At Williamsville North high school Friday night, both the Lancaster Legends and Williamsville North Spartans came into the gym ready to battle and the league match up didn’t disappoint.
The Legends were riding a dominant seven-game winning streak, with their last loss coming to Jamestown a little over a month ago. As for the Spartans, last week they fell to both Orchard Park and Jamestown, but ended the week on a high note defeating West Seneca West 57-50.
Once it got going, the gym had a playoff-like atmosphere as the student section from Williamsville North and the fan section from Lancaster cheered on their respective teams.
Lancaster started off their defense in a box-and-one, with a defender shadowing senior forward/guard Breht Swiech. Swiech was held to zero points in the first quarter. Teammate Conor Murphy stepped into the shooting role, putting up eight of the team’s 10 points, ending the quarter trailing Lancaster 11-10.
Adjustments were made for the Spartans in the second quarter. It began with heavy defensive pressure along the perimeter, which led to turnovers and finding Swiech for open layups. Swiech got into a shooting rhythm and when the shots got going, his confidence did as well. The senior hit a three with a couple seconds remaining in the quarter to help his Spartans go up on the Legends at the end of the half, 31-25.
“In that second quarter, when we went into that 1-3-1 we got a couple of turnovers, we broke him deep and got a couple of easy layups that way. Then when you see the ball go through the basket, confidence happens,” said Williamsville North head coach Chuck Swierski.
The third quarter saw a lot of the same. The Spartans continued their pressure while the Legends tried to respond and stay in the game. Spartans’ senior guard Michael Washington found holes and slashed through the defense the Legends’ defense en route to some key layups.
With Will North starting the fourth quarter up 47-38, Lancaster found a way to make shots beyond the arc and cut the lead. However, once they had to start fouling, the Spartans hit their free throws down the stretch.
In the end, clutch shots from the charity stripe helped the Spartans push past the Legends by a final score of 69-61, ending their opponents seven-game winning streak.
Swierski thought his team was a bit rusty in the beginning, but once the game progressed, they showed how tough they’ll be once playoffs roll around.
“We haven’t played in a week, it look liked we haven’t played in a week either, but once we got going we got a couple of turnovers and we got a couple of easy layups. I thought that got us kinda rolling,” Swierski said. “What I’m happy about was down the stretch, we knew they were gonna foul and went to the line and made free throws.. and that’s what good teams do. They put teams away.”
Williamsville North moves to an overall record of 8-2 and are now 4-2 in ECIC 1. Their next game will be Friday, January 24th and they’ll be heading to McKinley high school to face the Macks.
As for Lancaster, they move to 10-2 on the season and are 2-2 in league play. Their next game will be against the Frontier Falcons on Wednesday, January 22nd.
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