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Dolan Leads Will South over Cheektowaga

By Frank Wolf                                         @wolf3328

There was plenty of build up for Tuesday night’s showdown between Williamsville South and Cheektowaga. And when Reggie Witherspoon, current Canisius College Men’s basketball coach is in the house you know the hype is legit.

Greg Dolan of Will-South and Cheektowaga’s Dominick Welch helped headline one of the night’s marquee match-up’s. In the end the Billies pulled out the 63-52 win over the Warriors in front of a packed gym.

“Our game plan was too make Dom take jump shots. I mean you know he’s going to get his looks we just didn’t want them to be so easy” South head coach Gabe Michaels said after the game. The win improved his team’s overall record to 7-0 and has them believing that this team is capable of playing and beating anybody.

South did an incredible job all night containing Welch. Dolan had the assignment of defending Welch and he frustrated the senior. Welch dropped 25 on what seemed to be in off night shooting. With the amount of attempts, he easily could have had 45. When he had good looks from beyond the ark they weren’t falling when they needed too. He cashed in from downtown twice in the first half then went cold. A lot of that could be attributed to the steady, yet aggressive defensive play of Dolan.

Offensively, Dolan finished with 32 tough points including a successful but rough attempt at a dunk in the 4th. He earned his points the hard way as the Warriors at times made him work.

After the win Coach Michaels says Dolan is playing with a bad bruised and was limping a bit Tuesday. Whatever is ailing his star guard certainly didn’t affect his play Tuesday. “We’ve had this game circled since the start, we know that Cheektowaga is a dangerous team” Dolan said. “Anytime you go up against a player like Dom who is chasing the scoring record is going to be a big presence for them so we just tried to do our best.”

Will South trailed after the first quarter 13-12 but quickly found their scoring rhythm in the 2nd. Adam Braniecki was a beast on the boards grabbing five rebounds. Braniecki poured in 11 points including a perfect 6-for-6 from the free-throw line.

For the Warriors, Vaughn Berdette played exceptional at both ends of the floor. The senior forward had 18 points, a season high. “Vaughn has some great athleticism. When he takes what comes to him and what’s open he’s going to finish” his Head Coach Pat Cullinan said. “Around the rim there aren’t many guys that can defend him because he’s strong and physical. Some things here and there he needs to work on and we need him to get better. We are counting on him.”

Cheektowaga was outworked down the stretch, particularly in the 2nd and fourth quarters. South built up a 38-25 lead before halftime. In particular Welch, who for most of the game was outplayed by Dolan, in every aspect. “He (Dolan) made him work and he frustrated Dom. It was the first time in a while where he really showed it too” coach Cullinan said. “As a team we played well in spurts, had a decent 1st quarter. I’ll have to watch the game but I sense fatigue”. Welch was tough to contain in the paint. He had that part of his game well under control, when he could get there. Shooting from outside was a different story. Welch did have a nice two-handed dunk in the 3rd during a Cheektowaga run but in the 4th with nobody around him, attempted a windmill slam that went askew.

The Warriors rode a three game win streak into Tuesday night’s game after starting the season 1-3. They now stand at 4-4 with back-to-back road games coming up at East Aurora (Fri) and then Pioneer next Tuesday.

The Warriors are without a couple key pieces right now “We have kids that are out but we go to war with who we have. Guys gotta take care of academics first” coach said.

“I was pleased with the run we made in the third quarter but it looks like we just ran out of gas. Had it down to 6 then we couldn’t score. Tough to come back from twenty. We’re going to play a tough schedule, we gotta work. When it was still a game I won’t say we quit but we didn’t have the same energy. Will South did. They kept that intensity level up. Coach Michaels always does a great job.”

Will South still have a long way to go before playoffs but Michaels message is getting through to the players.  “Our goal is getting that 1 seed and in order to do that we have to take care of our league games so that’s the main focus.”

Will South will hit the road for the next three contests, Friday at Hamburg, next Tuesday out at Iroquois and then The Park School on Thursday.

“It was good to get the bench into the game today that’s what we strive for” coach Michaels said. “These guys put the same amount of work in and don’t get the glory so it’s nice to get them in.”

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