. We put him on the other team’s best guard a lot of the time and I don’t know if I can think of a time in the last five years that he wasn’t giving his maximum effort.”

Miley also received significant contributions from others.

Johnson led Jamestown with 24 points, seven rebounds and five assists; and sophomore Elijah Farmer contributed 15 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two steals.

As it turned out, Miley needed all those crooked numbers, because Clarence coach Doug Radka had the Red Devils ready right out of the gate.

In fact, until the Red & Green’s second-half rally — they trailed by as many as eight points early in the third quarter — Radka’s crew was feeling downright comfortable at “The Mac.” By halftime, Clarence led 36-34, courtesy of a blistering 67% shooting from the field (14 of 21).

“The last couple games they’ve really shot the ball well, but on top of that we weren’t communicating as best we could, and that’s a bad combination to have,” Miley said.

Only the strong play of Johnson (13 points, all in the first quarter), Farmer (11 points) and Brumagin (8 points) kept Jamestown close heading into the break.

The Red Devils’ 6-0 run to start the second half, pushed their lead to 42-34, but the Red & Green finished the third quarter on a 9-5 run — 5 points by Johnson and two apiece by Farmer and Brumagin — to stay within striking distance.

After that, the final eight minutes belonged exclusively to Jamestown, which began the period with 12 unanswered points to take a 55-49 lead. Greg Erbacher broke the Clarence drought with a 3-pointer at the 2:27 mark to trim the Red & Green’s lead to 55-52. But a Gonzalez free throw pushed the margin to 56-52 with 2:09 remaining and Brumagin made the huge steal a half minute later.

Now it’s on to Buffalo State and the sectional semifinals for the 23rd time in the last 26 seasons.

“I was a little bit worried (early),” Brumagin said, “but it’s a great feeling to win.”

NOTES: Erbacher led Clarence with 19 points, Sean Gilmartin had 11 and Ryan Ameis contributed 10, but the Red Devils shot just 27% (6 of 22) in the second half. … Jamestown’s only two Erie County Interscholastic Conference Division 1 losses this season were to Orchard Park, but the Red & Green still won the league title, because the Quakers suffered a surprising upset loss to Williamsville North in their regular-season finale.

CLARENCE (54)

Gilmartin 3 5 11, McCarthy 0 0 0, Brinkerhoff 1 0 2, GErbacher 7 1 19, Ameis 4 1 10, BErbacher 1 0 3, Tubin 4 1 9. Totals 20 8 54.

JAMESTOWN (61)

Farmer 6 0 15, Gonzalez 2 3 7, Brumagin 2 4 10, Sanchez 0 0 0, Carlson 0 2 2, Butts 1 1 3, Johnson 7 7 24. Totals 18 17 61.

3-point goals — GErbacher 4, Ameis, BErbacher, Farmer 3, Brumagin 2, Johnson 3.

Clarence 18 18 11 7 — 54

Jamestown 18 16 9 18 — 61

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