Falcons Feast on Bulldogs
by Tony Fiorello
The Niagara-Wheatfield Falcons dominated from the start of their matchup against the Kenmore East Bulldogs and never looked back, winning by a final score of 62-37.
The Falcons (2-3) desperately needed a victory after falling to both North Tonawanda and Niagara Falls a week ago, and their desperation came through in a back way, according to Falcons coach Erik O’Brien.
“I thought the guys did a nice job tonight,” O’Brien said. “A lot of guys made that extra pass, especially in the first half and shared the basketball and created some open shots.
“Typically, we’re a team that starts a season off slowly and finishes strong,” O’Brien continued. “Sometimes it takes a little while for guys on our roster to get accustomed to me and for me to get used to our guys. But we’ve been starting to jell together lately, and hopefully we can keep this up.”
From the opening tipoff, the Falcons imposed their will. The Bulldogs were only able to muster four points compared to the Falcons’ 21, and the rout was on from there. Kenmore East couldn’t stop the Falcons, nor could they score, as the second quarter saw the Bulldogs fall behind by 30 points.
“We just never got anything going in the first half,” Bulldogs coach Jay Robbins said. “We couldn’t really do anything well in any area tonight. Scoring, defending, nothing worked in the first half and then we had to play catch-up afterwards and never really recovered. It’s frustrating.”
At one point, the Bulldogs did attempt to make a game out of it, going on a run in the third quarter during which they outscored the Falcons 12 to nine in the third quarter. But the Falcons pulled away, as they finished the third quarter with a 52-25 lead and held on for the victory.
The Falcons were led by Jalen Bradberry in scoring with 14 points, while Nate Murdie had eight for the Bulldogs. However, many players were instrumental in Niagara-Wheatfield’s victory, according to O’Brien.
“A lot of guys stood out for us tonight – Jalen, Davon Ware, Anthony Ruffino and Ben Devantier in particular were pretty good – but I think Noah Klettke was outstanding,” O’Brien said. “We inserted him into the starting lineup initially as a role guy, but he’s been rebounding very well for us and showing a lot of senior leadership. He doesn’t really look to score unless he gets a backdoor layup, but I thought he was phenomenal for us.”