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  • Writer's picturetgardner1167

John Leads Sweet Home To ECIC II Win Over Williamsville East

With the ballgame in the balance in the final minutes, the Sweet Home High School boys basketball team needed Evan John to deliver – and the senior guard was more than happy to oblige.

John scored 10 of his team-high 24 points in the fourth quarter and the Panthers held off rival Williamsville East for a 73-64 win in ECIC II action on Friday night.

“As a senior, I just want to lead my team and just take them all the way,” John said. “It was a very tough win. Towards the end we just had to come together. I knew we’d pull it out.”

For a while, it looked like John and his fellow starters would spend the last two minutes relaxing on the sidelines as Sweet Home surged out to a lead as large as 14 points in the third quarter and entered the fourth up 11.

But the Flames and Cal Shifflet had other ideas. Shifflet nearly willed his team back, bringing the Flames to within 4 points after a 3-pointer with 2:07 left in regulation.

That’s when John went to work. The co-captain and four-year varsity standout scored his team’s final nine points going 7-for-7 from the free throw line in the final two minutes.

“He’s a wonderful kid and he works his butt off,” Sweet Home coach Brandon Woods said. “It doesn’t surprise me, he just wanted the ball down the stretch, to hit free throws, to get guys in sets and to take ownership for the rest of this game.”

Marjohn Manuel had 15 points off the bench, Jamel Lucas had 13 points and four rebounds, Matthew Nix added 12 points, Daequan Hill had nine points and 11 rebounds, and KiAiir Brunner had four assists and four steals.

The win was the fifth straight for the Panthers, who improved to 6-4 overall after a rough start against a difficult schedule.

“I’m proud of them for that. Sometimes kids have trouble seeing the long-term goals of what you want to achieve. We got hit by Lew-Port, we got hit by Cardinal O’Hara; Amherst put a big one on us. We came out and we really did our best there, but it made us grow up.”

The loss dampened a spectacular performance by Shifflet, the Flames’ all-everything junior. He scored a career-high 31 points to go along with 16 rebounds and five blocks.

“Unbelievable,” Williamsville East coach R.J. Killinger said. “He really carried us at both ends. He’s throwing up in the locker room after, talk about effort. I knew he was doing everything he could for the team.”

Freshman Max Schneider added 12 points, while Kevin Early and Joe Mack added 10 apiece for the Flames (4-7, 2-4).

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