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  • Writer's picturetgardner1167

Legends One Win Away From History

Lancaster High School senior Noah Speyer wanted just one presented for his birthday. A win at Buff. State. He got it. The No.2-seed Legends scored a no doubt, 71-48, win over No.3 Kenmore West in their Section VI Class AA semifinal game that was played at Buffalo State College Sports Arena, Wednesday night.

The win lifts the Legends into Saturday night’s title game against No.4 Niagara Falls at 8:30.

The Wolverines advanced after knocking off top-seeded Jamestown, 58-50.

Making it to Buff St. for the the third consecutive year, the Legends are making their first appearance in the title game since 1995. On Saturday they will also try to win that elusive first basketball sectional title in the school’s history.

“This is my sixth year. Third year in a row here at Buff State,” said Lancaster coach John Otto. “Those first couple years were building blocks and those players who played for me still come to all of these games whenever they can. They support the program and it’s a true program now.” The Legends offense was sparked by Vito Fulciniti who had 25 points and Alec Tamburri (24 points).Fulciniti, who had nine points in the first quarter to help Lancaster build a 19-9 lead, said this night was about giving Speyer a birthday to remember and coach Otto a night to cherish. “That’s the one thing he asked of us for before our game today,” said Fulciniti. “Just a long paragraph telling us how much he loved us and the only thing that he could wish for, for his birthday was a win today. I think we did him good. He’s my brother. Everyone here (on this team) is my brother. So just doing that means the world to me.”

The Blue Devils battled back in the second quarter and were able to pull within three points, 24-21, but Fulciniti once again provided some spark. Including a smooth behind the back pass to Connor Duck who sank his shot for a 31-21 lead with two minutes to go in the first half.

“Connor Duck, he always finishes my passes,” Fulciniti said. “Whether it’s a no look. He’s always ready and I gotta thank him for that.”

For the Blue Devils the evening was a frustrating end to an otherwise very successful season where they were co-champs of the Niagara Frontier League.

Defensively, the Blue Devils didn’t put nearly enough pressure on the Legends guards. They’re three guard offense of Tal James, Tyler Aquilina (12 points) and Kyle Laplante, which usually can be counted on for a combined 40 points, barely broke 20 as the Legends zone defense kept them in check.

Ken-West didn’t battle for rebounds consistently enough or communicate on the floor. They turned the ball over 20 times.

When there are breakdowns in so many aspects of the games the result is inevitable.

“It seemed like every time we needed that easy basket it didn’t go in, and they capitalized on it. To their credit,” head coach Mike Meetze said.

“I told the guys you’ve got to make your own luck. We tried slowing them down, then we got behind too much and we really didn’t execute as well as we wanted to and I think we were looking at the score and the moment got a little too much for us.”

Kevin Carpenter had 11 points for Ken-West.

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