The game of the night wasn’t being played at the Key Bank Center in downtown Buffalo, NY on Saturday. A standing room only crowd and then some would have to agree with that after watching the marquee match-up of the day at Williamsville South High-School between the Billies and Health Sciences Academy.
The non-league headliner of the first Centercourt Classic featured two of WNY’s premier varsity boys basketball players in Greg Dolan and Davonte Gaines a University of Tennessee commit. Early on it looked like Dolan’s Billies were going to run away with an easy win as they built up a 24-9 first quarter lead on Gaines’s Falcons. But “the Ticket” as he is most commonly referred to had an awakening in the second quarter and helped lead Health Sciences back before ultimately losing 82-77 in front of roughly 1500 spectators.
Looking to add to the Billies 27-11 lead, Dolan put up a three-point shot with Gaines in his face. The shot fell well short of the rim and moments later Gaines threw down the first of his five dunks.
— Frank Wolf (@wolf3328) February 3, 2018
That sparked life into the Falcons and began a nice run for Health Sciences who outscored Will South 15-13 before the teams headed to the break.
Health Sciences used a 15-0 run in the third quarter to claw their way back into the game. Robert Richards drained a three pointer for Will South to try and stop the momentum but the Falcons came back and soon after took the lead when Kameron Briggs three point attempt swooshed through the rim.
The lead however was short lived as Dolan and his supporting cast of Richards and Devin Degree once again began hitting their shots. Cody Sanford was big on the boards at both ends of the floor for the Billies.
Health Sciences pulled within four points early in the fourth quarter at 75-71 but then a few calls against the Falcons began whistling in and Will South took advantage at the free throw line to build up another sizeable lead.
“Our guys showed resilience but we just didn’t play good enough to get over the hump tonight,” Falcons coach Ty Parker said. The Billies were in the bonus early in the fourth quarter and Parker thought that played into Will South’s hands down the stretch.
Dolan finished with 36 points to lead all scorers. “We knew Ticket and the whole Health Sciences team were going to bring it tonight,” Dolan said. “This will really help us for Buff State (where playoffs are held).”
Gaines said the message during the half from the coaching staff was to go out and play better defense. They did that and were able to make a game of it in the end. “Coaches said play defense and rebound it will lead to offense,” Gaines said. “The start we didn’t play good but we know we had to live up to the competition and the atmosphere. The second half I thought we played well. We had the lead so it was a winnable game.”
Chad Andrews who runs a high-school basketball sports blog has been working on the event for quite sometime. The site theviewfromcentercourt.com created ten years ago has built a strong, loyal following and has created some close relationships between Andrews, area coaches and athletic directors. “We exceeded expectations for the first three games than even I anticipated and the crowd for the last game is exactly what I was hoping for,” Andrews said. “High-School basketball deserves something like this.”
The success of Saturday’s event should ensure future Centercourt Classic dates. Andrews is hopeful that the event can be moved around and include teams from the Monsignor Martin division.
Will South – Greg Dolan and Cody Sanford Post Game
Health Sciences – Davonte “the Ticket” Gaines Post Game
Will South Head Coach Gabe Michael Post Game
Health Sciences Head Coach Ty Parker Post Game
viewfromcentercourt – Chad Andrews Post Game