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A Close One

Randolph Fends Off Westfield In Overtime To Retain Class C Title

Randolph’s Cooper Freeman drives past Westfield’s Aaron Fuller in the Section VI Class C title game on Friday at the Physical Education Complex at Jamestown Community College. Photo by Mike Frame

Two forces came together Friday night.

Randolph, the defending New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class C champion, did not want its season to end.

Westfield’s Carson Swanson, the Section VI’s leading scorer, did not want his junior season to end either.

It made for an epic Class C final at Jamestown Community College.

Trailing by 12 midway through the fourth quarter, Swanson willed the third-seeded Wolverines to overtime, but the top-seeded Cardinals refused to lose en route to a 54-48 victory inside the Physical Education Complex.

Randolph’s Drew Hind steps back from Westfield’s Zach Maguire and sets his eyes on the basket during the Section VI Class C final at the Physical Education Complex at Jamestown Community College. Photo by Mike Frame

“You work hard and you’ve been in this gym so many times … one little thing goes wrong and the next thing you know, you lose,” said Randolph head coach Kevin Hind. ” … Things have to go right. It’s not a disappointment if you don’t win a state championship. Winning a sectional title never gets old. … That’s the goal from day one.”

Next up for Randolph, which claimed its 13th sectional crown, is a Far West Regional date with Section V’s champion next Friday at 6:30 p.m. at the Buffalo State Sports Arena.

“Section V is tough,” Randolph junior Drew Hind said. “We’re going to try as hard as we can and give it everything we’ve got like Randolph does, and hopefully go get it done.”

The Rochester area will figure out its champion throughout this coming week. Class C1, C2 and C3 championships are taking place today at Blue Cross Arena in Rochester before crossover action later in the week.

“Lyons is probably going to be the team we see,” Coach Hind said. ” … If we do get a chance to play them, I guarantee they’ll be ready this time.”

Thanks to Swanson, it was nearly the Wolverines who were going to be preparing for a regional next weekend.

The Cardinals took a 12-point lead on a bucket from Hind with 4:25 remaining, but Westfield senior Chris Vacanti scored on a putback the next time down the floor to make it a 10-point game.

Swanson then buried back-to-back 3-pointers, the second one turning into a four-point play with 2:51 left.

“He threw up two shots. They weren’t good shots. They were tough, contested … he hit two tough, tough, tough shots,” Hind said. ” … Roan (Kelly) let him get to his right hand, he took two dribbles and chucked it up, and it found the bottom of the net. If you get enough looks at it, eventually you get one to go.”

After Hind scored again, Vacanti hit his lone 3-pointer of the game to make it 41-39 with 2:39 remaining. Hind then hit a free throw, but Swanson answered with a corner 3-pointer to tie the game at 42-all with 1:30 remaining.

“I don’t know how he made any of the shots he made in the fourth quarter. They were impossible shots,” said Westfield head coach Nolan Swanson. ” … Shot selection, we knew it was probably going to be pretty bad sometimes, but that’s OK. We weren’t going to go down without putting the ball on the rim and trying to go get it.”

The Cardinals missed a 3-point attempt at the other end before Westfield missed a wild shot in the lane to give the ball back to Randolph for a final possession.

The Cardinals got a couple of looks at the basket with Hind missing a long 3-point attempt at the buzzer to send the game to overtime.

“It felt good. I thought I buried it,” said Hind, who finished with a game-high 29 points. ” … That last shot left my fingers good and it was right there.”

Wolverines junior Zach Maguire scored on his team’s first possession of overtime, but Westfield went cold from there.

Hind made the first of two free-throw attempts midway through the extra session and the Cardinals rebounded the second shot before Hind scored on a back-door alley-oop to give his team a 45-44 lead with 2:20 left.

“We got it five or six times. … They subbed a new kid in, we got a screen … and we executed some things down the stretch,” Coach Hind said of the alley-oop. “We were still able to get the looks that we needed to get some easy buckets.”

Randolph sophomore Cooper Freeman followed with a corner 3-pointer to make it a four-point game with 1:32 remaining.

“That was huge,” Drew Hind said. “He’s a shooter.”

“How about Cooper Freeman? He hits a 3, hits a free throw and defensively he was a magician,” Coach Hind added. “He was all over the place. He was responsible for holding Carson to what he did until the late couple of shots.”

Maguire kept the Wolverines alive with an offensive rebound that turned into Swanson’s final bucket of the game to make it 50-48 with 18 seconds remaining, but Hind and junior Griffin Nelson put the game away at the free-throw line for the Cardinals.

“We left it all out there. We didn’t go too deep into the bench today … I’m so proud of those guys,” Coach Swanson said. “It was bleak. … We had a two-point lead at the beginning of overtime and we needed one more bucket.”

NOTES: Senior Roan Kelly had 11 points and five steals; Hind had 10 rebounds; and Nelson had seven assists for Randolph, which shot 17 of 46 from the field, including 5 of 31 from 3-point range, and turned the ball over 19 times. … Swanson had 16 points, nine rebounds, eight assists and five steals; Maguire had 14 points and 12 rebounds; and senior Aaron Fuller had 9 points, 11 rebounds and three assists for Westfield, which shot 19 of 53 from the field, including 5 of 31 from 3-point range, and turned the ball over 19 times.

WESTFIELD (48)

Lawrence 0 0 0, Whitesell 1 0 2, Maguire 6 2 14, Swanson 5 2 16, Anderson 0 0 0, Vacanti 3 0 7, Fuller 4 1 9. Totals 19 5 48.

RANDOLPH (54)

Morrison 0 0 0, Kelly 4 1 11, Hind 9 10 29, Nelson 1 2 5, McElwain 0 0 0, Freeman 0 0 0. Totals 17 15 54.

3-point goals–Swanson 4, Vacanti, Kelly 2, Hind, Nelson, Freeman.

Westfield 11 2 10 19 6 — 48

Randolph 8 12 14 8 12 — 54

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