Salamanca’s Defense Stymies Fredonia; Herrick Shines

Salamanca’s Jacob Herrick (1) is about to score in close during Saturday’s Section VI Class B1 quarterfinal game against Fredonia at Salamanca High School. P-J photo by Scott Kindberg

SALAMANCA — On a wall in the Salamanca High School gym hangs a framed jersey once worn by Andy Herrick (Class of 2023), who is recognized as one of the finest players in the history of the boys basketball program.

Judging by his ear-to-ear smile on Saturday afternoon, however, it’s a good bet that the Warriors’ alum, now a freshman at Hilbert College, was prouder of the young man wearing uniform No. 1 on this year’s roster than any personal accolade ever could.

Who was that, you ask?

Little brother, Jacob.

Averaging less than 4 points per game, the 5-foot-8 junior guard scored 11, including two huge buckets early in the fourth quarter.

Fredonia’s Davion White shoots over Salamanca’s Lucus Brown during Saturday’s Section VI Class B1 quarterfinal basketball game at Salamanca High School. P-J photo by Scott Kindberg

He also played strong defense from start to finish to help send No. 1 Salamanca to a 53-36 victory over No. 8 Fredonia in a much-anticipated Section VI Class B1 quarterfinal before a packed house.

The win sends the Warriors (16-5) into the semifinals at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Buffalo State against No. 4 Akron (18-3), which knocked off No. 5 East Aurora 57-48 to advance. The Hillbillies, meanwhile, end their season 15-7.

“We knew how big a challenge it was going to be and how good of a team (Fredonia is),” said Salamanca coach Adam Bennett, who split the two regular-season meetings. “They really took it to us at their place (the Hillbillies won 77-61 on Feb. 9). … Give credit to our guys. They want to play the best teams. They really embraced the challenge. … I’m just so proud of our team defense and our ability to rebound, and the way we defended was championship level. We’re going to have to do that if we want to continue to move on.”

Joining Herrick in double figures for Salamanca were Avery Brown with 18 points and Lucus Brown with 16.

“Jake deserves that,” Bennett said of Herrick. “He works his tail off and he never gets any credit. We put him on Mike Hahn, and Mike didn’t score until the last minute of the game and that’s all on Jake. It was one of the best defensive performances I’ve ever seen in my life. Mike can score the ball with anybody in the section and Jake did that on his own. And what he gave us offensively on top of that, he deserves that.”

Davion White paced Fredonia with 15 points, but no one else had more than 6 as the Hillbillies’ shooting woes (13 of 33) and turnovers (22) were too much to overcome.

The matchup between the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association Division 1 West was initially predicted to be a potential Class B crossover game — Fredonia in the Class B1 bracket with Salamanca in B2. But after a late opt out by Buffalo Arts, Section VI moved the largest two Class B2 programs — Salamanca and Cleveland Hill — into the Class B1 pool, meaning that the Warriors and Hillbillies could indeed meet, but much earlier in the postseason and not on a neutral court.

And, from the start Saturday, Fredonia could never gain its collective footing, turning the ball over on its first five possessions and trailing 8-0 after three minutes. By the end of the first quarter — fueled by a 12-3 run ignited by the Brown brothers — the Hillbillies trailed 22-10.

Fredonia didn’t get closer than 10 points the rest of the way.

“That’s a testament to (Bennett) and his team,” Hillbillies coach Nick Bertrando said. “They didn’t give us many open looks. They really stymied us on the offensive end. Their defense and their pressure forced those turnovers. … That’s a tough team.”

The Hillbillies did cut the deficit to 37-26 after back-to-back layups by White to end the third quarter, but Cory Holleran and Herrick drilled consecutive 3-pointers in the first minute of the final period to push Salamanca’s advantage to 15, a margin that grew to as many as 23 until the closing moments.

“I told the guys that regardless of the outcome today, I’m extremely proud of them,” Bertrando said. “The last four months have been great. This has been one of the closest teams we’ve had. When you have quality kids, wins and losses don’t mean that much.”

For Bennett and the Warriors, it’s on to the semifinals on Thursday.


Hahn 1 0 3, Gullo 1 4 6, Quinn 0 0 0, Koopman 0 0 0, Field 0 0 0, APutney 2 0 6, Hall 3 0 6, GPutney 0 0 0, White 6 3 15, Totals 13 7 36.


Herrick 5 0 11, Bradley 0 0 0, Isaac 1 0 2, Gillman 0 0 0, Crouse 0 0 0, ABrown 8 2 18, Ross 0 1 1, LBrown 7 1 16, Holleran 2 0 5, Winship 0 0 0, Trietley 0 0 0, Austin 0 0 0, 23 4 53.

3-point goals — Hahn, APutney 2, Herrick, LBrown, Holleran.

Fredonia 10 4 12 10 — 36

Salamanca 22 5 10 16 — 53


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