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Cinderella run continues as Hillbillies notch OT win over Lew-Port

Before Tuesday’s overall Class B championship game at Buffalo State, Fredonia Boys Basketball coach Nick Bertrando looked over Lewiston-Porter’s schedule and saw that the favored Lancers had won their last eight games by an average of 30 points.

“I said, ‘Look, if it gets close, I like our chances’,” Bertrando said.

After all, the 10th-seeded Hillbillies had played in tight games all season in the highly competitive CCAA. They had reached the crossover final by wins of three, four and four points. If this one came down to the wire, Fredonia would feel right at home.

Sure enough, it was a nail-biter, and the Hillbillies were up to the challenge. Fredonia edged Lew-Port in an overtime thriller, 64-63, capturing the overall B title and the school’s first trip to the Far West Regional since the Mike Heary-led squad back in 1994.

Junior Davion White drove the length of the court and banked in a short shot with 10 seconds left in overtime, capping Fredonia’s Cinderella run to the title. Vinny Carlo missed a three-pointer at the buzzer for No. 1 seed Lew-Port, which finished the season at 20-4.

“The only thing going through my mind was, ‘I’m not letting my teammates down’,” said White, who had 21 points and 15 rebounds for Fredonia. “I went up strong like coach always tells me, finished the shot, and that was it.”

Fredonia was a solid underdog and looked like it at the start, missing its first 10 shots from the field (“It felt like 0 for 20,” Bertrando said) and falling behind, 10-2. But the Hillbillies used their swarming defense to climb back in the game. White scored his team’s last 11 points of the third quarter to pull the Hillbillies into a 47-all tie heading to the fourth.

Jalen Duff scored 33 points to lead the Lancers, including all of his team’s points in the fourth quarter and overtime. But Fredonia made him work for it. Duff, who scored at least 20 points in every game this season, was 13-for-34 from the field and missed a driving shot that could have won the game for Lew-Port at the end of regulation.

Senior Ethan Fry scored 15 points for Fredonia, leaving him seven shy of 1,000 for his career. Jay Hawk had 14 points, 11 rebounds and four blocked shots.

Fredonia (19-7) moves on to Saturday’s Far West Regional against the Section V winner between Newark and Wellsville. They’ll be plenty confident after beating the top seeds in B1 and B2 in consecutive games.

“I hear the whole Cinderella thing,” Bertrando said. “I think with the body of work we put together, the non-league and league schedule, we can compete with anybody.

“But yes, we’re using it as motivation,” he admitted. “Not that we feel disrespected, but we’re here now. We can play and we can compete and we have some solid guys on this team, equal contributions all around. That makes us a special team.”

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