Teammates Eric Johnson and Franklin Harris brought some brotherly love to Sanborn on Tuesday night.

The freshman duo out of the Mathematics, Civics and Sciences Charter School in Philadelphia, combined to score 50 points in Niagara County Community College’s 95-81 home victory over Jamestown-Olean. The win puts the Trailblazers into a tie for the sixth and final playoff spot in the Western New York Athletic Conference with a 9-16 overall record and a 5-8 mark in the league with only one game to play.

“As a freshman, it feels great to be able to help take this team this far as we try to get to the next level,” Johnson said following his 28-point performance.

Still, even against a 2-25 Jaguars team that was winless in 11 conference games entering Tuesday, NCCC didn’t win without breaking a sweat.

Things began smoothly with the Blazers jumping out to a 15-6 advantage just five minutes into the game. Harris scored nine of the 15 on his way to finishing with 22 for the game.

Then, despite upping its lead to 31-15 midway through the first half, NCCC led just 48-40 at the break following a spirited Jamestown charge led by Andy Evans and Jake Woodarek. Evans finished with 20 points and Woodarek added 15.

The Jamestown run forced the home team to switch up its defensive scheme from zone pressure in the first half to a full-court man setup coming out of the locker room.

“If we want to be able to go deep in the playoffs, we’re going to have to win with defense,” NCCC coach Frank Rotundo said. “That’s what playoff teams do.”

Although it took a while for things to take shape, with Jamestown making it 70-69 with seven minutes to play, NCCC finally settled into its secondary defensive game plan and forced several turnovers that led to easy transition buckets on the other end.

“It was just a matter of us calming down and letting things come to us,” Johnson said of the 25-12 run the Blazers went on to close out the game.

It was also a matter of center Dyrell Dolson coming through with big plays on both sides of the ball. The freshman out of Niagara Catholic ended his night with 17 points, 10 boards and a career-high eight assists. First-year Blazer Queran Walker, out of Toronto, On., also tossed in 17 points.

Turning back to the Philadelphia products, Johnson indicated how he arrived at NCCC as a three-point shooter but, given that the arc is further back in college, worked with Rotundo to develop his interior play.

“I shoot 600 mid-range jumpers every practice,” Johnson said.

Added Johnson of his teamwork with Harris, “He makes the game so much easier. He penetrates, I spot up, and he hits me with the pass for a great play.”

“They showed tonight how exceptionally quick and tough to stop they are,” Rotundo said.

NCCC’s ninth overall victory is a four-win improvement over last year. The team closes out its regular season Saturday night at Monroe Community College in a game with huge playoff ramifications as it tries to end a four-year drought without postseason play.

D’Youville teams lose

Former NCCC players Romair Parrett and Karl Walker combined for 26 points as the D’Youville men’s team lost 59-57 to Keuka.

Melissa Kanally had 16 points and four assists, while Kristine Halter (Kendall) had 11 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks as the D’Youville women lost 63-54.

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