Niagara Gazette

December 29, 2013

Panthers snatch Ken-Ton title

By Dave Ricci
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — BUFFALO — Jordan Heine’s 10 points helped him gain MVP honors for the Sweet Home Panthers, but it was his two points after a James Nix block that helped seal the deal.

Sweet Home had three players in double figures as its topped Kenmore West 53-47 in the championship game of the Ken-Ton Holiday Classic that was played at Ken West on Saturday.

West’s Alex Price (12 points, four steals) drove to the hoop in an effort to knot the game at 47 when Nix reached out blocked the shot. Nine seconds later Heine scored to complete the four-point swing.

A close nit affair from wire-to-wire, it was Price’s three-pointer just before the buzzer that gave West the 17-15 lead after one quarter.

Noah Whalen (11 points, eight rebounds) hit big shots at key moments for West when the teams were matching each other bucket for bucket in a fast paced game. But when the fourth quarter came the Blue Devils could not buy a break as they got looks but shots did not fall.

“The fourth quarter came and we were slacking off. We (weren’t) playing our defense, weren’t boxing out and our shots weren’t falling,” Price said. “Today wasn’t our day, I guess.”

Defensively the Blue Devils inability to make crucial stops only seemed to magnify the offensive struggles they were having in the fourth.

“We were very passive in the paint,” said Blue Devils coach Mike Meetze, whose team had just six points inside. “I think we kinda let them have their way. We were concerned about their penetration and their shooters, but then we didn’t fall into that weak side, and they got a lot of easy baskets. When you’re struggling on offense and you’re struggling to get a point and all of a sudden the other kid comes down and gets a layup it’s deflating. Then you put the pressure on yourself and you get tight and your shots don’t fall and that’s kind of what happened tonight.”

Terrell Ford had 10 rebounds while Jason Taylor chipped in seven boards for the Blue Devils.

Jordan Evert led Sweet Home with 20 points.

Zack Glowacki (22 points) and Donel Cathcart (17 points) led the way for Cardinal O’Hara as they beat Kenmore East, 66-42, in the third place game.

O’Hara coach Dave Pfohman said that he was impressed with the way his boys responded after losing a 58-55 heart-breaker to Ken West on Friday.

“I think that’s the big part of it,” Pfohman said. “You leave on a high note.”

The combined speed of the Hawks guards, Glowacki, Cathcart and Amir Jemes, proved to be too much for the Bulldogs to contend with as they were still clearly stinging from their loss to Sweet Home the day before.

Adam Geib, who had been the Bulldogs leading scorer this season, rebounded from Friday’s difficult outing by sinking 16 points.

In the end the Bulldogs simply had no answer for the Hawks 6-foot-8 sophomore Jovell Littlejohn, who had six points and either blocked or deflected a dozen Ken East shots.

All-Tournament selections were Evert, Price, Whalen, Littlejohn and Geib. Ken West senior Adam Fron received the Sportsmanship Award.