Cougars win consolation game


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Cassadaga Valley guard Ace Pierce converts a fast-break layup during Friday’s game against the North Collins Eagles at the Westfield Winter Classic boys basketball tournament on Friday at Westfield Academy.
OBSERVER Photo by Braden Carmen



WESTFIELD — The consolation game at the Westfield Winter Classic meant more than just a chance to finish third in a four-team tournament to the Cassadaga Valley Cougars. Friday was a chance for the Cougars to redeem themselves after letting a chance at their first win of the season slip away a day earlier.

The Cougars made the best of their second chance and finally earned their first victory of the season with a 69-54 win over the North Collins Eagles in the varsity consolation game at the Westfield Winter Classic boys basketball tournament at Westfield Academy on Friday night.

“God, it feels great,” Cassadaga Valley head coach Jacob Wilcox said. “I know the kids have been waiting to get the monkey off their back. It feels like every game we’ve had so far, something has gone wrong and we just missed opportunities, but today we really were able to put a lot of things together.”

The game was tight early, as Derek Ebersole scored 10 of the 14 points for North Collins (2-8) in the opening period. Cassadaga Valley (1-7) held a narrow three-point lead, 17-14, after the first frame.

After a hot first quarter, the Cougars held Ebersole scoreless in the second quarter. Cassadaga Valley held a double-digit lead at halftime, 33-23, after an advantage in each of the first two quarters.

“He’s a great player and we just tried our best to limit his scoring,” Wilcox said of Ebersole. “… I think we capitalized on a lot of rebounds and didn’t give him many second chances opportunities.”

Less than halfway through the third quarter, Cassadaga Valley extended the lead to 15 points, 45-29, but a bucket plus the free throw after a foul by Ebersole brought North Collins back to within 10, 47-37, with 2:22 left in the third quarter. But any momentum the Eagles could have gained was put to rest when Johnson drilled a 3-pointer at the buzzer to put the Cougars up 55-39 with one quarter left to play.

A day earlier, Cassadaga Valley carried a lead into the fourth quarter, but could not finish off the victory. But Friday, the Cougars built enough of a lead prior to the final frame that the result was never in doubt.

Ace Pierce led all scorers in the game with a career-high 32 points for the Cougars. Hunter Johnson added 21 points, giving the senior duo from Cassadaga Valley a combined 53 points in the contest. North Collins as a team managed 54 points, including 29 points from Ebersole.

“They did fantastic. I thought they shot exceptionally well,” Wilcox said of his two leading scorers. “… Ace Pierce and Hunter Johnson are two very special players. They pour a lot of time into basketball, so it really feels good to watch it work out for them and watch those shots fall.”


Armbruster 0 0 0, Demmerly 0 0 0, DEbersole 10 6 29, Potter 1 0 2, Quiter 0 0 0, Miller 4 0 8, Downes 2 0 4, Parnitzke 2 0 4, WEbersole 3 1 7. Totals 22 7 54.


Pierce 10 8 32, HJohnson 7 4 21, Main 3 3 9, Edson 0 0 0, Runge 0 0 0, Brown 0 0 0, Lewis 0 0 0, JJohnson 0 2 2, Kelley 0 0 0, Myers 1 0 2, Cleland 1 0 3. Totals 22 15 69.

3-point goals–DEbersole 3, Pierce 4, HJohnson 3, Cleland.

North Collins 14 9 16 15 — 54

Cassadaga Valley 17 16 22 14 — 69

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Cougars win consolation game

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