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Westfield junior guard Carson Swanson leaves his feet on a breakaway layup during the second half of a game against the North Collins Eagles on Thursday night at the Westfield Winter Classic boys basketball tournament at Westfield Academy.
OBSERVER Photo by Braden Carmen

WESTFIELD — In a game that featured two of the top scorers in all of Western New York, it was a third stellar performance that made the difference in the final game of the night at the annual Westfield Winter Classic boys basketball tournament.

Aaron Fuller scored a career-high 20 points to support Carson Swanson’s ever so familiar 28 points in a 62-53 victory for the Westfield Wolverines over Derek Ebersole and the North Collins Eagles on Thursday night at Westfield Academy.

“I feel like Aaron (Fuller) has been playing more consistently the last few games,” Westfield head coach Nolan Swanson said. “… It’s nice to see him have that career-high game. We needed it tonight.”

Early in the contest, North Collins (2-7) held a slight lead, 10-8, just past the halfway point in the first quarter. Ebersole was involved in all 10 points, with eight points to his name and the other two coming on an assist that set up Scott Armbruster for an open shot.

“That’s what he does,” North Collins head coach Jan Warren said of Ebersole. “I don’t care who or what they throw at him. He does a good job and he breaks it down.”

Westfield senior Aaron Fuller, right, contests a shot by North Collins senior Derek Ebersole on Thursday night at the Westfield Winter Classic boys basketball tournament at Westfield Academy.
OBSERVER Photo by Braden Carmen

For Westfield (7-1), it was Fuller — not Carson Swanson — who led the way early, with six of the team’s first eight points.

“(Fuller) got us through the ugly part of the game because of his play inside,” Nolan Swanson said.

But halfway through the opening period, the Wolverines finally turned to their elite shooter. With 3:19 left in the first quarter, Carson Swanson drilled a 3-pointer for his first points of the game to put Westfield ahead 11-10. From that point on, he just didn’t stop scoring.

By the end of the first quarter, Westfield held a 23-14 lead, with 15 of the final 21 points in the period. Of those 15 Westfield points, 12 belonged to Carson Swanson.

Westfield’s advantage climbed to 13 points in the second quarter before North Collins responded with seven of the final nine points in the period to trail 34-26 at halftime.

In the next frame, a pair of 3-pointers in the third quarter by Ebersole cut the Westfield lead down to six points, 38-32. But then, Carson Swanson did his thing again.

In the blink of an eye, the Wolverines star put up another 12-point quarter, his second of the game, to put Westfield clearly in front, 57-41, with one period left to play.

“It kind of comes in waves with him,” Nolan Swanson said of the scoring frequency of his son, Carson.

Despite a transition layup from Carson Swanson with 2:48 left in the game amounting to not only his lone bucket of the period, but also his team’s first points of the final frame, Westfield maintained a comfortable advantage throughout the fourth quarter. Nolan Swanson let his reserves enter the contest for the final moments of Thursday’s win, allowing the Westfield crowd to erupt at a rebound gathered by Ryan Wood.

Carson Swanson was the game’s leading scorer with 28 points, matching his season average. Fuller, however, more than doubled his season average of nine points per game with 20 on Thursday. Zach Maguire added seven points for the Wolverines, while Chris Vacanti had five points.

Ebersole scored 27 points for North Collins in the loss, just a tick below his astounding season average of 28.5 points per game entering Thursday’s contest. Daniel Downes accounted for 13 points, while Scott Armbruster added nine points. Downes and Armbruster each notably surpassed their season averages on Thursday.

“I’m very happy with the way they played,” Warren said. “… If we play like that in league, we’re going to win a lot of games. I’m a happy man, I can’t wait ’til tomorrow.”

Westfield now advances to the championship game of its annual tournament, where the Wolverines will face the Falconer Golden Falcons. Despite missing their top two scorers coming into Thursday’s game, the Golden Falcons defeated Cassadaga Valley 50-45 on Thursday.

North Collins will now face Cassadaga Valley in the tournament consolation game, beginning at approximately 5:45 p.m., with the championship game to follow immediately afterwards.

NORTH COLLINS (53)

Armbruster 4 0 9, Demmerly 1 0 3, DEbersole 10 2 27, Pasar 0 0 0, Quiter 0 0 0, Miller 0 1 1, Downes 6 0 13, Parnitzke 0 0 0. Totals 21 3 53.

WESTFIELD (62)

Whitesell 0 0 0, Maguire 3 0 6, Lawrence 1 0 2, Swanson 10 3 28, Vacanti 2 0 5, Stellhorn 0 0 0, Fuller 7 6 20. Totals 23 6 62.

North Collins 14 12 15 14 — 53

Westfield 23 11 23 5 — 62

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