By Jay Young
FREWSBURG- The Frewsburg-Falconer boys basketball team (2-1, 5-2) picked up a Division 1 West victory in the final seconds against Maple Grove (0-1, 1-4) at home on Thursday night.
Mitchell Carter, left, of FCS tries to strip the ball from Maple Grove’s Corey Wefing during Thursday’s Division 1 West boys basketball game.
Mike Wilcox of FCS guards Wefing. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
The visiting Red Dragons were able to fight their way back to within two points when the whistle blew for the game's final possession, but FCS's Josh Nelson hit two clutch free-throws to end the contest at 58-54.
Nelson's decisive shooting capped off a well-rounded performance that included six rebounds, five assists and 11 points, but it was long-range shooting that helped FCS maintain a lead through much of the night.
Kyle Petersen finished with a pair of treys, while Mike Wilcox added three buckets from long range.
While FCS had a field day from beyond the arc, the Red Dragons had a rough go of long-range shooting.
"We have lost a lot of guys coming into this year,"mentioned Maple Grove's Curt Fischer. "Our guys are still trying to find their roles, and we need to find our own niche as a team."
Corey Wefing carried Maple Grove with 22 points while Graham Soffel chipped in six baskets for 13 points as well as 11 boards.
Maple Grove got out to an early lead during a first quarter that was opened up by a deep trey from Kyle Richardson.
The early margin for the Red Dragons was aided by a shaky beginning from FCS, which missed two 3-point attempts in the opening minute, but after that the rust fell off.
"It's funny, we seem to win ugly," joked FCS Tom Nelson. "But it's good that the worst thing you can say about our wins is they aren't pretty."
The next two shots from outside the arc fell for FCS, and helped the team stay even with Maple Grove in the early portion of the opening period, but a pair of easy layups from Wefing maintained the Maple Grove lead 14-10.
Moving into the second, it was Graham Soffel who picked up where Wefing left off, by hitting a 3 of his own as well as an inside jumper to extend the Maple Grove margin to five.
But as time ticked away in the first half, the Red Dragons saw their momentum fade away.
A slashing inside drive by Mitchell Carter gave FCS a narrow 29-27 lead going into the second half.
"We have been a bit up and down this year," said Fischer. "But tonight the guys came back and played very well."
Nelson's team came out firing after picking up a lead in the second quarter and went on a 9-0 run to start the third. Rebounding inside from Carter proved too much for the Red Dragons, who were dominated inside in the early minutes.
Maple Grove center Nick Swanson was quiet during the first half, but used his height advantage inside to keep the game close in the final 16 minutes. Seven of Swanson's nine points came in the second half, as well as the majority of his seven rebounds.
It was Derek Smith who carried FCS through the tough final minutes of the game with an athletic drive to the basket and two perfect passes underneath.
"I was really pleased with Derek tonight," praised Nelson. "There was one play were he caught an underneath pass and went right up in the same motion, that was quite a play."
Smith also roused the home crowd with a monster swat in the closing minute.
After failing to maintain their lead, the Red Dragons still had a chance to even the game with seconds to play.
Unfortunately, Maple Grove was called for an illegal screen and FCS was able to clinch victory at the foul line.
"I can't fault anyone for that last play," mention Fishcer. "The refs made their call and they do a good job and we were just trying to get a good screen."
Peterson 4 0 10, Smith 5 3 13, Wilcox 3 0 9, Nelson 3 5 11, Carter 5 2 12, Ward 0 0 0, Fales 0 0 0, Marchincin 0 0 0, Marchado 0 0 0, Boutelle 1 0 3, Johnson 0 0 0, Johnson 0 0 0, Hair 0 0 0. Totals 21 10 58.
MAPLE GROVE (54)
B. Soffel 0 0 0, Richardson 1 0 3, Wefing 8 3 22, Tanner 0 0 0, G. Soffel 6 0 13, Nelson 0 0 0, Camper 0 0 0, Knipe 0 0 0, Beaton 3 0 7, Swanson 4 1 9, Sandberg 0 0 0, Nelson 0 0 0. Totals 22 4 54.
3-point goals: Wefing 3, Beaton, Richardson, G. Soffel, Peterson 2, Wilcox 3, Boutelle.
FCS 10 19 14 15-58
Maple Grove 14 13 7 20-54
Jayvees: FCS won