By Ryan Papaserge
The two-pronged attack of Dan Ferguson and Jordan Patterson - along with a dominant defensive effort - powered the top-seeded Brocton Bulldogs (17-1) past the No. 5 Ellicottville Eagles, 67-29, in a Section 6 Class D semifinal Tuesday at Jamestown Community College.
Brocton’s Aaron Riforgiato, left, eyes the basket while being defended by Ellicottville’s Taylor Grinols, middle, and Alex Steinbroner during Monday’s Section 6 Class D semifinal game.
P-J photo by Scott Reagle
Ferguson led Brocton with 26 points (15 of them in the first half) while Patterson contributed 16 points in the victorious effort. Ferguson and Patterson also connected on several fast-break opportunities throughout the evening.
"They definitely worked well together," Brocton coach Jeff Franze said of the senior duo. "Our big guys do a really good job reading the defense so those guys can get shots."
The efficient duo made things difficult throughout the night for their opponents.
"It's tough because you try and shut one down and a lot of things can happen," Ellicottville coach Dave McCann said. "They can get dribble penetration, they can get out and run. That little pull-up jumper off the dribble is tough to defend. We tried to play more of a zone tonight (after) we played man-to-man against them in the first game. We had a little bit of success with one, the other one got to us."
The first quarter of the contest began as a defensive struggle as both sides missed open-range shots until Patterson knocked down a jumper at the two-minute mark for the game's first basket.
"You get a little worried about it, but it's a long game," Franze said. "It was just a matter of time until we went on a couple of runs and that's what happened."
Ferguson made the first impact by scoring the final seven points of the opening stanza - the most notable of which coming via a Patterson steal and assist - to give Brocton a 10-0 lead after eight minutes.
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"We just started loosening up a little bit," Franze said. "The kids played with a lot of confidence tonight."
The Bulldogs' run continued into the second quarter as Ferguson opened with a trey to make the score 13-0.
Ellicottville, without leading scorers Cameron Wilson and Phalla Musall due to suspension, wouldn't find the bucket until a Tom Easton free throw with 5:02 remaining in the half.
"(In) the first quarter, we played defense," McCann said. "We didn't rebound particularly well. You have to give Brocton a ton of credit for a very good team. Their senior leadership really pulls through. They make big shots when they need to. They can get out and run a little bit I think we would have played a little better (with Wilson and Musall).''
It took another minute and 14 seconds for the Eagles to register their first field goal of the contest, a Alex Steinbroner layup which cut the deficit to 25-3.
Brocton then registered an 11-2 run to end the first half with a 31-5 advantage.
The rout continued into the second half, as Ellicottville was held to just one field goal in the third quarter (outscored 24-8) before recording five field goals en route to outscoring Brocton, 16-12, in the final period.
"I'm happy with this," Franze said. "We're running the court well, we're rebounding."
Steinbroner led the Eagles with nine points while Pat Morton added six points in a losing effort.
Ellicottville already plans to use Tuesday's defeat as a point of motivation for next season.
"Our problem was depth," McCann said. "A couple of kids that are my two leading scorers didn't play at all and that's something we have to deal with We're fairly young. We have a freshman, two sophomores and two juniors coming back next year."
Meanwhile, Brocton will face Sherman, a ??-?? winner over Clymer, on Friday in the Class D final. Tipoff is set for 5:30 p.m. at JCC. The Wildcats are responsible for Brocton's lone defeat, a 49-45 decision at Sherman Dec. 20.
"It's going to be down to the last couple minutes," Franze said. "It could come down to a couple shots, could come down to some bounces. Who knows?"