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Falls Team Ball Stops West

It’s all about team ball. Niagara Falls has it. Kenmore West is trying to find it.

The Wolverines’ balanced attack, led by Josiah Harris (22 points) and Jalen Bradberry (22 points), was key as Niagara Falls breezed to a 78-42 win over the Blue Devils in their Niagara Frontier League clash, Friday night.

“It’s our strength,” Falls coach Sal Constantino said. “Our unselfishness and our willingness to play for each other is really what makes this team. We have some good individual talent, but when we play together we’re really special.”

An evenly played first quarter saw Ken-West holding a 14-13 lead thanks to senior Kyle Schmidt who scored seven of his team-high 13 points in the opening quarter.

The score remained close until the middle of the second when Faybian Pranther and Harris hit back-to-back three-point shots.

As the Wolverines kicked up the tempo the Blue Devils were unable to keep up. They got away from their game plan of running set plays that could run 25 seconds off clock and get the tempo in their favor. Forced passes led to turnovers which turned into buckets for the Falls (1-0, 4-1). With each Wolverines basket the Blue Devils frustration began to mount, causing some players to lose composure and focus. That frustration culminated in the dying seconds of the first half when a Ken-West player directed negative comments at the officials and was promptly tagged with a technical foul.

The Wolverines took a 38-24 lead into halftime and never looked back.

“We started off slow, but I feel like we changed the tempo on them,” Josiah Harris said. “Shots weren’t falling, but we fought through adversity. When we start scoring we start playing defense more, get in the passing lanes and get easy buckets.”

Playing without star point guard Willie Lightfoot and Taylor Sanders, this game showed the depth of the Wolverines lineup and that they truly are at their best when they are playing as a five man unit on the floor.

“I think we’re a good shooting team and in our one loss this year we didn’t shoot it well,” Constantino said. “But when the ball starts going in it just energizes guys. With these guys when they start getting energized they start playing in passing lanes and really start guarding the ball; we’re really tough.”

For Ken-West it’s times to do some soul searching. Ken-West coach Mike Meetze said their core three of Schmidt, Dylan James and point guard Zac Boyes must all be on same page for their offense to work to its potential.

“That’s our thing – it’s gotta be Kyle, Dylan and Zac really combining for 40 points,” Meetze said. “So far all season, the three of them have not had a good game on the same night. We’ve had one or we’ve had two, but we haven’t had all three.”

Meetze said most of all, they must remember their only chance is if they work together until the final buzzer.

The photos used in this article were provided by Cal Phillips.

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