The Jamestown High School varsity basketball team and its coaching staff gathered in front of their bench at McElrath Gymnasium on Friday night for a postgame Kodak moment.
The Red Raiders had just dispatched of Frontier, 61-41, in an Erie County Interscholastic Conference Division 1 game, but rather than head directly to the locker room, they closed ranks and smiled at several cameras pointed in their direction.
At the far right in the frame was Coach Ben Drake, his arm draped across the chest of his young son, Trey. Next to them were captains Tommy Campion and Quinn Lee Yaw, who both held a corner of a framed team photograph.
Jamestown head coach Ben Drake, far right, and his son, Trey, are seen with the entire Red Raiders team and coaching staff that presented him with a team photo they signed after they won for Drake’s 251st career victory on Friday night. That made him the winningest boys basketball coach in school history. Below, Quinn Lee Yaw puts up a shot over a Frontier defender. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J photos by Scott Kindberg
The color image, matted and signed by each player, was destined for Drake's high school athletics office where it will serve as a reminder of another milestone reached in a career full of them.
For the record, sophomore Branden Kellam scored 14 points and grabbed 15 rebounds; Campion collected 14 points, five rebounds, four assists and four steals; sophomore Zack Panebianco added 12 points and five assists; and Lee Yaw had eight points, six rebounds and three steals to help Jamestown improve to 8-1 overall and 4-1 in the league.
But the evening belonged to Drake, who raised his career win total to 251, surpassing the previous mark held by Roland Taft, who recorded 250 victories from 1937-57.
''I thought we played pretty solid tonight,'' said Drake, who is in his 15th season at his alma mater. ''In the first half, we played really good defense and (Frontier) was having trouble getting decent shots off.''
Trailing 7-5 with just over two minutes remaining in the first quarter, the Red Raiders used a 1-3-1 zone to force Falcons' turnovers that led to easy baskets at the other end, most notably by Kellam and Lee Yaw. The 12-0 run gave the hosts a 17-7 lead, an advantage that grew to 32-13 by halftime.
''They're coming along,'' Drake said of his post players. ''We need consistent play from those guys to take the next step as a team.''
For good measure, Panebianco put on a fundamentals clinic in the the first three minutes after intermission to balloon the Red Raiders' lead to 41-16. The 5-foot-9 guard fed Kellam twice for buckets, including an alley-oop dunk, passed to junior Josh Colwell for another hoop and then nailed a trey.
''Zack quietly plays very steady,'' Drake said. ''He's one of the few guys who played pretty well last Saturday (in a home loss to Williamsville North).''
Although Frontier cut into the deficit with a barrage of 3-pointers - the Falcons had eight for the night - there was little doubt about the game's outcome.
''They have four guys who can score really well,'' said Falcons coach Gary Domzalski, who has recorded 386 wins during his long tenure at Frontier. ''(Former Marquette University coach) Al Maguire used to say, 'If they have one guy, maybe you can beat them. If they have two guys, possibly, and if they have three guys, you're in trouble. (Jamestown) has four.
''(Drake) has some talented kids and he's a great coach. It's a tough combination to beat. ... I talked to him before the game and told him, 'If it wasn't for me, you'd have about 190 wins.'''
Domzalski, who has been part of some epic battles with Jamestown through the years, smiled after that comment.
''He always has a great staff, too,'' he said. ''You have to give him credit.''
The Red Raiders return to action on Thursday when they entertain West Seneca West.
NOTES: Before the game, Campion and Lee Yaw presented Drake a plaque commemorating his 250th win, which came in Monday's win at Lancaster. ... Since taking over the JHS program before the 1998-99 season, Drake's record stands at 251-77 (.765). Taft's record was 250-119 (.678). ... David Rajski led Frontier with 16 points, including five 3-pointers. ... In the junior varsity game, the Red Raiders ran their record to 6-1 following a 56-39 victory. Zacc Kinsey led the way with 16 points, Nikk Holland added 15, Derek Foe had 12 and Ben Larson added 11.
Quinlivan 4 0 8, Licata 1 0 3, Rajski 5 1 16, Jewett 1 0 3, Marcinkowski 2 0 5, Bergmann 1 0 2, Avery 0 0 0, Hatten 1 0 2, Shaul 1 0 2, Antonik 0 0 0, Totals 16 1 41.
Colwell 1 2 4, Kellam 6 2 14, Lee Yaw 4 0 8, Panebianco 5 1 12, Campion 5 3 14, Carlson 1 0 2, Frank 0 2 2, Sisson 1 0 2, Hoaglund 1 0 3, Totals 24 10 61.
3-point goals-Licata, Rajski 5, Jewett, Marcinkowski, Panebianco, Campion, Hoaglund.
Frontier7 6 16 12 - 41
Jamestown17 15 13 16 - 61
Jayvees: Jamestown 56, Frontier 39