Niagara Gazette — Head coach Sal Constantino has said all season that balanced scoring and tenacious defense were key if this year’s Niagara Falls Wolverines were to be successful.
That proved true Wednesday night at the Wolvearena in a 72-48 Section VI Class AA boys basketball pre-quarterfinal win over the visiting Orchard Park Quakers.
Every player on the seventh-seeded Wolverines’ roster scored at least two points, and constant on-ball pressure caused turnovers that led to easy points and seemed to tire out the No. 10 Quakers.
“We had a slow start, but we talked a little about playing in spurts,” Constantino said. “We had a big spurt where we kind of opened the game up, and I think our pressure really wore them down.”
The Wolverines (7-12) battled foul trouble early as both teams struggled in a sloppy first quarter. Niagara Falls finished the quarter with a 13-12 lead before settling down in the second.
Niagara Falls upped the pressure in after the first and converted a series of Quaker turnovers into an 11-point lead before a late OP 3-pointer cut the halftime lead to 33-25.
Constantino said the early foul trouble may have been a blessing.
“We had to get guys in the game a little sooner than we would’ve liked, but everybody contributed,” he said. “It was good to see everybody pitch in.”
Orchard Park (2-19) hung tough in the third, though another run allowed the Wolverines to close the quarter with a 16-12 advantage and a 49-37 lead.
Niagara Falls opened it up in the fourth behind strong play from sophomore guard Breon Harris, who Constantino said “had his best game of the year.” The Wolverines took advantage of OP errors and more than doubled up the Quakers, 23-11.
Harris finished third on the team with nine points but also dished six assists and grabbed four steals. Junior Mikey Bermudez led NF with 15 points.