Since winning the Section VI Class A1 Title in 2001, the Niagara Falls boys’ basketball program have created a dynasty. Last night added on the legacy and another championship to their lengthy banner.
The Wolverines, who came into the game as the second seed, won a nail-biter against Orchard Park in the quarterfinals and cleaned house with Lockport in the semifinals.
Clarence walked onto Niagara Falls’ court as the fourth seed in the bracket; they defeated Frontier in the first round and won in the semifinals against top-seeded Jamestown in an upset.
Niagara Falls head coach Carlos Bradberry mentioned it was tough as he tried to get his team prepared for Clarence. They haven’t played each other this season and Bradberry saw on film what they were capable of doing.
“It was hard to scout because Clarence does a lot of stuff and they run a lot of sets, so I didn’t really know what to expect going into this game,” said Carlos Bradberry.
Niagara Falls came out strong and hungry, beginning an 8-0 run from a couple of three-pointers from seniors Jalen Bradberry and Faybion Prather. Their defense was astounding in the first quarter as Clarence had a hard time finding the best shot selections. The Red Devils didn’t get their first bucket until a little over six minutes into the game.
Red Devils’ Zach Ianello provided a spark for his team; in the second quarter he put up 10 points in an attempt to mount a comeback. They found easier shots and were grabbing offensive rebounds for second-chance bucket opportunities. Ianello would end the game with 16 points.
However, perimeter shooting from Niagara Falls became too much and they piled on their lead. Prather splashed down two more treys while Bradberry and Johnny Esposito would hit a three to send their team into half time up 36-13. Prather would finish the game with 20 points, 18 of them coming from beyond the arc.
From there, the second half saw times Clarence would make a strong run and would chip away at Niagara Falls’ lead, but every time they did, the Wolverines would answer back. Including a three-pointer by Bradberry to end the third quarter. He would finish the game with 19 points.
— Jacob Fyock (@Jacob_Fyock) March 26, 2021
“Our goal was just to not let them control the tempo and pressing the ball from the tip to the end and I think our guards did a great job of controlling the game,” said Carlos Bradberry.
Jalen would be subbed out with a minute remaining in the game. Coach Bradberry (who is also Jalen’s father) hugged it out as Niagara Falls defeated Clarence 61-42, becoming champions of Class AA.
“I told him (Jalen Bradberry) I loved him, I appreciate him putting up with me and now it’s on to better things, but to enjoy this moment,” said Carlos Bradberry.
The boys’ basketball program won their fourteenth sectional championship in 20 years. Prolonging what has already been a magnificent dynasty for the school.
Jalen Bradberry finished his high school basketball career with a championship, the same one he accomplished as a sophomore in 2019. After this game, he also passed Maceo Wofford to take seventh place in Western New York’s all-time scoring list.
“It felt good to come back here and to finish my year off. I know it’s going to hit me later on now like its my last high school game man. I wouldn’t want to do it anywhere else,” said Jalen Bradberry.
When asked about what the next chapter holds for Jalen, he said that he will attend a prep school, but is not sure which one he wants to go do. He also added that wherever he plays, he is going to put in the same work ethic that has got him to where he is now.
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Featured image is credited to Shawn Turri